Big Billy – The carpet matches the drapes

Me and Minnie went into the mall the other day to see if we could get the kids somethin’ for Gradin’ Day.

There’s certain stores only men should go in and there’s certain stores only women should go in.

If you’re walkin’ through the mall, it seems like about every three out of four stores in Big BIllythere sells women’s clothes. For the love of god, don’t let yourself get dragged into one of these stores – you’re askin’ for nothin’ but trouble.

It started off innocent enough. We were walkin’ by the store and Minnie stops to look at a rack of clothes out front. Oh, she says, all excited, summer tops are on two-for-one.

I don’t say anything. It’s a battle of wills, and I stand with my hands in my pockets, sorta knockin’ my work boots against each other while I waited.

Aren’t they sweeeet? Minnie says.

I get a kick out of the way women talk about clothes and shoes. They say things like “sweeeet” and “precious” and a bunch of other words they don’t use to describe anything else but clothes.

Then she seen the sign hangin’ inside – Oh, look at this, she says, all summer tops and shorts are two-for-one, and sundresses are 30% off.

This is where I made my mistake. Minnie said that and walked into the store, and then I followed her in. I could have said I was goin’ to any other store and that I’d meet up with her. Or I could have just sat out on the bench and waited for her. But I wasn’t thinkin’ so I went in.

Minnie’s not lookin’ at the rack for twenty seconds and she got about five or six things she wants to try on. Here, she says, you’ll have to hold my purse and that while I try these on.

Holy cripes. So now, here I am, standin’ in a women’s clothing store with a purse in my hand. Not another man in the entire store, either.

So I go stand back by the dressing rooms and then I realize – there’s a whole lot in this store I shouldn’t be lookin’ at. There’s gotta be about two dozen women in the store, most of them about 20 years old, all tanned and barely dressed and – for cripessake hurry up in there, I was thinkin’ to myself.

So while I’m standin’ there holdin’ Minnie’s purse, these two young ones come up with an armload of clothes and the two of them go into the dressin’ room next to Minnie. Together.

Then I see their arms go up above the door and I can see they’re both takin’ their clothes off. Holy cripes, I think to myself, wait ‘til Cyril and the boys hear about this one.

Now the way this place was set up was, when the two girls game out of the dressing room with these sundresses on – one of them was blue and the other one was yellow – they had to walk back out a bit to see themselves in the mirror near the racks at the back.

So they come out, and the girl in blue has to do up the zipper for the one in yellow and then the one in yellow has to do up the zipper for the one in blue, and they’re smoothin’ out each other’s pleats and that.

I don’t mean to sound like a dirty old man or anything, you put any regular guy in that situation, and it’s gonna be awful hard not to notice what’s goin’ on. So of course, there I was, leanin’ on a rack of bras without even realizin’ it, more or less gawkin’ at these two beautiful college-aged girls tryin’ on little dresses together.

And that’s when Minnie tapped me on the shoulder. I damn near jumped out of my skin and dropped her purse on the floor. She just glared at me and didn’t say anything. Didn’t talk to me all the way out the car, or all the way on the ride back home.

Stop at Cyril and Joan’s, she said when we were gettin’ near our street. So I go over to their place, and she reaches over and toots the horn. Cyril comes out a minute later with a big roll of carpet over his shoulder.

There yis go, he said, throwin’ the carpet in the back of my truck. We just about got the new one down, but this old one should fit pretty good in your front room, he said.

Carpet? I says to Minnie. And who’s gonna put that down?

She glared at me and folded her arms. It’ll go good with my blue curtains, she said, as if that settled everything.

So that’s how I ended up movin’ furniture and tryin’ to lay carpet on one of the hottest days of the year.

If you want my advice, the next time the wife goes into one of them women’s clothing stores, you go to Canadian Tire and tell her you’ll be back to get her later.

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