Reader, I caved.

Mike and I braved opening day at the pool on Memorial Day weekend. And by “braved” I mean “walked across the street for.” You don’t have to be very brave to go to the pool when it is right across the street. Except for the part where you have to put on a bathing suit and expose your translucent skin to your entire neighborhood. That part is still somewhat frightening.

Having never been a pool person, I was intrigued to see what sorts of things we were lacking. We took delicious tuna sandwiches, but we didn’t have the appropriate pool snacks. We have so many cloth napkins that I have designated a few of them to be pool napkins that we can use and I can wash with the towels. I was particularly proud of that move. We could probably use a different pool bag, one that is more waterproof. We had not taken the time to draw tattoos on ourselves that said things like “Property of Alex Black.” (Actually, most people didn’t do that. Just a few of the teenage girls. Alex Black must be quite a catch himself.) And, most importantly, Mike was emphatic that my towel is wildly uncool.

When Mike and I were engaged, before we had a falling-out with his parents, they gave me some beach towels for my birthday. Mike had told them that I was a Star Wars fan (this was around the time that Episode 1 came out), so they bought me some Star Wars towels. One has Padme on it, and one has C-3PO. I still have them and use them happily, much to Mike’s embarrassment. His students gave him a beach towel for his birthday, knowing that he was planning on joining the pool. So he carried his fancy Nautica towel to the pool, while I busted out the old Padme towel. It’s red. And has Padme’s face on it. (You would think Mike and his deep affection for Natalie Portman would approve of my towel, but no.)

The question was then whether I should cave and buy a new towel or whether I should stand on my principles. I like my Padme towel, and it does not embarrass me in the least. I kind of enjoy being the crazy Star Wars towel lady. However, it is ten years old, and it’s probably okay for me to retire it. We tried to get our neighbors to mediate. They supported me, but they have very nice towels themselves. I was torn. Be an individual? Or keep in mind that Mike and I live in the neighborhood in which he teaches and he does have a reputation to keep up?

Sadly, my need for approval won out. We went to Target and I bought a perfectly nice (read: BORING) towel with blue stripes. To my credit, I did check to see if there were new nerdy towels I could buy. Unfortunately, Target had no Star Trek towels. I would have been so excited to own my own Mr. Spock towel. So would you. Admit it.

Today, we went to the pool after work, and our neighbor said, “Is that your towel?” I said yes, rather dejectedly. He smiled at me and said, “I liked the Star Wars one better.” (Did we win the neighbor lottery or what?)

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