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Silk Pajamas
by Hermine Robinson

Doug hesitated outside the Kitten Boutique but failed to muster the bravado needed to cross the pink threshold with confidence and opted for stealth instead. He was promptly foiled by a loud chime and a busty saleswoman who cut off his escape. Doug stared at her name-tag a smidgen too long while his eyes adjusted to the dim interior.

“Can I help you find something?” asked Rose, the lingerie consultant.

“Silk Pajamas.” Doug held out a limp card embossed with silver kittens. “It's a surprise for my wife. She wrote her size on the back.”

Rose arched an eyebrow. “We keep sleepwear at the back.”

Doug took a deep breath and followed her past displays of gauzy unmentionables. Pink lace and purple satin assaulted his senses. Rose checked the back of the business card. “Your wife wrote down that she's a size 6 or a size 8. Does that mean she isn't sure?”

“Oh, Marlene knows her size,” Doug replied. “It's just part of her test.”

“This is a test?”

“Yes,” said Doug. “After 25 years my wife has decided I need to be more romantic and buy her something nice for our anniversary. Preferably purple. I expect to fail. Last year I bought a vacuum cleaner,” he added.

Rose looked aghast.

“I should probably go now,” said Doug.

“No! We can figure this out.” Rose had a determined glint in her eye. “Have you ever bought your wife lingerie before?”

“Heavens no!” said Doug. “I told you, I'm a failure at romance.”

“What about flowers?”

“Allergies. Me, not her.”


Doug shrugged apologetically and waited to be tossed out onto the street.

“Chocolate? Candy? Anything?”

Doug admired Rose's tenacity. “Marlene's off white sugar since she started working out.”

“Ah-hah! In that case, I'm going to guess your wife is a size 6,” said Rose.

Doug hastily chose a cozy pajama set embroidered with purple and white flowers and handed it to the saleswoman. “This one.” Rose held it up with two fingers like something distasteful. Doug did not understand romance, but recognized the look of a woman who thought he was an idiot. “Is there a problem?”

“Your wife wants romance, not something that says, 'Goodnight, stay warm',” said Rose.

“But, it's a size 6.”

“May I suggest that the real test is choosing the right sleepwear?” Rose held up a slinky purple teaser. “How about this?”

Doug's right eyelid twitched. “Are you sure it's appropriate?”

“Silk Teddies are respectable but still sensuous,” Rose replied. “The most romantic thing you can do is show your wife she's still desirable after 25 years. You do think she's desirable don't you?”

“Does it come in a 6?”

Doug mused about Marlene's reaction to the slinky lingerie while the saleswoman rang up his purchase and wrapped it in pink tissue with a silver bow.

“I've included a gift receipt,” said Rose.

“In case it's the wrong size?”

“In case you can't handle the side effects.”

Doug smiled. “Actually, I was thinking about taking Marlene out for dinner and booking a nice hotel for the weekend.”

“A bed and breakfast is more romantic.”

“Of course, that's what I meant.” Doug slipped a crisp new business card embossed with silver kittens into his wallet and whistled all the way home.