Friday, March 18, 2005

Maria's Oprah Drawer

My wife Maria loves her "Oprah Drawer."

An Oprah Drawer is for women only, though I don't really know why it should be.

For those of you who don't know, an Oprah Drawer is a spare drawer in a bureau or chest that a woman commandeers for stashing her loot - odds and ends of things she buys in the mall or when out and about, or receives as gifts. It's not for ordinary things, but rather for things she really likes, way down in her secret heart.

And it's all brand-new.

The reason for the Oprah Drawer is to replace the givingness of an attentive husband. It was invented by Oprah Winfrey, who, as we all know, has no husband to give her sweet, intimate loot of the kind that women like. Besides, most men are not sensitive enough to what titillates a woman's fantasies and fancies, so they would never be competent, unless they are gay, to buy the right loot for that drawer.

So, the woman buys it herself, stashes it, and then when she's feeling ignored, diminished, ill-treated, down, blue, lost and isolated in the universe, or specially deserving for, she treats herself to a pre-known gift from that special drawer. Suddenly, her day is brighter, her night more romantic, and a smile graces her inner heart of hearts. She knows she is loved and dear to someone - herself. And, she knows something else: she really doesn't need a man to bring her little gifts that lift her spirits and make her happy.

Leave it to a filthy-rich single black female super-TV-Daytime-Talk-Show-Star to come up with such a gimmick.

I have to admit the Oprah Drawer is practical. It's great for a woman to stash received gifts she won't use right away. It's wonderful to know a gift is handy if the husband or boyfriend forgets to buy her one. And it serves the woman well when she's too rushed to go out and buy a gift for another woman.

There is a certain diplomacy and politic associated with the Oprah Drawer. It's perfectly okay for a man to look in it and see what's there. It might give him gift ideas by showing him what not to buy for the woman. It's considered "bad form" for a man to sneak a gift from the drawer and hand it to her as though he just bought it. But hey, it's not such a bad idea, if you can get away with it.

Since I'm a man, I don't feel a bit jealous of the booty Maria keeps in her Oprah drawer, nor of the fact that she didn't commandeer and stock with loot an Oprah drawer for me. Men aren't that interested in that kind of drawer. And, making an Oprah Drawer is an individual's own responsibility because no one will do it for you.

Besides, men far prefer to have sharpened knives, oiled and cleaned guns, ammunition, trinkets and doodads from the past, old pre-marriage wallets with the condom imprint in the worn, misshapen leather, some wrist watches that are too good to throw and too old to give away, a deck of cards or dice he used to gamble with, a little humidor with a few prized cigars he might get to smoke on the back porch when the wife's not around, or a smutty photo or two from an old flame to remind him he used to be really attractive to women.

Men might prefer it, but they almost never commandeer a whole drawer for such things, not as long as there's a woman in charge of the household. Instead, they rathole their loot in the back of their underwear or sock drawer, at the back of the nightstand drawer, high up on a closet shelf the wife's not likely to reach, or in a special trunk or cardboard box tucked away in the attic, basement, garage, or tool shed. If men have loot, it is in an out-of-the-way place, away from the wife's prying fingers and scrutinous, judgmental eyes. For men know the wife's likely to snatch, toss, or "lose" the man's cherished booty, especially if she sees it every time she opens a drawer that's as boldly comandeered as her Oprah Drawer.

Back to the subject, Maria's Oprah Drawer (I just looked) is loaded to the brim, and I fully expect her to commandeer another as a companion to the first one. On a cursory look, I found several glossy Victoria's Secret gift bags, some designer soap I bought for her at a craft show, a whole stack of t-shirts, a bottle of perfume, a teddy bear bean bag, an address book with a cover made from a giant leaf, and an assortment of tidy bundles in plastic, tissue, or bags of some kind that I didn't have the patience to explore. Oh, and I caught a glimpse of the red Chinese brocade jewelry pouch I made for her. Bottom line, the drawer has lots of nice things in it, as it should have.

Frankly, I'm glad Maria has an Oprah Drawer, and I recommend it for all women. It's an extension of her "nesting" nature, and it does nurture her as much as anything inanimate can. Plus, I love to see the look of serene contentment on her face when she treats herself to something from the Oprah Drawer. I notice that sometimes when I'm busy with something that does not interest her, she goes back into the guest room and reorganizes the drawer, carefully removing everything, laying it out on the bed, grouping the items, unwrapping them, feeling them, smelling them, occasionally showing an item to me with a happy smile on her face, and then just as carefully re-wrapping, organizing, and snugly stashing her loot back in her Oprah Drawer.

Oprah Drawer. It's a good thing.

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