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  • The Sweater

    November 21, 2007

    I have a love-hate relationship. With sweaters.

    They catch my eye in the store. They are so pretty. They call to me, “Pssst! Hey you! Over here! Touch me! You know you want to — I’m soft, you’ll like it. Trust me.”

    Never trust a sweater, trust ME on this.

    And like a sailor who can’t resist the call of the Sirens, I am unable to resist the call of the sweaters.

    So I sidle over to the rack and pull out just the sleeve of one lovely limey green cashmere and yes, I confess, I pet it, right there in TJMaxx. And then I rub it lightly on my cheek. I pull it from the rack and free it from the acrylic and cable knits and the lesser sweaters. I hold it up. To my heart. I sniff it! I embrace it! And yes! Yes! Yes! It is soft. It is beautiful. And then I imagine for a moment that I too will be soft and beautiful wearing it.

    I waltz The Sweater to the register, stopping to dip only once. Then I hand over my credit card signifying my promise to love The Sweater forever. I place the new limey green love of my life right next to me on the car seat, patting and stroking it as I drive it home where we will begin our life together. Joy abounds.

    When I get The Sweater home, I put it on. I look in the mirror. I am soft and not altogether hideous beautiful in The Sweater. We are a lovely couple, The Sweater and I. Even Antique Daddy thinks so. He cannot resist The Sweater either. He wants to pet it too. But then again, he likes to pet the coffee stained t-shirt I wear. Yet, still. It is my new sweater and I am in love.

    The next day, things begin to sour between The Sweater and me.  The Sweater is high maintenance.  The Sweater is needy. The Sweater wants to be washed. By hand. With special soap. Or better yet, The Sweater wants to be taken to the dry cleaners, which we all know is just a spa for sweaters. If anyone is going to the spa, it’s me and not The Sweater.

    I sigh loudly and then I run a warm bubble bath for The Sweater.

    The Sweater can’t go in the dryer like the other laundry. Oh no, The Sweater wants to be laid out flat to dry, on a special little hammock, not for just one, but two days. The Sweater needs to reshape in a quiet place. The Sweater must not be disturbed. Be quiet! Do not talk to The Sweater — it is lying flat and reshaping and can not be bothered.

    After The Sweater has fully recovered from its singular wearing experience, I must now find The Sweater a suitable abode. The Sweater cannot just move in with the t-shirts! No, The Sweater has to have its own place, preferably something with cedar.

    And that’s when I have had enough of The Sweater. The Sweater no longer controls me.

    I slam dunk The Sweater into a plastic bin, along with Sweaters past, and then I shove the lid down tight so I can’t hear their screams.  I turn and walk away. I no longer care about the needs of The Sweater. I’ve lost that loving feeling for The Sweater, for all sweaters.  I promise myself that I won’t be fooled by a sweater again.

    I still have feelings for Hanes.

    add to sk*rt

    49 Comments »

    1. noodle says:

      LOL @ “the spa for sweaters”

      Sweaters and I get along just fine. My love-hate relationship is with linen — enticingly smooth on the hanger; loathsomely wrinkled when worn.

      November 21st, 2007 at 10:23 am

    2. Brighton says:

      I wish I could do the sweater thing, but it’s 85 degrees here with no cold in sight!

      November 21st, 2007 at 10:35 am

    3. Antique Mommy says:

      It’s really warm here too, which makes the buying of sweaters all the more ridiculous.

      November 21st, 2007 at 10:49 am

    4. Sue says:

      Loved this! And the pilling! Don’t forget the pilling!

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:24 am

    5. Jeana says:

      I think I’m in love with this post.

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:24 am

    6. Antique Mommy says:

      Oh Sue, I know. I draw the line at shaving my sweater. I barely have time to shave myself.

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:26 am

    7. Christie says:

      I’m with Sue on the pilling. You know you have no life when you spend HOURS washing, grooming, petting and de-pilling (is that a word?) a sweater that you wear for 8 hours!

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:28 am

    8. Joanna says:

      I bow and pay homage to your writing ability as that was truly hilarious!! Shove the lid down tight on their screams – priceless.

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:31 am

    9. Kelly @ Love Well says:

      The Sweater is a necessity in these parts. (Our high today is 30, and I doubt we’ll get back to Hanes-like weather for the next 150 days or so.) But this post made me snort coffee anyway. (Or maybe that was just what happened naturally after I looked at my To Do List for today.)

      The Sweater certainly piles on with its demands, doesn’t it? What a diva!

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:39 am

    10. gretchen from lifenut says:

      That’s why there are racks upon racks of sweaters at Goodwill. Nice sweaters, too, from Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Talbots, cashmeres, handknit in Norway, etc.

      You can pick one up for $4.99 then not feel guilty when you donate it back in two months.

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:59 am

    11. wordgirl says:

      You are cracking me up. Here I am with my Thanksgiving dressing only half made, the bathrooms still need cleaning, there is dust to vacuum up and a cake to bake and yet…I’m laughing over this post. Thank you.

      November 21st, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    12. Candy says:

      Awesome!

      It is for this very reason God made Febreeze.

      November 21st, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    13. Quirky says:

      Ah yes. But a husband who “helps” by doing laundry and thinks that “lay flat to dry” is merely an urban legend will defeat the sweater every time. Then there’s no fancy care for the sweater. The sweater takes its licks just like the rest of the laundry. (Of course, it comes out of the dryer so shrunken that only Barbie can wear it now, but that’s okay, because Barbie doesn’t mind pilling).

      November 21st, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    14. Beck says:

      Sweaters ARE kind of a pain the butt. Around here, though, you either give into the way of the sweater or you walk around with pneumonia for six months.

      November 21st, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    15. Christy says:

      I love sweaters! But then, that time I was on the lupron (which I know we talked about, but maybe I put my blog address in that time I commented and I don’t remember it anymore, so you may not recognize me), the lupron with the hot flashes, and then in the middle of church hot-flashing away, when sweat was pouring down my face, the sweater, it was my enemy. And all I wanted to do was rid myself of it, but the sweater’s all, “you can’t do that b/c then you’d be standing in church with just a cami on and that’s inappropriate and you have to wear me forever! (evil laugh)” Actually, sweaters suck.

      November 21st, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    16. Angeline says:

      What a lovely sweater love story… I love the ending, its more exciting than the lovey dovey part…*wink*

      for me, never got fooled by sweaters, never love them, never once. *phew* Lucky me. don’t need to go through the ups and downs of being in love with Sweaters.

      November 21st, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    17. Marie says:

      This is why a lovely sweater has been in the bottom of my hamper for MONTHS!

      You’ve captured the situation perfectly… This is why I favor The Sweatshirt. And my machine-wash cardigans!

      November 21st, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    18. Cheryl says:

      I love sweaters too…especially the lovely Irish wool cardigan that my wonderful husband gave me for our anniversary a few years ago. However, this year, my poor sweaters have had to stay in their summer homes with the cedar chips in the top of my closet…this year, I am 43 and having my own personal summer. Good Grief! Sometimes I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust!

      November 21st, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    19. Linda says:

      So funny!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 21st, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    20. Neighbor Jane Payne says:

      “the dry cleaners, which we all know is just a spa for sweaters”–very clever.

      November 21st, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    21. Blog Antagonist says:

      SIGH…I love big cozy sweaters, but it’s just too hot for them here, even in the winter. I guess part of that is that I’m just very warm blooded from growing up in the North. But when most people around here are bundled up like it’s below zero, I’m sweating in a long sleeved knit shirt.

      November 21st, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    22. Lisa says:

      You and I live in the same part of Texas, and my sweater weakness is for the ones that it is NEVER cold enough to wear. They are needy, which is a problem, but they also make me sweat and itch. I went to Ireland in college, and purchased the most Irish and beautiful of wool sweaters. That thing has been worn once – ONCE – in 15 years. It’s in the box with all the others, despite its fancy heritage. I doubt that our 38 degree night tonight will even bring it out…

      November 21st, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    23. Jennifer B says:

      You are too funny.

      November 21st, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    24. Andrea says:

      I used to have this relationship with sweaters and several other fine things. I finally had to commit to reading all the labels before purchase. If there are special instructions or contain any wool, back on the rack it goes. My sanity demanded it.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 21st, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    25. Lyssa Ireland Thomas says:

      You never cease to amaze me with the way you weave your stories. It’s like riding a wave of laughter.

      November 21st, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    26. Mrs. Who says:

      I never do the cashmere sweaters. I mean buy them – that first sentence sounds a little dirty. Or wool, or anything that requires any maintenance other than a cold water wash in the washing machine and air dry in the dryer. If they can’t survive that and come out looking like the day they were born, to Goodwill they go. Acrylic or acrylic blend sweaters are just as soft and lovely as cashmere. And you don’t even have to take them to the spa. Thanks for your usual hilarious post.

      November 21st, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    27. Angela says:

      I wish I could go shopping with you. I’d like to see the sweater caressing and the dip on the way to the cash register. :)

      November 21st, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    28. Susan says:

      You are hilarious!!!

      November 21st, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    29. Elaine says:

      Long live fleece!

      November 21st, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    30. Julie says:

      I have a lovely, turquoise angora sweater that lives in my dirty clothes hamper. It looks at me longingly every time I do laundry. But it is an unrequited love. The thought of the washing and laying flat to dry and shaving the thing is so out of the realm of possibility right now, it will probably spent another season – yes, season – in the hamper.

      November 21st, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    31. Miss Carey says:

      Dear Antique Mommy,

      I’ve been reading your site for over a year and check your site nearly every day to read new posts or revel in old ones.

      I read my younger sister this post (it sounded so much like her) and we laughed and giggled and empathized with your high-maintenance-clothing woes. I’ve read her other posts (or she’s read them over my shoulder) and we’ve enjoyed them so much.

      Your write and photograph so well and your son is delightful. Thank you for sharing your life in such a vivid, descriptive and delightful manner.
      Warmly,

      Miss Carey

      November 21st, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    32. Sue says:

      Great post. I can so relate. And it isn’t just the sweater – it has obviously influenced a lot of other clothing pieces into the high maintenance, spoil-me position. I pick clothes like I picked my husband and my pets – low maintenance, very low maintenance!

      November 21st, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    33. Brigitte says:

      Like Mrs. Who, I find sweaters a necessity here, but I go with large, lumpy, comfy, warm ones in low-maintenance fabrics. Sometimes I’ll try a fancier fabric from Goodwill or somesuch, but the fanciest maintenance I’ll do is throw them in a net bag in the washer, then HANG them on the rack. If they cannot survive this torture, out they go.

      November 22nd, 2007 at 9:03 am

    34. FeeFiFoto says:

      Not meaning to rain on the parade of this absolutely brilliant post, but I’ve had good success with the home dry cleaning, what’s it called… oh! Dryel. Costs about forty cents an item, and you can visit the people spa with the money you save. Eventually.

      November 22nd, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    35. Nett says:

      As a younger teen, before I did my own laundry, it frustrated me that my mother would read the tags before she would let me pick out clothes at the store. Now and only now I understand! Laundry with “special needs” are a pain in the bon-bon! Bravo, AM, bravo!

      November 22nd, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    36. Angie says:

      You are brilliant! Thanks for the laugh.

      November 22nd, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    37. CircusKelli says:

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 22nd, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    38. Ortizzle says:

      1. I only buy sweaters that will go in the washing machine.

      2. I pick off millions of fuzz balls when stuck in traffic.

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

      November 23rd, 2007 at 11:23 am

    39. CircusKelli says:

      Somewhere in the last 10 years, and likely following the birth of my third child, I’ve begun an extremely close relationship with all things cottony soft and stretchy and machine-washable. Oh sure, I still have the occasional fling with the beautiful soft, silky, cashmere things, but I think about the machine-washable the whole time I’m wearing them.

      November 23rd, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    40. Katy says:

      I too have a love/hate relationship with sweaters. I finally quit a few years ago and other than a few dresses I do not buy anything that can not be machine or hand washed.

      November 24th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    41. Sarcastic Mom says:

      The best ones always end up being high maintenance, don’t they!?

      November 24th, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    42. Susan says:

      So somewhere in all of these comments is there a secret to washing sweaters and somehow maintaining their shape? Just bought a great SOFT sweater from Banana Republic and am afraid to wash it. UGH.

      November 24th, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    43. dcrmom says:

      LOL! LOL! I love this post.

      November 25th, 2007 at 11:30 am

    44. chickadee says:

      oh i love that. great, great post. so funny. and so true.

      November 25th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    45. jo says:

      I only hope that someday I can liberate myself from the tyranny of sweaters…

      November 25th, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    46. Phoenix says:

      Ah, lovely post I smiled and reminisced of my own sweaters of bygone days. Alas, I have gotten fatter and none of my darling sweaters feel right any more. Although this now means that I can go and purchase new sweaters while putting the others up for adoption. Its ok really – they arent my children after all.

      Right?

      November 26th, 2007 at 10:57 am

    47. Sheila at Dodging Raindrops says:

      Oh boy, can I ever relate.

      November 27th, 2007 at 12:52 am

    48. Kate says:

      I am a knitter. I never ever ever send wool to be dry cleaned. If you take a freshly dry-cleaned anything, and wash it by hand, the stuff that comes out of it will terrify you.

      I would probably was my wool sweaters once every two or three months, depending on how often I wear them or what I happen to spill down my front while doing so… Then I plunk it on a towel on top of the washing machine or other reasonably flat surface. My mother pegs and reshapes her heart out, but all you really need to do is make sure it doesn’t stretch.

      You could even hang it from a hangar the second day, but not straight away, because the water will make it too heavy and it will stretch. But once it’s only damp, you could certainly hang it…

      November 28th, 2007 at 2:21 am

    49. Emmy says:

      Okay this was funny post and so on, but a detail in there shocked me… Maybe I got it wrong? “Slam dunk in the plastic bin”? You sure didn’t mean that you throw away CLOTHES in trash? As in ordinary trash? Instead of re-selling or recycling them? I must have got that part wrong. I know there are some people in the world who throw away useful stuff without any consideration of the pollution and waste of natural resources, but you’re sure not one of them?

      I guess I really got it wrong as nobody else here noticed that. It sure can’t be ORDINARY thing to throw CLOTHES in a bin. Especially when it’s wool. Especially if its cashmere which is made from fibers of rare baby goats. One woolly sweater lasts for a lifetime, I have several that have been worn by my mom, 30 years ago. They’re still perfect. And if I don’t want to keep clothes, I take donate them to charity or sell at flea markets. I mean… Nobody throws clothes away, right? Especially not mothers of young children who wish to preserve our only planet to the next generations…

      But anyways, I’m sure I understood it wrong. Maybe it was the special bin for local charity?

      July 8th, 2008 at 8:26 am

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