I love love love the new Beauty and the Beast movie. One of the best parts, of course, is the Beast’s library, so I wrote “Belle Would Be Enchanted by These 10 Lovely Libraries in Hotels” for USA Today 10Best.Read All Entries
lois and the purple sweater by michael mark
After my Blogger Idol assignment last week in which I revealed a secret I’ve been keeping for 35 years, readers have been asking me to write about my husband’s reaction. Michael said he wanted to write about it himself, and the least I can do is let him. So here it is. If you haven’t read the original post, you may want to do that before continuing. I’m sorry the Blogger Idol site is gone because the comments were hilarious and worthy of a future blog post themselves.
Maybe the sweater was too ugly to exist.
I can see how it could be seen as too purple.
Or that it no longer fit properly from being worn so often,
especially during the first months of our love affair,
where it was pressed against Lois
two hundred thousand times a day,
leaving purple threads on her clothes, in her hair, in her teeth.
It needed to move on.
And all she was doing – while I slept in front of the TV –
by picking it up from the typical dorm room floor scattered with textbooks, pizza boxes, Springsteen and Peter Frampton albums, and slipping it into the hallway garbage chute, never to be seen or mentioned again until 35 years later in her confessional blog piece, was helping it along some.
I can see she was also helping me with my fashion sense.
So I’d look more handsome, thereby enhancing our relationship because, as she wrote, the sweater was, “Ew.”
She was prouder to walk next to me on campus in my not purple sweater.
More comfortable all snuggled up in the library with my non-purple sweatered arm around her.
Happier being half of the cutest couple in class, at the pub – where everyone could see how crazy I was for her in my purpleless sweaterlessness.
She wasn’t an angel of death disposing of my signature turtleneck as I dreamed of her.
She was saving our future, ensuring our kids’ births and well-being, confirming the reservations for our African safari, our four cruises all over the world. Preserving all the sudden bursts of unstoppable laughter and ocean deep comfort we were to share.
She must have done the right thing, as she so often does.
I haven’t thought much of the sweater in all these years —
maybe when I hear “Purple Rain.”
I’ve been too happy being married.
But, now, since I found out about this deep personal secret right along with Lois’ blog readers – some of them mutual friends, as well as my parents, our children – I have been asked with genuine interest what my reaction was to this news.
So, here it is:
1. I love Lois.
2. Unlike what she believed, there was no incinerator. The chute fed into a giant industrial basket on wheels that the maintenance staff rolled away, occasionally finding a ring with a semi-precious stone, a book to read or resell, a purple turtleneck sweater to be taken out and considered worthy of the plastic bag they kept crumpled in their uniform pockets.
That’s what I thought of when I read that Lois threw my sweater down there.
I had hoped it was picked out from the trash for its purpleness, loved for it, worn with pride – maybe at a party. Danced in, rock and rolled in, sweated in, earning some guy a compliment, the possibility of getting lucky.
I hope he got the same joy I got from it.
And if his woman did what Lois did,
I hope he did what I did.
Tenderly, fully, purple sweaterlessly, kiss her and tell her, “No big deal, babe.”
Note from Lois: I have the best husband in the world.