About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I suppose it's better than cross dressing...
To the naked, untrained eye, Junior’s sweet, whimsical birthday castle cake is just that: a sweet, whimsical castle cake.
But as Charles begins packing for his annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania, this cake makes me want to bust out an AK-47 (borrowed, of course) and blow it to pieces.
Now why, oh why, would I want to do that?
It’s quite simple: This cake is Charles’ Trojan horse, his breadcrumbs dropped in the forest. He’s trying to set the stage, you see, for Junior’s interest in the Medieval.
Because Charles is a wannabe Viking.
If you’re not gasping in surprise then you find this to be as big of a deal as my friend did when I told her. Our conversation actually went like this:
Me: “I have to tell you something about my husband.”
Her: “What? Is everything okay?”
Me: “I guess. I just…it’s pretty bizarre. There’s something he likes to do…a lot.”
Her: “You can tell me…”
Me: “I’ll just come out and say it. He likes…to dress up.”
Her: “Go on…”
Me: “Like…a Viking.”
Her: “You idiot freak. I thought you were going to tell me he likes to wear your underwear.”
So fine, the fact that Charles enjoys Ren fairs and going back in time isn’t that big of a deal but you know what, I think it’s stupid.
Ridiculous and absurd and I’ll shout it from the rooftops of Mulletville!
I have nothing against castles, knights, or alligators floating in moats—as long as they are safely tucked away in picture frames or on storybook pages. But come the fuck on, why would any adult want to dress up in medieval garb and play oh-look-at-me-I’m-back-in-the-Middle-Ages?
And yet there are thousands of them. Take Pennsic—that’s where Charles is going for a week (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the annual event—which is as bizarre to me as Trekkie conventions—it’s an enormous Renaissance fair complete with battlefields, a make believe caste system, and a marketplace where people, excuse me, jesters and wenches, peddle their trinkets).
If I had to go you’d find me strung and quartered in the main square—by my own doing!
Yet Charles loves it. He has a tent and outfits and his Viking friends have been calling him all week to talk about the stupid stuff they’re going to pack; he even made me design a banner for him. I don’t think these men got this excited about their own bachelor parties. And from what I’ve seen of the women who go to Ren fairs, the pickings at strip clubs are a lot tastier (if you’re a hot chick who goes to Ren fairs, feel free to send me a picture and prove me wrong).
My mother, Linda, thinks Charles’ passion for all things Viking is hysterical. She bought him Viking figurines for Junior’s party (see the wizard in the photo?). She brings it up at family parties as in, “Haha, has anyone seen Charles’ new battlefield photos?”
She will mysteriously disappear soon if she doesn’t cut the shit.
And my father? My Bob Villa-loving, Mr. Skeptical, feet-firmly-on-the-ground father thinks that Charles golfs every August. When Charles makes shorter treks to his friends’ get-togethers in the winter (now known in our household as “Viking weekends”), he’s camping.
My father and I both know I’m lying. I swear, in the winter, he thinks Charles is having an affair and succeeding in pulling the wool over my eyes.
“Now where is Charles this weekend?”
“But it’s 25 degrees out.”
“Yah, well you know, he and his friends like to rough it.”
“I see…And you said he’s in upperstate New York? In Buffalo? They just got 12 feet of snow.”
“It’s like I said, Dad. He and his friends LIKE THE SNOW.”
Gee, I can’t understand why he’s suspicious. Why didn’t I tell him Charles liked to bowl? Or watch football with his buddies?
I suppose I could tell him the truth: “Charles is a Viking, Dad. He prefers the Middle Ages.”
I realize that at some point we’ll have to break the news to Junior. I guess I’ll sit him down and have Charles walk in the room with his cape and sword and Medieval outfit and we can just bust out with it:
“Daddy likes to go back in time, Sweetie. He’s…he’s…”
Ah, damn. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to tell their child that his father is a Viking?