CAN’T HIDE CLYDE
During my second year of dating escapades, I was much more self-assured when meeting new people; however, despite my adherence to Yia-Yia’s rules, I was much less certain that true love could be found. It was nearly three PM when I arrived at Meadows Park where Clyde and I had agreed to meet. Wearing my favorite rustic orange fall leggings, a dark brown leather jacket, silken gold and maroon striped scarf, I was excited for a casual date at the park. Clyde, as I understood from his profile, was a civic engineer with two master’s degrees. He owned his own home and had a dog whom he adored. His dog was a black poodle, which seemed odd to me because he was a dude and an engineer, but poodles are apparently smart dogs and so maybe the chemistry between the smart dog and science nerd worked.
Nestled between two expansive forests, Meadows Park was one of my favorite places to go think and write. A gentle wind blew, creating a ripple effect disturbing the golden yellow and red leaves carpeting the ground. I daydreamed as the leaves danced and swirled in the cool, autumn air; the cloudy skies made the day feel cozy and full of promise. I hummed and smiled thinking maybe, just maybe, this Clyde character would be the one. He was stable in his career, intelligent, liked dogs, and he told me he was a Christian, and seemed completely chill about a walk in the park counting as an official date. After all, I did not want to stare down another cup of cold, black coffee and awkward "get-to-know-you" smiles with a stranger. The decay of fall was potent in the air, but the hope in my sutured heart was growing. Meadows Park was a special place, and if Clyde was the man for me, the park would take on entirely new value in my life.
Glancing across the park looking for my date, it appeared, much to my disappointment in the hope for a few moments of me time, that Clyde had arrived early. I noticed a Rolex watch on his right wrist. I recognized the gold watch from every picture he had posted to his online dating profile. He was rocking back and forth on his heels next to the park bench where we had agreed to meet at for our Sunday afternoon walk together. He had on a pair of scrumptious khakis that, from the back, accentuated his features quite nicely. Then, without much warning, he turned around. His hair was flat on the top and long by his neck and ears. It was startlingly uneven as it curled around the right ear, but not the left. I hid behind a tree as I observed him checking his Rolex. I was wondering where I was or when I would arrive.
From my somewhat concealed vantage point, I looked him over, but as my eyes moved down his body, I noticed that those once scrumptious khakis were nothing more than high waisted trousers. And by high waisted, I mean the belt holding them up was just visible below what would be the female bra line on his chest. I opened my eyes wider to take in the sight. The lopsided hair was frustrating my need for order and the pants hiked up to near his chest was discomforting. I continued looking down his body, and before I even made it to his suede, Velcro loafers - I didn’t even know those were a legit thing - or cuffed, narrowed elastic bottoms of his pants, there was this looming bulge that at first I thought was simply an over-grown beer belly. However, the high pants threw off my perception of what parts of his body I was actually staring at. And then very soon, I was not simply looking, I was indeed staring, gawking, wide-eyed with compulsion to confirm what it was I was observing. Crumpled into what appeared to be a painful position because his pants were jacked up so high, was the part of Clyde that he could not hide. It was the part of Clyde that, well, made him “Clyde.” It was also the part I remain convinced he did not want to hide.
Thus, before I even spoke to the man, I affectionately nick-named him "can’t hide Clyde" because the way he wore his pants prevented him from hiding his manly package that was merely swollen because it was being held too tightly. As a man of any age, if you have slim fit pants pulled up past your waist, there’s really no way to conceal the appearance of a backwards looking ass crack or a full frontal split set of man junk. The bulging appendage shoved into his creased khakis was not the only physical feature about Clyde that was physically repulsive. I did not care for his tiny black eyes, his perfectly shaped nose covered in freckles, or the random blonde streak I noticed highlighting his messy, brown, mixed-length hair. I did not know what the hell was going on with his hair either, but one thing I knew for certain was that Can’t Hide Clyde was packing, and I no longer wanted to walk the park with him or his package. But if I bailed, that would make me the small balls wimp, so I approached him trying not to look at that which could not be hidden.
When I came up behind him and said, “Hello, are you Clyde?” he abruptly turned around. It was immediately verified that his pants were actually pulled up higher than I anticipated. And on account of our similarity in height, his Merry Christmas, Happy New Year feature was parallel to my very own Lady Liberty.
“Hi! You must be Cassandra, is that right?” Clyde stated, his hips swiveled, following his well-endowed center of gravity.
“Yes, call me Cassie,” I replied. “Beautiful fall day for a walk in the park, isn’t it?” I continued, trying not to look down, though I know he wanted me to. He looked at me with fixed admiration. Flattered, I took my guard down bit, but the closer I got to Clyde, the more I noticed the odor of wet dog. Or at least I think it was wet dog with a hint of salted, rotten leaves. Wait, wait? Was that odor coming from…? No, no, it could not be. But then again, maybe it was. He smelled like a dirty dog playing in smoked meats and the closer I got, the more potent it was.
“Are you okay, Cassie?” Clyde asked, noticing my scrunched up nose and squinted eyes.
“Oh, yes of course. I am fine. I just smelled something funny,” I responded with a subtle tremor in my voice.
“Oh, gosh. You know what it probably is? Pippin’ got into the pond again. She loves to go fishing and play in the mud,” he chuckled as though I knew what he was talking about. I had no clue who Pippin’ was, but I guessed her to be the poodle whom he appeared to worship in his online profile. I watched him hike his khakis up further into his chest. Can’t hide Clyde strikes again.
“Is Pippin your dog?” I replied trying to instigate further conversation. “Cute name.”
“Pippin! Yes, oh how I love her! She is really darling, that dog. I mean we can play or cuddle for hours. Mmmm!” Clyde said, his package flitting in the delight.
“Sounds like a wonderful dog. Would you care to walk as we talk?” I asked unable to stand face to face with the wonderful poodle owner in his khaki wonder pants.
“Certainly. Sorry again if the odor bothers you. You look really pretty. I mean you were pretty in all of your photos, but you are prettier in person,” he said as we began our stroll around the park. I kicked a few twigs in my path and listened intently to the crisp, crunching of red and yellow leaves beneath my feet. “Have you ever considered modeling?” he asked. I thought about modeling clay and the wad of it he was storing between his legs in his pants.
“Me? Modeling? No. I’m too much of a Tom-boy. I mean I will go the extra mile for a date, but sweats and no makeup is my preferred means of existing,” I explained. “I think modeling is vain anyway. I would get too caught up in the competitive nature of that industry.”
“I understand. I can get along with the casual apparel, but I do love a nice pair of khakis though. You know, they iron up so well and they go with anything!”
I laughed with a half-smile. He was dead serious about his affinity for khakis. And poodles. My entire world shifted in that very moment. Here’s this guy with a big package, tight pants, weird ass loafers, a poodle he adores, and his attention grabber, pick-up line is the inquiry about me being a model?
“Khakis are not really my thing,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s okay. It’s not a deal breaker for me. So tell me, Cassie, what do you hope to find in a relationship?” Clyde asked.
“I want stability in someone I can love and someone who loves me. I am looking for someone to grow a family with and to marry. I don’t want any strange monkeyshines.”
Clyde again took the microphone of our conversation without any prompting. “I want a woman who is confident and assertive – especially in the bedroom. I want a woman who is successful and beautiful and who loves me for me! She should also dig my taste in khakis, if that’s possible.” I tried to laugh at the khaki reference again, but I couldn’t.
I felt as though he was talking above me or around me. And I was too distracted by his member that I could barely focus on making any sort of reasonable response to him.
“How about favorite foods?” Clyde asked. All that came to my mind was sausage and I was not much of a meat eater.
“Pancakes and peanut butter. That covers your carbs and protein. You can even put the peanut butter on the pancakes,” I said. “It’s rather tasty, especially with cinnamon apple butter to top it off.”
“Why not just make peanut butter pancakes? And complete it with eggs and sausage links. I always like to have three on my plate at brunch. You’re making me hungry,” Clyde was talking faster with each step we took, and I wanted the walk to end and the thought of sausages to vanquish from my mind. We still had about a mile left on the path of our walk. “I like hot dogs and brats, too,” he kept talking, though I was hardly listening. My mind was stuck on one thing. And that one thing was a sausage wrapped pancake on a stick. Cassandra, get it together. Focus! I reprimanded myself.
As I sped up the pace of my strides, Clyde jabbered on about his job and his dog and the house that he owned. I was making my assessment of him as we approached a good stopping point with a panoramic view of the park. Clyde stepped in front of me, and as he did, I noticed that from the front and from the back, it looked like he had a huge wedgie. The only difference was that the front wedgie was slicing through his manhood.
“You’re awfully quiet, Cassie. Is something wrong?” Clyde questioned.
“No, nothing wrong. I have enjoyed learning about you. And you certainly have a neat job!” I said, feigning authentic engagement.
“Sorry if I have been doing all the talking. What do you say I buy you some warm cider from Starbucks down the street and I do some listening?”
“I appreciate the offer, but I am going to pass. I don’t really care for Starbucks,” I said. I actually did like Starbucks, it was just I did not like the thought of watching Clyde sit down again, for the sake of my eyes and for the wellbeing of his manhood. I fidgeted with my leggings subconsciously wanting to pull them up higher on my slender frame. But that pull and tug would only produce unwanted camel toe. How does he do it? I thought.
“Oh, that’s no worry about not liking Starbucks. It is not for everyone. Cider sure does sound good though. We can stay here for a while before we head our separate ways,” he affirmed. I was beginning to feel badly for Clyde as he was being genuine and sincere. We would probably never meet again.
After another twenty minutes of Clyde talking about himself, we parted ways amicably. He hiked his pants up before we hugged. The beer belly cobra pressed into me and it was mushier than I thought it would be and I imagined that without clothing it would have been slimy like the bottoms of the wet, moldy leaves on the ground that had not been picked up by the wind.
Can’t Hide Clyde made me want to burn every pair of khakis I owned, but I decided to keep him on the leaderboard as a fallback option. I mean, if all else failed, with a cobra of that size, we could probably make a lot of babies. And Yia-Yia would strongly be in favor of surplus procreation. Maybe I could always teach him to wear different pants. Or better yet, if we ever got serious, I could buy him some sweats. Yes, sweatpants. Even with those Velcro loafers of his, Can’t Hide Clyde might actually be tolerable to look at in low-waisted, baggy sweatpants.
As I walked away, I conspicuously tugged on my leggings, pulling them up to chest height. I think the height created the illusion that my legs were longer, or so I told myself, but it produced the feared miserable case of camel toe and created a numbing chill between my legs. I felt sorry for poor Clyde. He desperately needed a haircut. And his boys…his boys just needed a break from pleated khaki constriction and perhaps just as well, from judgmental, unimpressed women like myself.