the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Purple Bathrobe


This morning, I wore a purple bathrobe. It is not a new bathrobe. I’ve had it since college. It is old and worn bathrobe. It wasn’t even originally my bathrobe. It was the bathrobe of this girl who lived on my college dormitory floor.

I was infatuated with this girl. But she liked somebody else. Just like an old song. Despite it all, we became platonic “friends,” although I kept on wishing for it to be otherwise.
She owned two matching bathrobes, one green and one purple. She let me wear the purple bathrobe. She wore the green bathrobe. Sometimes we would wear our matching bathrobes when we would walk over to our co-ed, but individual, shower stalls. We would sing while showering.

When we graduated, she told me I could keep the purple bathrobe.

For another year, I thought of her whenever I wore the bathrobe. Time passed, and I thought about her less and less. We completely lost touch, as happens after college.

I kept the bathrobe. Whenever I moved, I moved it with me. Today, I keep it in the bedroom closet. Even Sophia sometimes wears the purple bathrobe. Sophia has never heard the story of the girl and the purple bathrobe… until now.

I don’t wear the bathrobe very frequently, but I wore it today, because it was cold.

I like my purple bathrobe. It doesn’t remind me of the girl anymore. It does remind me of times gone by.

So, I keep it.


  1. Bice

    It’s a visual reminder that the older you get the more worn and threadbare you’re memory gets. Eventually the memories will simply disintegrate in your hands.

  2. Danny

    Co-ed shower stalls?? Where did you go to school, the University of Gomorrah?

  3. littlepurplecow

    Purple… the color of royalty. A robe fit for a Rose King.

  4. this waitress

    Yes, I, too want to know how I missed out on co-ed shower stalls. We had dorm monitors (poor fellows) that would periodically police the bathrooms, just to catch a stray boy attempting to “co-ed it,” if you will.

  5. Neil

    Oh, maybe I need to change the wording. They were individual showers, so you were next to the opposite sex, but couldn’t see anything unless you looked over the top. Which I never did.

    Danny, bet you can’t wait to send Leah to college now!

  6. Mr. Fabulous

    You are such a sensitive guy. I think I love you.

  7. Rhea

    Do you think the origins of the purple bathrobe is gonna go over OK with Sophia? I guess we’ll have to tune in tomorrow to find out.

  8. The Cynical Girl

    I don’t have anything from my college boyfriend. He took our books, I kept the cat. All in all, it was a fair agreement.

  9. Rick

    I missed out on the co-ed showers, but I knew a girl who had matching condoms… one green and one purple. They don’t hold up as well.

  10. margaret

    I love my bathrobe too..

  11. Brooke

    This was lovely. Really. Well done.

    Also, I answered your Dave Brubeck question in my comments.

  12. peefer

    but I wore it today, because it was cold

    I also recommend jeans and a shirt. You know, stuff like clothing.

  13. jleeody

    My bathrobe is a see thru plastic tarp.
    It’s very durable.
    And sexy as hell.

    But when it comes to warmth… It is a bit lacking.

  14. Two Roads

    What Not to Wear will be calling you soon!

    We had co-ed dorms but single sex bath areas. Those liberal Californians. I knew I went to school on the wrong coast. 🙂

  15. Two Roads

    Here’s the link:

    Go fill out the application. WNTW will be in San Diego soon so you can take a trip to visit!

  16. nyr

    Purple is a difficult color to wear, but for people who wear it well, it is stunning. I am sure you wear it well,even as a bathrobe, lovely post.

  17. justrun

    Awww, I have a sweatshirt with almost the very same story. Aren’t old, ratty clothes great? 🙂

  18. Heather B.

    I’m all for nostalgia, reminiscing and good old introspection.

  19. leezer

    I love the purple bathrobe. Sometimes we have to keep things just for sentimental reasons. I still have my husband’s navy blue v-neck sweater he wore when he worked at a golf course in high school. He wore that sweater all the time when we first met (in high school) and it still has his smell on it. I would save that sweater first in a fire.

    Lovely post.

  20. Churlita

    You know I love the nostalgia posts more than anyone… But I read your later post first and now all I can think of, is Sophia reading this and saying, “Boring.” This has become a humor post again.

  21. better safe than sorry

    yup, definitely has an awww factor. too bad the pic wasn’t you wearing the robe.

  22. Spinning Girl

    I had a crush on a boy in grade 2 who I found out was making a ball out of old chewing gum. Good thing I’m not as nostalgic as you!

  23. Denny Shane

    Very cool story…

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