Last week, I got a photo via text, from Tom.
The text was immediately followed by an angry call. “I’m at American Apparel, and their bowties are clip-ons, Yoona.” Tom had wanted a velvet bowtie for a holiday party, and I remembered seeing some at American Apparel, so I’d sent him there. “I can’t wear a clip-on bowtie, for chrissake. People will think I can’t tie a bowtie!” I blinked. I’d honestly never considered that particular fashion faux pas before.
I let him continue. I sensed there was more to this call than just the bowtie.
“ALSO, what the f*ck, they have like a hundred of my watch on sale.” The anger in his voice was palpable, so I proceeded with care. “Tom, calm down. Which watch are you talking about?” “My black Casio watch,” he bit out. “And my calculator watch too!!” Ah. His precious calculator watch. This was indeed serious.
About a year ago, I took delivery of a small package from Amazon, addressed to Tom. I was intrigued, as Tom never orders anything for himself. Actually, I was shocked that he’d figured out how to order something online, as Tom uses the intraweb for one purpose alone: to check scores on ESPN. I opened the box and found an ugly plastic watch inside, with a receipt showing that Tom had purchased it for about $17. A few weeks later, another Amazon package arrived for Tom. I opened it to find another black plastic watch. And this one had—wait for it—a calculator for a face. Tom usually wore the plain black Casio but would bring out the calculator watch for special occasions. I’d catch him standing in the closet in his boxers looking from one black Casio to the other black Casio, undecided. Not every occasion called for the calculator watch, he would tell me. When he chose the calculator watch, he’d wear it with his sleeve rolled up, offering to calculate tips after dinner and then cursing when his fingers, too large for the tiny little numbers, couldn’t punch out the right keys.
Back to American Apparel. “Babe. Did you think Casio only made and sold one of your watch?,” I asked. Having vented most of his frustration, Tom had already calmed down. “Of course not!,” he said, in a manner that made me suspect that he had thought exactly that. “I just don’t want everyone to know how f*cking cool my watch is.”
Guess the secret’s out.