We have all had someone lean in close and whisper to us, “You’re fly is undone”. We immediately turn toward the wall and reach down to fix the problem. Our face flushes as we remember that we’ve worn our pale pink underwear, and it has been on full display for at least the last half hour since we used the restroom and Jeanie in accounting never even bothered to say anything when we walked past her desk. You’d think it would be considered a common courtesy to tell a person about their open zipper. It’s up there with spinach in the teeth, breast milk nipple seepage, and a toilet paper trail.
At first I was mad at Jeanie. Really mad. And not just because of the zipper, but because I think she took my Neil Diamond coffee mug from the kitchen, because I can’t find it (and I’ve looked everywhere). But then I realized it wasn’t Jeanie that I should be upset with. It was my zipper.
I trusted that zipper. I relied on that zipper. I purchased those trousers because the zipper looked sturdy, and here it was letting me down, literally. It’s not even that the zipper is broken either. I could replace a broken zipper. It’s that it’s a slippy little zipper. It refuses to stay shut, just like Jeanie’s mouth after one of her “hot dates” with Mark from payroll. I think they have gone for drinks after work twice. It’s not like they’re official.
Then again, a zipper is really just two sides of metal or plastic teeth that are fastened together with the help of a Y-shaped channel. It is a temporary measure to join two pieces together, and can be unfastened just as easily if you move the channel in the opposite direction. So why should we trust it? It’s definitely not failsafe, but neither is birth control.
There are special airtight zippers that were developed by NASA to fasten their space suits. They are supposed to retain air pressure in the suit, or the wearer will die in the vacuum that is space. In this particular case, someone saying “X Y Z” (or “Examine your zipper”) would be an unfortunate prelude to death.
But it doesn’t just happen with zippers. I’ve also had a few incidents with buttons. I’ve been in a deep and meaningful water cooler conversations with someone of the opposite sex (Mark from payroll) about the new season of “Lost” when I feel a little gust of air rush through my blouse and I look down and see one of my blouse buttons is undone. I discretely point out that my button is open and ask him if he snuck a peek at my new black Victoria Secret push-up bra. Thankfully, Mark is a gentleman and excuses himself to finish his photocopies. But, talk about embarrassing.