On Football, Fashion, and the Glorious Magic of Being Young: A 1000 Word Comment on a Five Word Post

My friend, Alicia, made the following post on Facebook tonight:

Alicia S. shared Steamed’s photo.

5 hrs · 

Wow. This is beautiful

Mermaid dress

 

I felt compelled to comment. I kind of lost control. What was essentially supposed to be a simple, “Damn, hon. That really IS gorgeous :-)” ended up taking me on a journey I hadn’t anticipated. The comment:

Tom S: Truly beautiful! The model’s figure doesn’t hurt, of course, but that is a gorgeous design.

When I was at FSU, I dated a Fashion Design major. She was a little nuts, granted–okay, so was I–but I’ve never seen anyone that amazingly talented. She used to cash-in around formal time, creating gowns for some of the sorority girls–all of the gowns were beautiful, and they were all her own design. She could have charged a whole lot more than she did, but she loved doing it. A gorgeous, custom designed gown for $50 or $75 and the price of supplies? That’s a steal.

I used to stop by her apartment (two doors down from mine) and say good morning before I walked up the long hill for my ninety minute German class (Neunzig Minuten Deutschunterricht–I didn’t forget EVERYTHING from college. Hah!). It was about a fifteen minute walk each way from our complex to the Diffenbaugh Building.. During the time between when I left her, and when I stopped back by, she’d have made some sort of cute outfit for herself. She was hugely gifted.

Anyway, the point is that she’d see some sort of beautiful dress or outfit or other sort of garment, and she’d take it as a personal challenge to duplicate or improve upon it. That’s the first thing I thought of seeing this dress: the LR-HG (Little Red-Haired Girl) would loooove to take a swing at it! I bet she could probably come damned close to nailing it, too. I can see her now, dragging me to Cloth World in Governor’s Square Mall–all the ladies at Cloth World knew me, which was kind of cool and embarrassing at the same time. The proper color and type of fabric in hand, we’d road trip over to Panama City Beach, and hit one of the tourist trap stores so she could find the right shells.

Anytime we went to PCB, she insisted on stopping at this one particular biker bar. It was cool and dark and sleazy, a nice change from the hot and bright and tacky world outside. We’d drink a few gloriously cold Bud longnecks, and shoot a few games of pool. She’d kick my ass, then we’d drive back to Tally.

Back to the dress, I’m not sure how, but I know she’d find a way to create the netting on her own. And when she finished working her magic, the dress would be divine. Probably not as perfect as this creation, but better than anything anyone else in Tallahassee had. I’m not sure who she’d get to model it, though. She had a nice figure, and all–kind of a tomboy, appropriately –but, being a natural redhead, she was one of the few people around paler than I was. Watching her get obsessed with this dress, then becoming personally vested in her obsession to make it perfect…that was the kind of adventure I really miss now.

I guess in college, you think life will always be like that, that even years later when you’re adulting, things will be the same. I mean, taking fifteen hours each semester is the same as working forty hours a week, right?

Yeah, right. Her folks covered her bills–this was before tuition skyrocketed. I supplemented what my parents kicked-in by working Midnight to 6am at the #1 radio station in the market. This was my dream job, which turned into a dream career, for a couple decades anyway. I loved sitting at her table on a hot summer evening, reading an assignment for one Lit class or another, and watching her work. She used to love coming up to the radio station in the middle of the night, watching me do my thing. She couldn’t believe I was actually an honest-to-God announcer. To be honest, I couldn’t either.

My favorite thing of all was watching football with her. She had this gigantic 1980’s console TV that weighed about a thousand pounds. We’d order a pizza, crack a couple beers, and sit on her living room floor. I don’t know how she learned it all, but the LR-HG had probably forgotten five times as much about football as I’ve ever known.

The teams would line up for a play, and I’d see two teams lined up for a play.

She, however would shake her head ruefully. “See what they’re doing wrong? The offense is in the slot-left formation, but the defense is in the Delta five zone, with three DB’s on flex-coverage widget patrol.”

“What does that even mean, hon?”

She’d sigh. “It means the weak-side linebacker will intercept the pass, and probably return it at least five yards deep into the red zone before the QB can run him down. But with the QB coming off that pulled hamstring two weeks ago, he’ll be favoring that leg, and push off with his left foot, which will screw-up his angle of attack, and he’ll separate his left shoulder. That isn’t his throwing shoulder, granted, but it’ll still sideline him for two weeks. Why? What do you think will happen?”

“Um, the really big man in the middle will hike the ball to the rich guy, who will probably hand it off to one of the small, fast guys behind him, and he–”

“Honey, IT’S A PASSING DOWN!! You think they’ll run up the middle on third-and-eight? I love you, but are you nuts?”

Guess how the play would pan out. Sure as shit. Returned to the fourteen yard line, six yards deep into the red zone.

In the end, though, I prevailed! It would end up taking the poor quarterback’s separated left shoulder THREE weeks to heal. HAH! I showed her!

Ah, hell. Now I wonder where she is, and what she’s doing. I haven’t seen or heard from her since we broke up senior year, back in 19…um, 2008? (Reagan was still in the White House in 2008, right?)

Anyway, I’m sorry this is so long. But your post sparked a whole bunch of memories, a sense of how much we used to enjoy even the simplest things before real life left us jaded, waiting for something like this to brush away the cobwebs so we can remember vividly, and maybe–just for a few minutes–feel that magic again.

Have a good night, Alicia. Thank you, and you’re right—that truly is beautiful.

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