Scot walked in, took one look at the spiral staircase that piroutted up to the loft bedroom and the only bathroom, and he started to sweat. He unpegged his blue dufflecoat. Above the collar of his white buttoned-down shirt, Scot had knotted a shiny yellow and green scarf around his neck, something Mildred Monterosso might have worn over hair curlers. It wasn't an ascot; it was sportier than that, tomboyish, a neckerchief that made you think of bobby socks and Doris Day and the butch glamour of those platinum blondes who starred in movies with Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, and James Dean--actors who became famous for their smouldering looks, which was the popular way of saying Doris worked liked a wet blanket on their passions.
You're a decent person. You're among friends. What do you say to a boy in a neckerchief?
Sam didn't say anything. He had a policy of not embarrassing Scot in public.
I didn't say anything. I had a policy of not embarrassing Sam in public, and after we'd planted Mildred's bulbs and showered, I had inspected Scot's bedroom for neatness, and Sam was supposed to approve Scot's outfit for the evening.
Joan and Greg didn't say anything, either. Joan had a policy: When other people's kids do something bad or humiliating in public, you pretend not to notice. It is just as rewarding to gloat later on, in private.
Besides, Hank was cranky.
Robert and Danny were in the worst position. This was their first physical encounter with Scot, which for most people turned into an encounter session with themselves. You wanted to laugh, only you didn't want to be the person who laughed at the girlie boy. You figured he wanted to be noticed, to be complimented in his attire, only you knew that was not really the history of your own fashion disasters; you yourself had once worn that flashy silk shirt with the large, floppy collar, and you'd kept your coat on at the party.
That was just the first split second in the atomic reaction.
--Breakfast with Scot, Michael Downing, (71)