Iron Man


I believe in love and all that stuff, but sometimes a line needs to be drawn. And it's better if that line is drawn before the wedding day. I drew that premarital line - a prenup, but no money or assets were involved. We took our vows on that special day, speaking words like "love," "honor," and "cherish." But "ironing" was purposely omitted; I did not vow to press clothes.

I liked to iron when I was a kid. I was a weird kid. As I matured, I wised up. I came to terms with wrinkles. My response to Flash’s marriage proposal was, "I don't iron." This gave him plenty of time to back out in case that was a deal breaker. Apparently, it wasn't.

Just so you know, I'm married to one of the good guys. Because he so readily helps me out around the house, I started feeling guilty about my ironing boycott. I decided to surprise him by putting crisp lines in his shirts and pants. I would speak his love language: creases. I started with shirts, since I most loathe ironing them. Then I did a few pairs of pants. I hung them back in his closet and waited for him to come home.

He came through the door, said his hellos, then changed clothes. When he returned to the living room, he noticed that our semi-permanent, early American 90's piece of furniture, the ironing board, was missing, complete with the assortment of clothes that was hanging on it that morning.

"Where's my ironing?"

I smiled broadly, so proud of my act of unconditional love. "In your closet."

"I was gonna finish that tonight..."

Flash leaves his ironing out for days on end, like it's a work of art not yet finished. Da Vinci’s painting the Mona Lisa took less time than one of Flash’s pressing sessions.

"I did it," I said, holding my breath as I waited for the most romantic scene to unfold since Jerry Maguire’s “You complete me.”

You could hear a clothespin drop. I ran to get the smelling salts, then realized we were in the 21st century, so I grabbed a dirty sock out of the laundry hamper and waved it under his nose. He came to.

Still in a zombie-like state, he shuffled his feet as I led him to our closet. I opened the sliding doors as if revealing the Holy Grail.

"See? They're all done! I used five cans of spray starch, extra steam, and hung them up according to color, and then..."

"Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at “starch.”"  

We embraced.

I was a shoo-in for Wife of the Year. I had gone against the prenup and redeemed myself for all my marriage mistakes through the years. Maybe in time, and 10,000 more sleeves, I would catch up to Flash's good deeds.

The next evening, the ironing board was back in the living room. I couldn't imagine why; I had ironed everything. Was Flash hooked and needing some kind of intervention? Would he forever observe life through the steam of that tool of torture?

Then I looked down. Hanging from the side of that board of iniquity, which was placed there to right all the wrongs of laundering, were many items I had lovingly labored over.

"What are you doing?! I already ironed those!"

"I know. I just want to press them a little more."

My head swam as his words echoed over and over in my head, and I heard the “Ree, ree, ree” sound from the shower scene in Psycho.

"What do you mean, more? I got all the wrinkles out. Didn't I do a good job?" I sounded like a pre-schooler showing off my finger painting, yearning for parental praise.

"You did a great job," he lied. "I just like crisper lines." He repeatedly hit the steam button as he pressed a sleeve.

When the fog lifted, the deepest wrinkles in the room were in my furrowed brow. I was determined to show him that I had succeeded in my efforts. My labor could not be in vain. As he walked to our closet to hang up his collared Picasso, I followed. There were still a few clothes I had ironed hanging in the closet.

"Flash, there are not any wrinkles in the clothes I ironed. They look perfect."

"Well, see," he said as he held out a shirt to show me what I missed, "like right here..."

"That looks good; no wrinkles," I said confidently.

He shone a flashlight on the scene of the crime. "Right here. You don't see that?"

Beads of sweat broke out across my forehead. "Objection! The prosecution is badgering the witness!" Then Flash pulled out a magnifying glass from his back pocket.

He hugged me in a placating way, like I didn't know any better. "You did a good job, Babe. I just like sharper creases."

Sharper? Sharper? You could cut meat with the creases down the front of his slacks. And one day last year, Cowboy went to hug his dad and accidently bumped his head on Flash's sleeve. We rushed the bleeding Cowboy to the ER, where he had 24 stitches put in.

Suddenly, and with clarity, I realized I would never live up to Flash’s wrinkle-free standards. So, I am done. My love has failed. The ironing board holds its rightful place forevermore between the couch and the dining room table. We hang ornaments on it at Christmas, and call it a buffet when company comes for dinner. My soul has returned to its normal permanent-press state, where no ironing is ever needed. And our prenup stands firm, for all eternity.