Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


Regrets, I’ve had two

I don’t believe in regret. It’s not an efficient feeling and I am all about efficiency. (I should have been born German or Swiss.)

Before my enlightenment, one thing happened which would qualify as a regret, but I don’t think about it too often. It’s also personal, so I won’t be sharing it. Since I’ve developed my own tenets and started to live a life less encumbered by stuff that’s annoying, stupid and wasteful, I’ve done one thing which I would like to do over: getting rid of these shorts.

They really were glorious.

They really were glorious.

Now, they don’t look like much, but these shorts were Made in the USA by Champion. They were a magical sweatshirt material with a drawstring waist and they had pockets. (I can not impress upon you enough how key pockets are.) They were a gift from an old boyfriend in 1993. I wore them all the damn time. They were the perfect thing to pull on to run to the corner for milk or cigarettes. They were also ideal for biking, wearing over bikini bottoms and as house cleaning clothes. Before I became a grownup and started hiring movers, I also regularly wore these while hauling my own boxes.

When I changed apartments in February of 2012, I decided to get rid of them on a whim. They were old (though they still looked pretty good, considering) and it seemed a bit weird to hold on to something given to me by a person I hadn’t spoken to in over a decade. I try not to be sentimental about too many objects because they will weigh you down and wear you down. I don’t think it’s healthy to have reminders of lives long left behind around to haunt you all the time.

So I washed them, took a picture for posterity and threw them in a charity bin. It was the right choice, but I gotta admit: I wish I had a pair just like them all the time. I’d wear them for another 20 years.


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This is my pea coat.

peacoat 1There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pea coat is my favorite coat. It keeps me warm in coldest weather. Without me, my pea coat is useless. Without my pea coat, I am cold.

peacoat 2I got this coat about a decade ago from the J.Crew clearance catalog. (Do they still mail out catalogs?) There may no longer be many like it in use, though I’ve found it to be incredibly durable. The general construction of the garment is quite good. As you can see, the only wear has been caused by my general insistence to sit on the back of the coat to protect my bum from cold surfaces. Someday, maybe I’ll darn those spots. (Out, darned spots!)

The big selling point for me at the time was that the coat was lined with Thinsulate™, one of the great wonders of the modern world (as far as I’m concerned). I remember there was a non-Thinsulate™ version and I thought then (as I do now) what the hell the point of such a thing is.

peacoat 3Thinsulate™ alone would have been enough to make me favor this coat over the dozen I have for winter wear (each one has a specialized use, I swear!) but this coat earned my enduring love for a secret detail that I didn’t discover right away: an inside breast pocket. In case you don’t know, the percentage of women’s clothes that have an inside pocket is 0. No women’s clothing has enough or appropriately sized pockets. Apparently, designers think that since we carry bags, we don’t need to keep things on our persons. Well, I for one love having the option to go bag-free and this coat is the perfect thing. Back when I still smoked, I could put my wallet in the inside pocket, my smokes and lighter in the left one, keys and phone in the right and gloves in the top hand-warmers. And all was well. And warm.

Learn something, you maggot!

Full Metal Jacket, whose “This is my rifle” speech inspired this post, was filmed entirely in England. Stanley Kubrick was American. There is a Christmas scene in this movie which makes it eligible for my Unconventional Xmas film series.