Have you ever stolen someone’s clothes?
I’m not talking about “borrowing” your sister or roommate’s blouse or their favorite pair of jeans and only returning the article of clothing after you’re caught wearing it on a Saturday night with beer spilled down the front.
I’m talking about taking clothes, lots of them, from a total stranger and getting away with it.
If you’re reading this thinking, “That sounds like an interesting challenge,” I have a pointer for you—do your laundry at a laundromat and while you’re moving the clothes from washer to dryer, unload an extra machine. No one will notice.
Including you until you get back home and realize the underwear you’re folding wouldn’t fit one of your boyfriend’s calves, let alone his thighs and butt.
It was a Saturday. My boyfriend was in the throes of Computer Development Bootcamp and as such was tired, cranky and had a mountain of unclean clothes threatening to swallow his entire room. I, being the good girlfriend who only works four times a week, offered to do it for him.
I lugged almost 50lbs of tshirts, sweatshirts, underwear, socks and sheets to the laundromat around the corner from my apartment and loaded everything into four scattered washing machines (it was a busy afternoon). I paid no attention to the other patrons and went back to my apartment.
Thirty minutes later, I came back, unloaded four washers into a basket on wheels and then moved in front of the dryer to begin the sorting/loading process.
As I was separating that which must not be dried from the rest I noticed:
– A couple pairs of swimming trunks. Hmm, I guess he swam at the Y this week.
– A red towel I hadn’t seen before. Maybe it’s just for swimming or the beach?
– A pair of red cotton shorts with little blue polo players on them. Ew. God, please tell me these aren’t new.
I loaded the clothes, shoved a bunch of quarters in the machine in hopes that a little extra drying time would shrink the polo shorts beyond salvage, and went back to my apartment. Again, I didn’t so much as glance at another person in the room.
Forty-five minutes later I came back, shoved the 50lbs of clothes back into a giant lime green laundry bag and hoofed it up the hill to my apartment. Have I mentioned what a good girlfriend I am?
I set the bag down, made lunch, watched an old episode of Rachel Maddow and then finally got around to folding the clothes. I’d folded about five pairs of underwear, two pairs of gym shorts and a couple of shirts before I noticed something strange. Trendy t-shirts.
My boyfriend doesn’t do trendy. He will wear a shirt advertising his favorite condiment before he’ll wear a v-neck with a guitar emblazoned on the front.
Maybe he’s trying to dress better?
Then I saw a bright Kelly green tank top. Not a Kelly green t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off so he feels less constrained while he works out. An actual tank top.
No way. I cannot be dating this big of a douche.
I held up a pair of underwear that would barely fit over my butt and came to the only logical conclusion.
My boyfriend has a boyfriend.
I’d barely seen him the previous two months since he’d been coding, so it was possible.
What do I do? Do I call him? Do I just lay the folded clothes out on his bed to see his reaction?
Something wasn’t sitting right.
He can’t be gay. I would have known. Right? Although, Sam has been spending the night a lot after class….
I decided to text him.
“Hey, who’s trendy t-shirts and size small underwear am I folding?”
Then it hit me. I had been so focused on what was there, that I had completely missed what wasn’t—a load full of his clothes that I know I had put in the washer.
“Shit. I think I unloaded the wrong washer.”
“Uh, glad you think it’s funny…but I’m still missing YOUR clothes.”
I hurriedly packed the stolen clothes into a paper grocery bag and ran down to the laundromat. I checked a washer that was still full, found my boyfriend’s clothes and started drying them. Then I looked around. I expected to see a small, trendy guy wearing a fedora angrily accusing the hunched Asian owner of theft. But no one was there except three foreign backpackers completely engrossed in a map.
I hesitated. I could just leave the clothes and hope that no one stole them before their owner came looking. Or I could leave a note and hope the owner comes back at all.
Or I could just do this guy a favor and give his clothes to Goodwill.
I decided to write a note, leave my phone number and then pray that a serial killer didn’t find it. Five hours later I got a voicemail.
“Hey Lauren, this is [we’ll call him Adam], the guy with the trendy underwear—haha– [I said trendy t-shirts and underwear, but whatever] and yea, I’d love to get my stuff back, so give me a ring.”
Now, it doesn’t come across when written, but the tone of his voice was definitely flirty….which made me uncomfortable since I had clearly stated in the note that I stole his clothes while doing my boyfriend’s laundry.
Maybe he thinks girls with boyfriends are hot? Or maybe he thinks I’m making it up and this is some elaborate rouse to get closer to his underthings?
Remembering the tank top I decided I was crazy and that he was just a douche, so I forgot about it till the following afternoon when he called me for a second time.
We met at the laundromat, he looked normal, I handed him his clothes, I said, “Yea, sorry again about that,” and I turned to leave.
Unfortunately, we turned in the same direction.
Well, yea, of course he lives in the neighborhood. Nothing weird there.
“Hey, no problem. I should take you for a drink sometime to say thank you for drying and folding my underwear.”
Ew, did you have to mention the underwear?
“Oh, yea, I’m flattered, but I have a boyfriend.”
“I know, you said that in the note.”
Yea. So why are you asking me out?
We were at the corner where I needed to cross the street and turn left to get to my apartment, but since he moved to cross the street, I turned left.
“Yea. Ok, so I gotta go, I’m in the middle of cooking dinner,” ugh, I look so domestic right now, “but enjoy your clothes!”
I hurried up the hill and as I crossed the street in front of my apartment, I noticed the guy unlocking a door two buildings over.