The way Lorelai sees it is: where's the fun in married life if you can't periodically screw with the head of the man to whom you're bound for all eternity?
That's love, baby.
"Luke. Are you seeing this??"
"I'm seeing it."
"Uh, no. If you were seeing this, then you would see that this--" She pauses, does some Vanna White arms-- "obviously has Lorelai Gilmore written all over it."
'This' is a shower curtain covered in cartoon hippos with really big eyes. The eyes of some hippos who have been dabbling with some illegal substances. (As hippos do.) Just between you and her, Lorelai's not really that into it. She is not the same woman who once fell in love at first sight with what her mother christened a "semi-pornographic, leering monkey lamp." She's got higher standards for her semi-pornographic interior design decisions these days. But. The hippos have 'Luke will freak in the face of us!' written aaaall over 'em. She has to at least tease him with the horrifying possibility of a life where this dwells in their bathroom.
"You know what," Luke says then, with this appraising little nod, "yeah. I can see it."
WHAT. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah," Luke says, so unflappable that it makes Lorelai want to yell out Flap, damn it!, except that sounds weird and kind of pervy and might get her committed. "Let's get it."
"Ooo," Lorelai says, "kay."
It's the last thing she sees at night (not counting Luke). It's the first thing she sees in the morning (not counting Luke). Stumbling blearily into consciousness -- horrendous, caffeineless consciousness -- is hard enough. But the hippos? The hippos and their eyes??
"It sounds like a Yellow Wallpaper situation," Rory says authoritatively on the other end of the line.
"Pfft! I wish!"
"Not actual yellow wallpaper. The Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story? With the postpartem depression and the faces under the wallpaper and so then the poor narrator just goes completely out of her mind--"
"Yeah, yeah. Were there big-eyed cartoon hippos?"
"Well," Rory says, "no."
"Then I don't want to hear about her problems. No wait. 'Problems.' That's better. Did you hear my air quotes?"
"You know, you could just tell Luke--"
"What? Give in?? Admit that he caught me in my own trap? No thanks."
"Well, then," Rory says airily, "I guess it's hippos for you."
"I totally get how my mother feels about me right now," Lorelai announces. Rory laughs -- which, for the record, only intensifies that special feeling.
So, Luke, how 'bout them hippos, Lorelai does not start, oh, any of their conversations with. But she thinks about it. A lot. One morning, she invites him into the shower with her, fully intent upon spurning his advances at the last moment on account of the hippos are watching (that'll show 'im), but he just points out that they're both running late and it's probably not the best idea. She gets back at him for that one by jumping him as soon as she gets out of the shower.
As far as revenge goes: A+.
But even the giddy thrill of inconveniently timed morning sex (that results in arriving at work twenty minutes late and a little too smiley, thus moving Michel to the most epically condescending of eyerolls) can't last for long. You can't sex away the shower curtain from hell. Believe her, if you could, she would totally try.
Paul Anka likes it. He takes to sitting in the bathroom for hours, staring up at the hippos with quaint fascination.
"Betrayer," Lorelai sneers at him. He throws a pitying glance her way. Like she needs it.
Her parents come over for dinner, because Friday Night Dinners have evolved into a two-way street (or ... something; she's not really clear on how this happened), and Emily compliments her on how the house is looking. Lorelai believes the phrase is 'it actually looks like a place a functional adult might inhabit.' She doesn't say it, but it's obvious that she thinks Luke is responsible for that. Oh, Mother. If only you knew. And then -- a lightbulb goes off in her brain. A lightbulb wearing little red devil horns.
"Mom," Lorelai says, "just wait until you see the upstairs bathroom."
And so Emily goes on up to inspect it -- after, of course, giving Lorelai a brief but piercing lecture on how inappropriate it is to mention your upstairs bathroom to guests, even the kind of guests that at one point in time carried you around in their body (okay, Lorelai added that part). Lorelai waits downstairs at the kitchen table with her dad and Luke. One corner of Luke's mouth looks suspiciously twitchy. And then--
"Oh, dear God," Lorelai can hear, all the way from upstairs.
"Your mom sure liked the shower curtain," Luke observes wryly, later when it's just the two of them, and dish-washing time.
"Lucas Danes," Lorelai says, tossing aside a dishrag, "do you mean to tell me that this was all an elaborate ruse to repulse and horrify my mother? Because if so--" She takes a few seconds to contemplate, then decides, "--worth it."
"Don't call me Lucas," is what she gets back. But the corner of his mouth is totally doing that thing again.
"So really," Lorelai continues, "this week from hell was all a sick, elaborate scheme to gain my favor in the greatest way possible, a.k.a., by striking horror, fear, and disappointment into my mother's heart?"
"It's a shower curtain. It curtains the shower. What's the big deal if it's got hippos on it or not?"
"Flap, damn you!" She swats him on the shoulder.
"Nothing," she says mercifully, steering him away from the sink and towards her. "C'mere, you."
"I had a dream last night," he murmurs against her mouth after a minute or two, and somehow Lorelai just knows that this is not going to a sexy place -- and, sure enough, yep -- "where they all came out of the shower curtain. And Kirk was their leader. Like some kind of hippo pied piper."
"Hah!" Lorelai cries triumphantly, pulling away and prodding him in the chest. "I knew I wasn't the only one suffering at its hands! Folds! Whatever shower curtains have!"
"He'd dance," Luke recounts, his eyes looking a little glazed over with numbing anguish, "and then the hippos would dance after him. And do some of those little heel clicks -- do hippos even have heels?"
"Are you critiquing your dream for factual accuracy?" Lorelai asks fondly.
"It was terrible. The mental image followed me around all day. When Kirk came into the diner, I kept checking to make sure there wasn't a hippo parade behind him."
"Well, you know what that means," she says, looping her arms around his shoulders again. "We just have to get you some new mental images. Better ones. Ones where Kirk has minimal-to-no involvement."
Luke smiles that smile that still gets her all weak-knees-and-butterflies. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah," Lorelai says in her best seductress' tones. She leans in, in, in, and breathes, "Have I ever mentioned that I've got a semi-pornographic, leering monkey lamp stashed somewhere around here?"
"Of course you do," Luke says, sighing the sigh of the long-suffering husband, and kisses her.