That said, I have a confession: I've been wearing beaver. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, just let me explain. For my big fat gay Halloween party with Michael in Provincetown, I decided to dress as David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. Because what better costume for a straight girl in Provincetown than the glitter bedazzled androgynous pop star himself? And WOO was that a night. I saw more men in bulging spandex that night than an Olympic gymnastics competition.
To perfect my costume, I had gone on the hunt for a fake fur coat to keep me warm, as I anticipated a lot of our evening would be spent outside which, as you can imagine, can be quite chilly this time of year on Cape Cod. My mother-in-law called a few days before Halloween with her results. "I found you a fur coat," she told me. "But there's a problem ... it's real fur."
Naturally I didn't feel comfortable with it. Not only because it was real fur and I would have trouble throwing red paint on myself, but because -- and most definitely more importantly -- I did not trust myself to be in charge of someone else's expensive thing. Because what do I do to expensive things? I lose then. Or break them. Or drop them in toilets in bar bathrooms. Or leave them sitting on train seats. Or run them over with my car. Or drive them into stone walls. Or leave them under a chair in an airport terminal. Or crash them. I do not have a good track record for expensive things.
"Oh, you can definitely borrow it," my mother-in-law assured me. "It belongs to my friend. She says it's perfectly fine. She hasn't worn it in 20 years. It's beaver."
Welp, I figured. It's Halloween. It's not like I'm really wearing it. It's a costume. It's not for real. It's just one night.
So on my way to Provincetown, I stopped and picked up the full-length beaver coat. And damn that thing was heavy ... and ... soft. Unfortunately, the night of the Halloween extravaganza on the streets of P-Town turned into a classic New England Nor'easter. I'm talking an intense storm. I'm talking broken umbrellas every which way and wind strong enough to knock a drunk blond girl right on over. But we raged on. We battled 50 m.p.h. gusts of wind and sheets of rain just to show off our glitter and drink as many gin and tonics as we could shove down our gullets in a 12-hour period. So as to not completely ruin the expensive thing in my possession, the coat didn't make an appearance that night. I assume dead beavers don't like to get wet.
The next morning the wind and rain subsided and when in P-Town ... you wear your beaver proudly because, honey, I promise you won't be judged. So I loaded my arms up with all of my bags and put my rain boots on and wrapped myself up in that big, glorious, full-length fur coat for my walk across town to the car. I was violently hungover and you know what? It felt kind of nice to be wrapped in a once-living fur cocoon of warmth and softness. It was kind of like wearing a large, heavy cloud. Or wrapping yourself in your softest collection of stuffed animals. Like the nice ones that the Hallmark stores used to sell. I couldn't stop caressing myself. I was in P-Town, remember, so I hardly stood out from the crowd while standing on the crowded street corner wrapped in fur rubbing myself.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many references I made to touching, rubbing, caressing, and caring for my beaver I made in just those few short hours.
Michael and I walked into a local convenience store and stocked up on snacks and smoothies for the ride home and no one even batted an eye at me. It was freeing. Like realizing you can walk around naked while everyone else is wearing clothes without anyone noticing. A dream come true for people like me who hate pants. A dream come true. It affected me. It emboldened me.
My head may be pounding and I may be considering where I can safely throw up my breakfast, but at least I am wrapped in the arms of warmth and comfort. And beaver.
It was just a couple hours in the coat. It was okay. I wasn't wearing it for serious. It was just, like, a joke or something. For a little bit. When I got home, I quickly hung the coat in a corner in the dining room so I could return it to its owner.
Later that night I went to take the dog outside before bed. The wind was howling again so I headed towards the closet to grab a coat. On my way I passed the fur. Whatever, it was dark. No one would see me. It's just so warm. I wrapped myself up again and headed outside with Roo.
The next morning I did the same thing.
And then again that night.
And the next night.
B mocked me mercilessly for prancing around in the backyard covered in a fur coat. BUT IT'S JUST SO WARM. I'VE NEVER BEEN SO WARM IN MY LIFE. IT'S LIKE AN IMPENETRABLE FORTRESS OF WARMTH AND HAPPY THINGS. You know I hate winter. I can't stand being cold. This was solving a very basic need. Every time I slipped into the coat I sang myself my fur coat song, sung to the tune of CSNY's "Teach Your Children Well." Basically, I just substituted the word "treat" for "teach" and "beaver" for "children" because THAT'S AWESOME. TREAT YOUR BEAVER WELL?OMG IT'S HILARIOUSSSSSS. LOOK AT ME WALKIN' 'ROUND IN A FUR COAT SINGIN' SONGS AND LOVIN' LIFE IN MY BEAVER COAT. And once again, I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I told B to just relax, try it, and go ahead and touch my beaver. SORRY, MOM, EARMUFFS.
"That's not your coat," B would respond. "You have to take it back."
"I will. I will take it back. Just ... tomorrow ... I'll take it back tomorrow." I promised every day.
Then finally it happened.
I took Rooney out early one morning, wrapped in the coat as usual, sporting old sweatpants, slippers, and lacking a bra. I waved to the neighbors. Whatever, I thought, they can't see what I'm wearing from there. They'll just think it's a coat. A really big coat. And suddenly the dog took off. In a mad dash he chased a squirrel up a tree in the neighbors' yard. I yelled for him to come back, walking as far as the end of our yard. Please don't make me do it, please don't make me do it, please don't make me do it. But he wouldn't come. He sprinted through the neighbors' yard, running from kid to kid and lolling his stupid dog tongue and barking happily.
Cursing to myself, I hiked up the coat and climbed the stone wall separating our back yards.
"Aaaaand good morning, neighbor," my neighbor smiled, eyebrows about as high as the tree that idiot squirrel has made his escape in.
"Yeah, hi, it's not my coat, I just ... it was for Halloween. I just need to give it back. But you know. WHATEVER IT'S WARM ..." I trailed off as he stood there, beaming at me while his kids ran around the yard with Rooney. When I finally grabbed the dog and shooed him back into our yard, our neighbor on the other side was walking out of her back door with her dog. Neighbor dog came lopping over to play with Rooney and she followed behind.
"Hi," I blurted out before she could even open her mouth. My already bed head hair was askew. I was still panting from climbing the stone wall between properties. The hem of my pants were muddy. Aaaaaand I was wearing a giant fur coat. First I was the neighbor who passes out in her back yard. Then I was the neighbor who rents gigantic inflatable toys so she can drink herself stupid and make inappropriate jokes with neighborhood parents. And now this.
Whatever. OWN IT. "Do you like my coat?"
The next evening I went looking for my beaver coat and it was gone. B had taken it back for me. My beaver coat was gone forever.
Or at least until next Halloween.