Collaborate2011

Granny Mansion Moment #12: Boyfriends – Alexandra Susan

In Alexandra Susan, nonfiction, photography on July 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm

While Granny Mansion is something of a sorority house, a few men do hang around every so often. Aside from the occasional doctor or plumber, my dad, and Mrs Fruehauf’s sons, our other male visitors are mostly just boyfriends—mine, my sister’s, and Sophie’s.

My guy, Steve, is the bee’s knees. Heidi’s boyf Ben is also great, but Sophie’s boyfriend is a bit of a loser and we’re trying to get her to break it off with him. He’s a short, hunched over, greasy Romanian man who must be about 30 years younger than she is, and I don’t think their relationship is romantic. I see him come over on some Saturday afternoons, and Sophie tells me they sit at her kitchen table drinking cans of Budwieser. I have no idea what else they do, as she locks her door every time he’s here.

Once when I was gardening, I was after a trowel and knew she had one in her apartment. So I knocked on her door asking for it, but she refused to let me in—she actually started yelling at me to go away and leave her and her boyfriend alone. I tried explaining through the closed door that I just needed her to hand me the trowel, but she still refused to unlock the door. So I gave up and returned to the garden, only to see her, minutes later, quickly crack open her back window, chuck the trowel on the ground, and then slam the window shut.

Sophie may just enjoy the company of this man as a friend, or maybe she has feelings of affection toward him, but she does still go on dates at the Klubhaus with other men. And every time she meets one of my male friends she gets all vaclempt and giggly like a teenage girl. She’ll always be curious about them in the days after, and ask me questions like “Is dat fat boy mit dat nice hair gonna come over tomorrow?”

From all I’ve seen and heard, she’s always enjoyed spending time around men. But I get the feeling Mrs Fruehauf hates all men ever—many years ago she left her husband to raise her boys on her own because the man had trouble with a bottle, and she had no time for that. Olga is indifferent to men I think—her only real concerns about them are whether they speak German and whether they have beards. She loves German speakers, and she’s got a real problem with beards. My great grandmother did as well—I’ll never forget her constantly encouraging my mother to cut off my father’s beard in the middle of the night while he was sleeping.

Whenever Olga has an interaction with Steve, she always stares up at him with eyes intensely fixed on his beard. Often without words, she’ll start swiping the side of her face with her hand in a gesture to indicate that he needs to have a shave. Also, when the three of us are having conversations about other topics like groceries, the news, or the garden, she’ll interject to rattle off names and directions to old Ridgewood barbershops that she thinks he should visit, proving that through the whole chat she’s been dwelling on his beard.

But she’s been warming up to him quite a bit lately, as she’s now learning something that makes her very happy—he’s another person she can bully into doing the garbage.

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  1. How come Grandma has all these boyfriends and I can’t find even one????

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