Darlings, it's not that I don't cherish masculine company. I am married, after all, to a delightful man who doesn't know rickrack from eyelet and has no use for either. It's not the male-ness I object to, it's just the idea of having to adjust to a different ambience. Would I have to check my polyester slacks for panty lines? Would Taffy have to curtail her passionate impersonations of the latest Lifetime melodrama? (She does a superlative Meredith Baxter-Birney as the murderous mother in "Overheated.") Would we have Bronco games broadcast throughout the store on Sunday afternoons instead of The Gabby Gourmet? Hancock Fabrics had always been a feminine oasis for me, a place full of soft and colorful fabrics, easy listening, news about the latest craft craze, crullers. But, alas, perhaps no more.
In the meeting, Lois had hit her full managerial/ entrepreneurial stride, pacing like a kept tiger but looking like Betty Crocker. "What could possibly tempt a man to walk into a fabric store?" Lois tore a page out of her legal pad and used a straight pin to fix it to the wall. "Let's brainstorm and write all of our ideas down."
There was a moment of silence, a temporary disconnect between the velveteen and baby booties and the thought of our husbands, brothers and boyfriends tromping around in here with their muddy, oily work boots. Tres incroyable!
I looked at Suzette. After all, she was the one who was brimming with all this inspiration. It occurred to me that she was also the one who would benefit from male company the most. She certainly wasn't meeting anyone worthwhile at the Olde Towne Tavern and Grille. (This establishment is not to be confused with my hubby's watering hole, my dears; the Grille is new and trying to class itself up, but it's tres difficult when one is situated in a strip mall next to a 7-11.) She remained silent, however, looking dreamily towards the button rack.
"The only sewing Filthy does is when he's putting a new headliner in his Ford."
Lois visibly brightened. "Well, perhaps there's more we could develop in this car restoration market. I went to the hot rod show with Tom last year, and some of those interiors would look more at home in a cathouse."
"Well, darling, I can check into that, but there's another thing. My husband would absolutely refuse to enter a store with this much cuteness floating around." I looked up at a poster of an Anne Geddes cupid. "He doesn't trust anyone with arrows, especially babies, ever since last Thanksgiving with our nephew Jayden."
Taffy obviously had some personal experience with this and jumped in with gusto. "If I bring home anything slightly feminine, Ken refuses to look at it. It could be a brand new hunting rifle, but if there are flowers on it, he'll act as if it's covered in doggy doo."
"This could be a problem, then. How do we balance our old clientele with all these macho men? We can't just throw out all the glamour buttons and kitty-cat throw pillows."
Suzette wrested her gaze from the buttons. "We'll just have to set aside part of the store that's not so frilly. Put it near the entrance so that they don't feel infected by the cute stuff."
"And add lots of lingerie models!" snorted Taffy.
Lois wasn't ready to end the meeting, however, not even for pudding cake. "Is there anything other than car stuff we can feature? Camping equipment repair maybe?"
"How about Civil War re-enactors?"
"Dearie, don't you think those men get their wives to do all the sewing? " I said. "Anyway, there aren't too many Civil War buffs in Colorado. We should all go home and ask the guys we know. See what they might use in the way of fabric or craft supplies."
Taffy interjected, "Hey, I wasn't completely joking about the lingerie, either."