Oh, goodie! I said, sarcastically, while throwing a bunch of my husband’s old Sports Illustrateds into the recycling bin. “It’s almost time for another swimsuit edition.”
“Not necessarily,” my spouse replied. Boinnnnggg! I made a feeble attempt to wrap my head around this new information.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Didn’t you renew your subscription? I thought I saw a new one the other day.”
“Oh, I renewed,” he assured me. “But you can opt out of the swimsuit edition now.”
Did he say “opt OUT of the swimsuit edition”?
“You’ll have to define your terms for me,” I said, my head reeling. “I’m not sure what ‘opt out’ means in this context.”
“There’s a phone number you can call if you don’t want to receive the swimsuit issue. It’s in the front of the magazine,” he explained.
I had to sit down. This was earth-shattering news.
Could my mate of more than 30 years finally have come to the realization that the swimsuit edition was nothing more than another vehicle to objectify women?
Could he be letting his feminist flag fly? Making the ultimate statement by rejecting the dehumanizing of the female form for the sheer purpose of male consumption and corporate profit?
Or, oh my God, is it possible my husband reads Sports Illustrated just for the articles?
I wanted to cry with joy. Then, my brain abruptly switched tracks.
“Wait a minute,” I thought to myself. “This is huge, with even bigger ramifications for womenkind! I’m going to have to write about this! Oh, but what will that do to the poor guy’s reputation?”
You see, I worry that the razzing my husband receives from friends about me regularly exposing his peccadilloes in the press (you know — the snoring, the beer guzzling, the unnatural fondness for his old tractor) might damage his good standing in the community.
So, how will people react when they read the big lug apparently succumbed to spousal pressure and “opted out” of the most widely anticipated, All-American girlie rag there is?
Suddenly, my brain switched tracks again and headed toward the light.
“Oh, I get it now!” I cried. “You think this will give you a lifetime pass, don’t you?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” he replied.
“You think by ‘opting out’ of the swimsuit issue — something that clearly makes me crazy every year — you’ll get a golden ticket to do anything you want for the rest of our lives, don’t you? This is the ultimate ‘get out of jail free’ card! Your all-purpose pass for all future transgressions, isn’t it?”
“Well, I …” he stammered. “… never really thought of it.”
“Oh, I know what you’re up to,” I continued, my voice rising. “And your buddies will think it’s brilliant! Next time you want to go fishing with the boys, or renew your season football ticket — leaving me alone all those Saturday afternoons in the fall — you need only remind me of this magnanimous gesture. This is your plan, isn’t it?”
“Look,” he tried to interject, “I think you’ve got …”
“Well, it’s an interesting strategy, but it just won’t work,” I argued. “I want you to get on the phone with Sports Illustrated right now and opt back in. Tell them your wife insists on it. Tell them she actually enjoys reading about the exotic beach locales and viewing tiny glimpses of scenery behind the model’s spray-tanned liposuctioned bellies. Tell them you’ll never opt out again.”
He didn’t make a move. He just stood there, a sly smile creeping onto his face.
“I never said I MADE the call,” he said, calmly. “I just said opting out was an option. You know, in theory.”
Obviously, my runaway brain had jumped the tracks altogether.
“Oh. OK, never mind then,” I said, defensively. “But keep the damn thing out of our bathroom or I’ll pitch it in the trash, and I don’t mean the recycling!”