Because Of My Brother, I Always Like Men Called Tom, And That Is Why I Feel That Tom Cruise Is Letting The Side Down

Today is my brother Tom's 23rd birthday. Because of the ridiculous 13-hour time difference between Charleston and Singapore, I haven't yet been able to call him. Therefore, I figured I'd print an embarassing picture of him on the Internet instead, so everyone can see how much he resembled a turtle when he was four. And how I, apparently, was born without eyelashes. (Also, check it out, we totally have the same hair style—I guess Short Bangs Parted In The Center was a huge look in 1987. At least in whatever magazines my mother was reading.)

I can barely believe Tom is 23, because I still feel like I'm about 15, which would make him 12, which would make it 1995, which would mean I was wearing flannel shirts and Doc Marten boots with rastafarian laces TUCKED INTO SWEATPANTS, and coloring the front part of my hair with a red marker during Tuesday afternoon physics so that I looked more like Angela Chase, and....man, I'm glad he is 23, because that means I'm 26 and wearing cute pointy shoes, and sitting at a desk in an office where everyone thinks I'm working, but really I'm alternating between Online Jeopardy and BananaRepublic.com. Also, it means I am no longer listening to the Crash Test Dummies, THANK GOD.

I have done some horrible things to Tom over the years. When he was two or three, I started dressing him up in my clothes, putting his hair in pigtails, and then taking him over to the neighbor's house and introducing him as my new sister, Caroline. I'm fairly certain this continued until he was four or five, though I know at some point he requested a name change, and from then on became known as Katie. It's a miracle he's become a strapping, 6"1, well-adjusted, kind-hearted rugby player and not a self-tortured introvert who strangles kittens and wears women's underwear. He does still have a penchant for pink shirts, though. And he totally can't grow a beard.

When he was five or six, he had a little girlfriend over to play. Because I was a horrible, naughty girl (and probably a jealous big sister), I asked her if she'd like something to drink, and then instead of putting ice in her water, I put CRINKLED UP SARAN WRAP in it instead. I was honestly just trying to play a hilarious trick on her, rather than say, choke her to death, but I think I was the only one laughing. Email me, Laura Bousfield, and send me your therapy bills!

Aside from selling Tom my used Hootie & the Blowfish CD in 1996 for more than I'd paid for it, one of the most awful things I used to do to him was tease him about his teeth. Specifically, how they'd always turn orange after he'd been drinking Fanta. He also had this one little tooth---a tiny, pointy, little thing at the front, which he's since had capped---and that would turn the most orange of them all. My teasing obviously had a more profound effect on him than I'd realized: in his first year at Trinity College in Dublin, he phoned me to tell me that he'd been walking through campus one afternoon when a girl he had a crush on called his name and started running towards him. He waved, opened his mouth to say hi, and then immediately remembered that he'd had a Fanta to drink at lunch. Panicked, he clamped his hand over his mouth, cast his eyes down, and sped off quickly in the other direction. In an ideal world, he'd marry that girl and I'd tell the story at their wedding. Ah, who am I kidding? I'll probably tell it anyway.

(By the way, we're not in jail in this picture; we're on a roof in Los Angeles last summer. And I totally know my bra strap is showing. And also that I still kind of have the Short Bangs Parted In The Center thing going on, eighteen years later. Luckily for Tom, he does not.)

1
Meg
Mar 29, 2006

You two are still ridiculously attractive. I think your parents signed up for some sort of gene-altering program in the seventies to build the Perfect Child. Or one would think so, were they not just as adorable. It's sick, really.

Anyhow, enough fawning. What I wanted to say was that my roommate used to claim she DID NOT HAVE a baby brother, but rather a sister named Angela. She would not speak of Jon -- only of Angela. It kind of freaked her parents out. She only began to acknowledge him several months into his life, and then begrudgingly.

She didn't do it with baby brother number two, though, which has made Jon bitter forever. But Mark was such a cute baby! Who would want to call him Angela!

2
samantha
Mar 29, 2006

Oh, little brothers. Once you get past the whole living in the same house thing, they're really quite wonderful. Or mostly wonderful. And don't feel so bad about the terrible things you did to Tom - it's just par for the course. I lost my brother (three years old!) in TG&Y and also locked him in a closet. And couldn't get him OUT. Poor brother!

Happy birthday to Tom!

3
Éireann
Mar 29, 2006

Awww! Adorable little brother stories! Happy birthday, Tom!

Moreover, Holly you didn't happen to be in the Stone Center at UNC yesterday did you? Because I clearly totally saw you walking into a bathroom on the second floor.

I had to reassure myself that it couldn't possibly be you because you would NEVER wear brown gaucho pants. Right? PLEASE TELL ME YOU WOULD NEVER WEAR BROWN GAUCHO PANTS.

Anyway, your doppleganger is wandering around up here. Kinda freaky.

4
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 29, 2006

I WOULD NEVER WEAR BROWN GAUCHO PANTS. I would never even try them on at Target, even though I was SORELY tempted last week, pretty much because that's all they had in there.

If you see this doppelganger of mine again, please kidnap her and bring her to Charleston, so we can sit her in my office chair all day while I go shopping (no gauchos, I swear.)

5
Adele
Mar 29, 2006

Your brother is really cute - he looks like a surf dude! Don't know where I went wrong with my brother...apart from conning him out of the rest of his sweets when I'd already wolfed mine down...all the torture was on his side.

Yes my little brother once threw a garden fork into the back of my leg (where it stuck). Another time he and his lovely friends were playing in the garden. When I went out there as the lone girl they all picked up stones and started throwing them at me.

Dang it, why did I never think of calling him Petula?

6
Mir
Mar 29, 2006

Happy birthday, Tom, and yay Holly for being such a doting big sis.

Also? I know this is totally beside the point of your entry, but GIRL, I think I just figured out why your earlobe fell apart....

7
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 29, 2006

You know, I'm fairly certain those earrings WERE the culprit. They're rather OTT, aren't they? I'd just bought them that day on Melrose and was fiercely proud of them. They're actually made of a very thin material, you just can't tell. It was rather windy up there (hence the messy, bumpy ponytail) and they were swinging violently at times. Probably not good for the earlobes.

8
barbie2be
Mar 29, 2006

awww.... i wish now, that i had a little brother to torment. sadly, i am the youngest in my family and was therefore the object of many torturous events.

happy birthday, Tom!

9
jes
Mar 29, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOM!

Holly, I think this is one of your best posts. I am now going to read it over and over, not so much because it is Tom's birthday and I am obsessing over it, but moreso because I'm as demented as you when it comes to siblings, and I'm reading over all of the things I should have done to my brother, but didn't, but will begin doing this weekend.

There's no cap on my immaturity.

10
StampyDurst
Mar 29, 2006

Wow! I was always really happy being an only child. Now I feel like I really missed out. Why didn't I have a little brother to torture? I always told the dog my his parent's were gypsies that sold him for a dollar. Strangely, that never seemed to bother him.

11
lindsay
Mar 29, 2006

darn, i knew i was missing out by only having sisters! Happy Birthday brother Tom.

12
Sheryl
Mar 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Tom! Love the dynamics between siblings. One time when Will was about 1, I found Haley sitting on him, and in her defense she said "But mom! There were no chairs!"

13
Nancy
Mar 29, 2006

Just sisters, poo. Though when I was eight, I took scissors in hand and played "hair salon" with my little four year old sister. I'll never forget that horrifying sound when I cut off her beribboned ponytails. Poor Samantha cried at preschool when they thought she was a boy and mom and I had a veryserioustalk about the appropriate use of scissors.

Happy Birthday Tom! She may have been a stinkpot then, but your sister seems like a sweetheart nowadays.

14
Lori
Mar 29, 2006

Wait - you mean your brother Tom asked to be called Katie as in the famous couple about to fake a birth any day now?

And were you being literal about him not being able to grow a beard or were you referencing Cruise's professional beards AKA Katie and Penelope?

15
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 29, 2006

Ha! No, he actually CANNOT grow a beard. He probably only has to shave, like, every three weeks.

16
Gretchen
Mar 29, 2006

Good Christ, his eyes! Girls go nuts over guys with beautiful eyes. And for God's sake, Holly, could your family just stop being GORGEOUS for a minute and let us breathe? Any other breathtaking sibs you're going to whip out on us?

Crash Test Dummies -- I had totally forgotten about them! But they had Bullwinkle the Moose for a lead singer! Didn't they? He sure sounded like it.

I have to say that I adore your earrings in that photo. My hair colorist, who is English, was wearing very similar earrings today when I went in for my regular "pretend I'm not going grey at the temples" session. A lot of people couldn't pull off those earrings -- you need the right haircut and bone structure -- but they look wondrous on you.

17
dutch
Mar 30, 2006

now, after multiple viewings of freaks and geeks, your blog makes it official: I hope my little girl has a younger brother someday.

18
Susie
Mar 30, 2006

That's so crazy -- I ALSO feel the same way about people called Tom! I immediately have to like them -- with the exception of Tom Cruise, of course, though I'm sure if we fly over to Mrs Cruise's house (his mum, not the alien wife) and dig up his birth certificate, it will say his name is Brian Cruise or something like that. Ah good -- so that settles our plans for the summer!

19
kerri
Mar 30, 2006

Tom Cruise is most certainly letting the side down. But mostly he's just crazy, so all of the good and sane Toms needn't worry. Happy Birthday! to your little bro.

20
Meepers
Mar 30, 2006

Now you guys DO realize that T. Cruise's middle name is "MAPOTHER", right? That explains the craziness a little bit. Note: I did not know this, but we have a funky local video store (yup, I'm I am determined to be the last person ever to not have Netflix) that puts up the full names of each actor on "their" section.

Moving on to the Good Tom, aka your brother: Hottt! Hott! He's just darling - I've got two younger sisters (21 and 20, one blondie, one brownie) that I'd love to introduce him too - saying that there wasn't a 12 hour time difference betwen them. Its so good to see a brother and sister (and sister) who love each other so much! I love your family stories, they are so real and warm (swallows lump in throat). Thanks for sharing with us!

21
DM
Mar 30, 2006

Happy birthday to the good Tom! And yes, he is gorgeous. If only there wasn't that 12 hour time difference and a slight age gap. I'm only 16 years older than him...that's not too much, right?

I absolutely adore the stories about your family.

And yes, when I wrote that about the smart car in Portugal I was so totally thinking of Travis Stork (so totally. Can you tell that I grew up in the 80's?).

22
wordnerd
Mar 30, 2006

What a doll! Happy Birthday, Tom!

23
Irony Queen
Mar 30, 2006

Aren't little brothers the best? Sure, I used to lock mine out of the house, promising to let him in through the front door, no the patio door, no go to the garage... But more recently I let him crash on my couch. For an entire summer. (love those unpaid internships) And if any girl who is less than 5000% perfect thinks she gets to steal him away from us...woe unto her.

24
Jemima
Mar 31, 2006

Haha! His therapist bill just shot through the roof. Happy Birthday, Katie!

25
coolbeans
Apr 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Tom.

I used to tease my sister about her feet. That was stupid because I now spend over half of every shopping trip convincing her the sandals are NICE. CUTE. LOOK GOOD. SHUT UP. GAH!

Also, I've never met a Jack I didn't like.