On NPR’s FRESH AIR with Terri Gross (March 24) Meg Wolitzer relates a scene from her new novel, The Ten Year Nap, Stay-at-Home-Mama Drama. The book’s main character, Amy, is struggling to dress quickly after her workout and simultaneously keep herd on her three-year-old son who is there with her. She’s completely naked when, all of a sudden, the boy runs out of sight, she hears the locker room door swish open and he’s gone — faster that you can snap your fingers!
Anyone who’s been around a child that young knows that there’s no time to dress first, then go after him, so she grabs a towel and run out the door. What’s more important? Vanity or your child’s safety? Gym towels, being notoriously small, won’t adequately cover all parts of the majority of women’s bodies, so she makes a quick decision running out the door after her son to cover her breasts. I think that’s right; I was so into the story, thinking what in the world would I do in such a drastic situation, and being relieved at the same time that–as a 65+ woman–I probably wouldn’t have to, that my mind completely went blank for a moment. As writers do, Ms. Wolitzer had used an actual event from her own life with her own son to write the scene for Amy.
Later on as the author re-hashed her decision to protect her top with her friends, she asked them what they would have covered. They variously chose the breasts, the belly and lower body, just as I was thinking. In hindsight, however, where we all make our best decisions, she thought the best choice might have been from one wise woman who suggested her head would have been a viable choice.
That bears some thinking on, since that way presumably no one would recognize you–especially if you could talk someone else into walking out with your son. So ladies, any thoughts? Have you ever found yourselves in such an embarrassing situation? What would you have covered? (Men of course, wouldn’t have a problem at all! And many wouldn’t care anyway. Or would they? Men?)