Nice Skirt


Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time

“Nice skirt,” I teased my husband Brian.

He twirled from side to side causing the fabric to flare out from his legs.

He wasn’t wearing a kilt.

The weather has been unseasonably spring-like for Upstate South Carolina, (prayer does work) and Brian and I spent yesterday paddling our kayaks on a local river.

We were standing at the boat launch and Brian was trying on the new spray skirt that he received last Christmas.

A spray skirt is the fabric-like covering that seals a kayak’s cockpit from taking on water. Kayakers use them when paddling in the ocean or whitewater conditions to keep waves from coming inside of their kayaks.

Brian was using his to keep the still cold river water from dripping down his arms and into his lap when he paddled. To use a spray skirt, you must first step into it while on land and pull it up around your waist. Once you’re in the kayak, you fit the edges snuggly over the cockpit to seal it.

Since we were standing at the dock, Brian’s was around his waist but not yet attached to his kayak.

“Very funny,” he replied to my good-natured teasing.

It was a glorious day and not even quips from me were going to spoil my husband’s good time.

Years ago, when I first proposed the idea of kayaking, Brian scoffed. He was an avid mountain biker and kayaking lacked the thrills of flying down a wooded hillside on a narrow, twisting path at 30 miles an hour.

Most things do.

The “thrills” mountain biking gave me were more of the pray-and-scream-for-your-life kind. I don’t care for those.

I enjoy knowing that my hobbies aren’t going to toss me into a tree and break my bike. Or my arm.

I’m funny like that.

It took all my feminine wiles, copious wheedling and downright threats before I talked him into a kayak. His first paddle was in a Florida lagoon populated by manatees.

It was on that lagoon where Brian realized there are thrills in life that don’t involve high speeds and potential loss of limb.

Though it took prodding in the beginning, Brian soon warmed to kayaking. He’s usually the one who plans our paddles. He got into it so much he decided to sell his mountain bike to buy a kayak.

I think it’s great when a married couple can share hobbies. I’ve always thought that Brian and I play well together and it’s one of the highlights of our marriage.

He doesn’t look bad in a skirt either.


Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at