Pre-Barcelona: Men have it easy. (by me)

My husband didn’t have to pack any bras.  I guess that’s a good thing. (It’s one thing to be 52.  It another to be 52 and have moobs. Luckily, he doesn’t have any).  I digress. His lack of having to pack any bras points to a much bigger, and much more serious issue:  Packing.  Packing and the battle of the sexes.

The eve of our trip, Pat was giving me a hard time due to the late hour and the detail that I’d not yet put one item into a suitcase.  I didn’t see it as a problem due to my nightowlyness.  When asked if he’d finished packing, his response was, of course, “yes.”  This is because he likes to do things early.  He doesn’t fiddlefart around like me (I know this is what he is thinking most of the time).  It is also because he owns a scrotum.  Those scrotum-toters can pack for a two-week European trip in about four minutes.

When I asked what he packed he replied “Five pair of Dockers, a bunch of polo shirts, a pair of jeans, some shorts, a bunch of those colored t-shirts, a few pair of shoes and some underwear.”  Oh, he may have mentioned a pair of bathing trunks.  Wow. The stress. He was packing for a work trip to Barcelona and the Cambridge, England area; hence the Dockers and polos.  The hardest decision was whether the khaki-colored pants looked better with light blue or navy.  So I ventured up the stairs to the bedroom and got a gander at his packed suitcase.  It sat, mocking me.  The man suitcase.  Boring. Simple.  Packed.

Then I ventured into my closet.  And my clothes hung there, mocking me.  I started putting things on the floor.  Simple enough.  These four skirts, and these eight shirts.  These jeans and these two shirts.  This sundress. This pair of capris and these shirts.  A few light sweaters.  These pants and these two shirts. And so on.  I figured if I had a few shirt options for each bottom, I’d be set.  It all seems simple enough at this point, right?  It’s still way more complicted than the man-pack described above, but so far, it’s not too bad.

Then it hits.  Reality sets in.  This is when your husband walks into the closet and sees you just standing there.  Or so he thinks. He thinks you are just fiddlefarting around.  But, THIS is where the real packing begins. The real torture.  The reason I waited until 11 PM the night before.  It’s time to pack the under layer.  The accessories.  Jewelry. All the stuff you have to think about for each outfit.  All the stuff men don’t have to worry about.  Well, at least not my husband. (His beauty kit outweighs mine though.  That’s another story.)


Which bra goes with THAT shirt?  Oh yeah, I need the racerback bra for that one.  And a few of the packed blouses need a strapless bra.  Now is not the time to become bohemian. And one shirt in particular calls for a black bra because occasionally the straps become visible.  And how horrific would it be for my nude straps to show.  How pedestrian!  How teenager.  And some of the shirts can’t take a traditional bra at all – they call for a more casual, colored jog-bra type contraption.  But wait – there’s more – one of the blouses is so sheer that I need to pack a shelf-bra type camisole top for it!  Some of you gals may be thinking “convertible bra.”  I think I tried one before.  No thanks.  I like to keep things complicated.

Now we move onto underwear.  The husband has two types.  Boxers and non-boxers.  (The non-boxers are NOT tightie whities.  They have been banned.  I told him if I ever see those again I’d whip out the female version – big white briefs a la Bridget Jones.)  Again, for each outfit I have to stand in the closet and think of my ass.  This is a topic that gives me enough stress as-is; now I have to think of it from a pantyline POV.  Which outfilts can handle regular panties?  Which pants call for a thong?  Do any of these skirts need a slip so I don’t look like a skank-ho walking through town? Spanx. Spanx?  Thank God I haven’t gone there yet.

Now it’s time for jewelry.  By now I’ve decided I should have been born a scrotum-toter.  This is all just a bunch of bull shit.  So I just throw my most-worn jewelry into my jewelry bag.  But, of course, one cannot just throw it all into a bag.  It becomes a complicated system of this necklace going into this ziploc baggie, and these two necklaces going into that baggie, and so on.  This, in the hopes I will not be fighting to untangle anything on the other side of the Atlantic.  Earrings.  Crapfest.  I have to get earrings.  Do I really need earrings?

Shoes.  I’d been worrying about this dilemma for weeks prior to the trip. My feet, calves, and knees hurt all the time.  The doc says it’s just old lady syndrome.  OK.  That’s not what he said.  But I need arch support and tape on my right knee.  (At the end of a few miles it all hurts nonetheless.)  So, I have a few pair of shoes that are okay looking.  So they are packed.  I really want to wear my bright purple Asics every day, but I am loathe to look like an American tourist.  Plus, I’ve never worn sneakers with a skirt.  Never.  I don’t plan to start now.  But on our first eve in Barcelona I did see these on a guy.  He even posed for a pic.  He was French.  Or at least he was speaking French.  After this sighting I decided I would wear my bright purple Asics as I may be the toast of the town.  Or at least the toast of French teenagers in Barcelona.


These Nikes with pink laces were on a teenage guy. I guess my purple sneakers won’t be so offensive after all.

I also saw these shoes on a gal.  I think she wore these just to rub it in my face:  “Ha, old lady American!  I am petite and I have good arches.  Take that!”

Back to packing:  I didn’t even talk about belts.  That’s because for this trip I only had to pack one.  And I skipped over the beauty kit section.  And medicine.  And the purse I use when traveling.  And the Clif bars I pack.   At this point I’m tired of talking about packing.  I really hate packing.

Unpacking is much worse.

blue shoes