Tuesday, February 14, 2017

True Love in the Stacks

[I found the piece below in a pile of old newspapers I was about to put in the recycling bin. It sounds like it might have come from the NY Times Sunday Style section, but I can't be sure. Thought it would be nice to share.]

Sylvester Slacktraps had been browsing through the book Painting the Nude: Light, Angle, Detail  for only 20 minutes in Hank's We Got Books when his life changed forever.

That's when Lavinia Nipfast accidentally brushed his back on her way out of the Arts and Painting aisle, and Sylvester recalls being "so blown away" by the sight of her that he quickly "crammed the book about nudes any old place." 

"It's funny how I was looking at nudes for purely educational purposes, but when I looked up at Lavinia, I didn't picture her nude, but in a wedding gown," Sylvester remembers. "I actually told her that, and I'll never forget what she said: 'That's ironic.'"

Dr. Nipfast, who has a PhD in geography (her dissertation, "Distance on Our Planet: How Far Away Is Stuff?", will be published in book form just in time for the travel season), was immediately "swept off [her] feet" by Mr. Slacktraps.

"I didn't think I would ever find a man who enjoyed high culture and appreciated the beauty of art," Dr. Nipfast said. "Men are typically so boorish, so testosterone driven, but Sylvester is a whole different kettle of fish. He's more sophisticated and sensitive than most males. He sees women's beauty purely in aesthetic terms, not solely as some primal biological feature that urges males to propagate the species and pass on their personalized DNA information."

Dr. Nipfast added, "I truly believe Sylvester doesn't even know the meaning of 'patriarchal oppression'."

After their initial meeting at Hank's, the young couple "talked each other's ears off" as, hand in hand, they strolled by the few remaining stores in the once booming Sunshine Plaza, sharing their respective ideas about the kinds of shops they would open "if [they] ever win the lottery."

Dr. Nipfast, daughter of Secky Nipfast Banetti of Dubuque, Iowa, and Milburn Nipfast of Bethesda, Maryland; and the stepdaughter of Sylvio Banetti and Charlene Hammersmith Banetti of Greenfield, Massachusetts, and Sherona Nipfast, also of Bethesda; said she felt her "life had no focus till that special day at the bookstore." 

"Finally I have purpose in my life and someone with whom to share that purpose, someone to listen and understand," she said. "I've found my voice and I need it to be heard. I have to share my narrative! Sylvester understands my needs, and he tells me almost daily that he looks forward to listening to them when we have more time."

Dr. Nipfast and Mr. Slacktraps often return to the revered setting of their "origin story," as the bride-to-be calls it, where Mr. Slacktraps quickly retreats to the art section to continue his rigorous study of painting nudes, while Dr. Nipfast thumbs through books with topics ranging from latitudes to longitudes, from the exports of Paraguay to the imports of Uruguay. 

Mr. Slacktraps, a 28-year old who has eschewed the dating scene since a painful breakup in 10th grade, said there was something "cool about Lavinia." She was someone, he added, "I could definitely see myself spending the rest of my life with -- or 'with whom I could spend the rest of my life,' as she would say."

The son of Elwina and Herby Slacktraps of Adel, Georgia, Mr. Slacktraps was educated at Adel (pronounced AY-del) High in his hometown, then applied to Cook County Community College (CCCC) planning to major in Vehicle Maintenance while specializing in windshield- wiper installation and adjustment. 

He has yet to hear back from the CCCC admissions office, but he is "still holding out hope. I believe dreams can come true, no matter how far-fetched they are," he said.

Dr. Nipfast earned her bachelor's degree at Cornell, her master's at Princeton, her doctorate at Stanford.

The happy couple exchanged vows in the Holy Mother of God and Precious Red Blood of Our Risen Savior Full Gospel Church in Adel, with the Reverend Frederick "Sloppy" Chipson and his lovely wife Darlene Marie conducting the service.

Dr. Nipfast, a lapsed Episcopalian, says she has embraced Mr. Slacktraps more "earthy" approach to Christianity, and especially enjoys the occasional potluck "dinner on the ground" and those upbeat Sunday evening services when select members of the congregation are possessed by "Tickle Angels," an event, Dr. Nipfast noted, that began well before the legalization of medical marijuana.

[Just before going to press, we learned that Dr. Nipfast and Mr. Slacktraps have broken off their engagement. Dr. Nipfast cited her fiance's "disturbing tendencies,"  "limited interests," and "short attention span." Mr. Slacktraps said he "wasn't quite ready to settle down with one woman, and all the domestic [stuff] that goes with such a relationship."

Furthermore, he has "saved his dream of working with windshield wipers for a 'rainy day,'" and is now employed part time as a salesperson at Rest Your Soles, which specializes in ladies' footwear.]

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