Last October People magazine put out a supplementary issue called “Stars At Home!” (exclamation point theirs— also, my mom mails me her People issues when she finishes reading them, so it’s not like I picked up the magazine because the cover promised a look at Audrina Patridge’s bedroom, just so we’re straight here) and a photograph inside froze me in my celebrity home inspection tracks.
It was of Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman— an action shot. He is in his L.A. wood shop sanding the bottom of a canoe that he has built. A finished, gleaming canoe hangs upside down above his head, the different tones of the wood like Hershey syrup running through a chocolate milk river. Nick slightly squints down at the hand that is doing the sanding, full of determination. He will get the bottom of that canoe smoother than a baby’s ass, after that baby’s ass has been extensively dermabrasioned. His other hand rests gently on the curve of the boat, cupping it like a tree’s breast. Wood chips lay on his hair, the tips of his beard bristle, his blue shirt, his arm hairs like moon dust. Safety goggles wait atop his head, but they look nearly identical to my favorite Ralph Lauren shield aviators that Brent makes fun of me for wearing, saying that I look like a space fly. So in this one picture not only is Nick Offerman the very image of rugged masculinity, of a deeper passion that dwarfs everything that is flimsy and unrewarding about Hollywood, but he is also validating my preference of protective eyewear. And for all those reasons, he is my Boyfriend of the Week.
I bet when he gets into bed at night, he smells like a cedar cabin on a warm summer night. I bet his wife, Megan Mullally, smells like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, or at least that’s how I’m going to keep it in my head. Their bed? A four-poster he built, the columns sturdy and intricately carved with pivotal scenes from his boyhood, like the time he domesticated a lone wolf with one devastating look from his sad, soulful blue eyes, securing its lifelong loyalty and undying friendship, and the time he helped a beaver build a dam by chopping wood with his bare hands (I don’t know that any of this actually happened, just so we’re straight again).
Brent likes to remind me that once he built a house. This was back in Arkansas, so before I first set foot in the state, I was picturing something with a knotted front porch, a brick chimney for cold winters, a pitched, shingled roof, some sassafras trees growing outside, although I’m not totally sure that I know what sassafras trees look like. All I know is they sound amazingly Southern— like I can imagine someone’s grandma telling him to go drink his jug of moonshine under the old sassafras tree. I might have also been picturing a door like on a Hobbit hole.
When Brent finally took me around to that house last summer (I think “took me around” sounds Southern too), I was pretty surprised to pull up to a suburban tract home with a square of lawn and no porch. No porch! But where does the ageless grandmammy of the family rock in her chair and brush the bottom of her long braid, you ask? Well, I guess the family just dumps her in the Whirlpool tub that Brent installed in the bathroom and lets her steep in there until it’s time for bed. Where do the kids drink their jugs of moonshine? In a ceramic tiled kitchen like the rest of us yuppie scum.
And while the Arkansas house may not offer the same folksy charms as an Offerman canoe (or jewelry box), the fact remains that my real boyfriend built a workable residence. And that is still hot. As my friend Molly pointed out this week when I mentioned Brent’s construction abilities, “Well then you should DEF stick with him if there’s ever an apocalypse. Those are skills we’ll need the most in our new world.” I just hope if it gets to the point where he needs to guide me as we build a shelter together, it goes better than the time he tried to guide me as we put together the unassembled bed frame we bought at Mathis Brothers. Because we almost broke up over that.