Premium Lovers


It’s Saturday. Praise cheeses! I am desperate to blow off a little steam. My friend Simone and her husband are hosting a “stupid t shirt” party later tonight, and it think it will be a lot of fun. It is a pretty great idea, if you think about it. Everyone will have a conversation starter draped across his chest.

Todd is presently wearing a “Coors Light – The Silver Bullet” t shirt, and I am going to pretend he has it on because he remembered about Simone’s party, though to be honest, he may just be wearing it in earnest because he thinks it is awesome. I have decided to wear the cheesy t shirt pictured (having forgotten to pick up a black, wolves-howling-at-the-moon shirt at the gas station as I’d originally planned). What I’d really like to get my hands on/chest in, though, is the t shirt my mom had back when I was in junior high; the one she wore for working out.

My parents ran an auto insurance agency when I was growing up. They often went to conventions and returned home with arm-loads of marketing paraphernalia from insurance companies. Coffee mugs. Magnets. Calenders.

One year my mom was given a t shirt that said “Insurance Salesman’s Wives Make Premium Lovers,” and she wore it! She put it on one day before taking a walk. I remember it like yesterday’s nightmare.

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” I demanded to know. “Not out of the house?”

Mom looked down and kind of laughed. She proceeded to explain to me what an insurance premium was. The message on the shirt was a play on words. It was suppose to be funny, she said. I assure you that I didn’t find it funny in the slightest.

At that age I was learning on an intellectual level (and with no frame of reference, no schema) what a “lover” was. What sex was. What it meant about my mom and dad, who had been parents twice over.

I called Mom this week and asked her if she remembered that shirt. She was mortified. She said “barely.” She thinks she may have worn it once on a walk, if that. She is sure she threw it away when she discovered how much I hated it. She had only worn it because it was the only t shirt she owned. She didn’t want to get a nice work blouse sweaty. That is her recollection.

The way I remember it, Mom told me that she was a grown woman, thank you very much. It was not my place to tell her what to wear (and I will have to check with my psychoanalyst to be sure, but I think this was the same year that Dad drove me to school in the El Camino rather than the Toyota specifically because it made me indignant). Those parents of mine. Quite the character-builders.

In my memory, Mom marched out the front door and took the long way around the neighborhood to announce, by way of wardrobe, her sexual prowess. Every child from school, every girl turning cartwheels in the from yard, every boy riding his bike down the street, surely saw her pear-shaped silhouette power-walking along the horizon. Every one of them must have read the shirt.

I’m so glad that junior high is behind me. Praise cheeses.


12 Comments on “Premium Lovers”

  1. As a woman that knows your mom (my sister), has a husband in the insurance industry, and has worked in middle school and knows very well the emotional levels of that age group, and remembers the two-toned (light blue, dark blue) El Camino (your dad bought it from a friend of Barry’s), I can say this gave me a good laugh. I can also confirm that your dad probably did drive you to school in that car/truck to embarrass you or at least that he got a kick out of the fact that it did irritate you. Have fun at the party.

  2. I love this! Reminds me of a t-shirt I bought at a conference for the Association for Preservation Technology. You see, my profession is historic preservation. One of the college groups were selling these shirts that said “Preservationists Make It Last Longer.” I think the double-meaning of the shirt was completely lost on me when I shelled out my $10. Needless to say, it doesn’t see the light of day very often, but my husband did request I take it along on our honeymoon!

    • Ok, that is funny, but I’m distracted by what an interesting profession you have. Give me a synopsis of your career; the version you give old women at family reunions. (I have a 113yr old home and am in the throes of a bathroom remodel- trying to make it flow with the rest of the house and avoid a remuddle.)

  3. I love the “differing” memories of that shirt you and your mom have. Parents and sex just never go together. Ever. I remember once being at at friend’s house and we found this set of “girly” mugs her dad had behind his bar…they where shaped like buxom ladies. I was totally grossed out and couldn’t ever look at him ever again.

  4. This takes me back, everything my parents did was mortifying at that age. I am sure my kids won’t feel this way about me. I mean, I’m a cool parent. I tell them all the time. And isn’t saying you’re cool the epitome of being cool???

  5. Look at those insurance companies getting all saucy with their swag! That’s impressive, given that this was years and years before Flo the Progressive girl started tarting it up! I love the idea of a cheesy shirt party. I may have to hold one of those myself.

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