Nearly a quarter of a century in a relationship with a Quaker boy has certainly had its interesting moments. I grew up with a strict religious background, but not as strict as his. For example, I was allowed to watch Happy Days, but I had to turn down the volume during the theme song due to the heathenish worldview presented in the line, “feels so right, it can’t be wrong.”
Hubby, however, was not allowed to watch television. They didn’t even own one. He has never known the joy of waking up early for Saturday morning cartoons, and many pop culture references are completely lost on him.
If I give a thumbs up and say, “Ayyyyy!” he fears I am slowly dropping into a vegetative state.
He doesn’t know, by heart, the ingredients of a Big Mac.
No matter how many times I explain it, he can’t understand Mr. Whipple’s obsession with Charmin.
Although, he did finally realize that Charmin is not a woman.
He has no desire to be a Pepper, he doesn’t know who the heck Mikey is, and he thinks I’ve lost my mind when I tell our children that my bologna has a first name.
The joy of his childhood was summer camp. Quaker camp where boys wear pants, not shorts, and sleeves are not to be rolled past the elbow. Girls wear long, full skirts, and regardless of age, pull their hair neatly into a bun.
Over the years, weird little facts about him have surfaced. Pantyhose worn with running shoes turn him on. Great-granny’s rose-scented powder reminds him of his childhood crush. And when it came time for the class program, he was the only kid in second grade who didn’t know the Laverne and Shirley theme song. His teacher sent the sheet music home, and his mom pumped away at the organ, while the sweet tow-haired boy sitting next to her belted out, “Schlemiel Schlimazel!”
Taking all of this into account, I didn’t actually expect him to have an answer to the question, “Who is your favorite pre-1960s sex symbol?”
Yet, without a second thought he blurted, “I don’t know. When was Mary Poppins released?”
“Really, Quaker boy? You’re gonna go with Mary Poppins? Is that your final answer?”
I guess it makes sense. This was the stuff of his childhood. Long skirt, hair in a bun, no-nonsense personality. I always thought Mary Poppins was a witch, but it turns out she was just a Quaker.
I could barely hear his defense over my laughter. “Not Mary Poppins! Julie Andrews!”
“Julie Andrews? The same Julie Andrews who not only portrayed a witch, but also played a nun, and a cross-dresser? I’m trying to figure out what qualifies her as a sex symbol.”
“She once bared her breasts in a movie called S.O.B.”
I googled it.
“It says here she played a ‘frigid businesswoman whose inability to love stems from a childhood trauma that led to her sexual detachment.’ You’re better off sticking with Mary Poppins.”
“Well,” he quipped, “she is practically perfect in every way!”
Honestly, who am I to tell my Quaker boy that it’s weird to fantasize about women floating in on umbrellas? The one lesson I remember from childhood is that if it feels so right, it can’t be wrong.