Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Freaky Friday

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." -Theodore Hesburgh

The alarm sounds. The bright green numbers read an ungodly hour. Ungodly even though it's an hour and a half later than I normally wake up: 6:00. Did I oversleep? Wait... that's not my alarm clock. And what am I doing on this side of the bed?

I rub my eyes, thinking I must still be dreaming. I'm not. Something feels different. My hands feel smaller, smoother. The knuckles are less hairy and clunky. I think I'm just overtired. Imagining things because I would swear I feel different.

Smaller. Prettier?

I go to scratch myself, as I would any morning. Left hand to right 'groin' is always the opening move of my personal game of scratch-and-wake Twister. And... it's different. It's not there.

This is every man's worst nightmare. Worse than the naked-in-front-of-an-audience one. Worse than the haven't-been-to-class-in-weeks-and-finals-are-coming one.

My man parts are gone. Not only are they gone... they've been replaced. By lady parts. Holy good God, what have I done? What did I say? Did I touch a cursed idol and recite the wrong thing at the wrong time? Did I switch bodies with someone? Who?

I jump out of bed, panicked. I throw on the switch, and look in the large picture mirror that hangs over our dresser.

In it, a familiar face is staring back at me. Oh. My. God.

The face in the mirror
I'm gorgeous. I love this person so much.

I pinch myself. I'm definitely awake. This is no dream. Ok... where is she? For a brief fleeting moment, I think of the ridiculous statement I've made the few times my wife and I have joked about 'being each other for a day.'

"I wouldn't leave the bedroom," I've said. "And I'd have a lot of fun."

I now know how ridiculous that statement is. I've got so much to do, so much to figure out, and the last thing on my mind is sex... let alone with myself.

At that moment of clarity, the phone rings.

"We got our wish," she says. I hear her grinning as if she were planning this all along. "What? Where are you? Are you me?

"Yes. I'm in the city, on my way to work. Your work."

Once again...Oh. My. God.

"How the hell are you going to do it?"

"Like you always say," she answered. "We'll figure it out. We always do."

"You're actually enjoying this, aren't you?"

"Yes," she says. "Immensely."

We hang up. OK... focus. I can do this. Can I? I have no choice.

Shower. Do I need to shower? She doesn't shower every day. She's that clean and pretty. I shower twice a day. I'm that dirty and disgusting. I decide to shower, just in case.

This exercise is a maze of confusion and tribulation. I wish I had the time to enjoy myself loofa-ing my wife's body. But I need to get myself to work and my daughter to daycare.

Holy crap... the peanut. How am I going to trick her? Nothing gets by her.

I decide not to wash my hair to save time (knowing that my wife does this is very helpful). I throw my hair in a shoddy ponytail. I get dressed. I choose an outfit from the year I was adventurous enough to go into Anthropologie and buy her some clothing for her birthday. She loved all of it. Still does.

I put on a white skirt with green floral designs on it. A matching blouse. A pair of blown glass earrings that we bought on our honeymoon in Venice. A necklace that matches that. Shoes? Definitely not heels. Sandals.

Makeup. Makeup? My wife is pretty enough without it. I skip the makeup.

Do I look fat? That's something I ask myself every day. She has no such issues.

Of course not. I think I look amazing. (I think she looks amazing.)

The peanut stirs. Luckily, I know enough about their morning routine to get through without incident. I get her into the car. I've offered her a cookie to distract her from my awkward and petrified state. Drop off goes smoothly.

Now off to work. On the bus ride to the city, I look at my hands. Still perfect, but I wish I had time for a manicure. Same with my feet. A pedicure would be nice.

I think about my rushed time with the peanut. And the doubt starts to creep in. Do I pay enough attention to her? Am I working too much? Do I spend enough time with her?

Am I doing the right thing?

These are the things a working mother must think of before she tucks away the family obligations and starts focusing on the career ones.

The work day is, luckily, uneventful. It's summer and my wife works at a college. While there are a few issues to deal with, they are all by phone and email. There are a few strange interactions with her assistant. I actually snap at her with some of my trademark sarcasm at one point. Then quickly cover it up with an apology. "Don't mind me," I say. "I'm not myself today."


It's still a full work day. Midway through the afternoon, I realize I hadn't even peed yet. Another mini adventure since even when my daughter goes, I have no idea what the hell I'm supposed to wipe. And if I am causing irreparable emotional damage as a result.

On the bus ride home, all I think about is how badly I want see my family. I enter the house around 6:00 pm, exactly twelve hours after I boarded this roller coaster.

She's a momma's girl
My daughter excitedly yells "mommy!" as I come through the door. And despite the unfamiliarity of this affectionate greeting, it still feels good.

We hug. We kiss. We snuggle.

Then, the moment I've been waiting for. I go out the back door to find my wife, grilling hamburgers. But I'm staring at my own face. I look a lot more put together than I normally feel I am.

We smile. Hug. And I say, "You're pretty impressive."

"So are you."

Somehow we manage to endure the motions of the rest of the evening. Dinner, bath, walk the dog, bedtime.

We close the door to our daughter's room after 'one last hug and kiss.' My wife turns to me and asks, "Shall we turn in too and end this craziness early?"

"Actually, why don't we watch last night's Grey's Anatomy on DVR and then go to bed?

A lot in common, a lot in love
An hour or so later, as my head hits the pillow after an exhausting day on so many levels, I reflected on my day in her shoes.

She works hard. She worries sometimes she works too much. She loves her family more than anything.

She would like a manicure and pedicure.

She looks forward to new episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

Turns out, we're not that different after all.

I originally wrote this post for my Week 2 assignment of Blogger Idol 2011: "If I were the opposite sex for a day."

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