Sometimes, a seemingly insignificant event shows you exactly where you stand. This happened to me Sunday as I dressed for church.
As a male in my late forties, fashion eludes me. I could lie and say that I used to be on top of the latest trends, but photographic evidence would sell me out. Even though I see the genius of old-man high-waist pants and I yearn for the day when Sansabelt makes a comeback, I keep those opinions to myself and try to blend in. That’s my wheelhouse and my fashion goal – Not Standing Out. NSO makes me feel like I can make the women in my life happy.
NSO starts with the purchase decisions. The women weren’t there for buying of the kilt, two dozen Hawaiian shirts, or impact ties and the aforementioned items are strictly verboten. I still keep them in my closet, but if I want to wear them I have to low-crawl out of the house to escape notice. (Low-crawling in a properly worn kilt can cause distinctive carpet burns.) Most of my purchases get disgusted looks and upturned noses from the daughters. Every once in a while I get raised shoulders and an ambivalent “meh” – which I interpret to mean I have struck fashion gold. I live for a “meh”.
I actually got an extremely rare reaction to a recent purchase of flip-flops. For the first time, I shied away from the orthopedic kind that mold to the insoles to your feet. Despite their heavenly comfort, I never see supermodels wear those. This time I actually ordered some trendy flip flops and got the highest compliment given a young women to her father… “nice”.
Which leads me to Sunday.
While I would have bought my wedding tux at Goodwill and my finest suits and TJ Maxx or Ross, I won’t compromise on blue jeans. It’s Levi’s 501 buttonflys until I die… and maybe after. The good news is, my casket outfit is half chosen. Maybe add one of my favorite Hawaiian shirts and let me rest. But I digress…
I had my 501’s on and since I got a “nice”, I thought maybe my new flip-flops could make a trip to church. Boy was I wrong.
Like a seven year-old, I am always forced to stand inspection before we go out in public:
√ No visible dirt
√ Pants sans food stains
√ Acceptably neat appearance
√ Hair groomed (if not – the spit-comb)
That’s when they saw my spiffy combo: flip-flops and blue jeans.
There were two discernible and distinct reactions.
- My Lovely Wife – shook her head, made the ever-so-common deflating basketball sound, and muttered something to herself as she went to prepare her morning tea.
- My Daughters – “Nice” turned to an emphatic “Uh, no” as they looked at me in disgust.
All agreed that I couldn’t pull off flip-flops and blue jeans and sent me to my closet to change one or the other. And that is when I discovered where I stand.
- My wife who has endured my brand of genius for nearly twenty-four years is resigned to who I am and lets me stay around anyway. That’s pretty cool.
- My starry-eyed daughters see a modicum of hope that with coaching they can make me a better man. Naïve fools! Still, at least they see potential beneath the crusty layers of bad clothing and are willing to chisel away.
So that’s where I stand. And, all in all, it’s pretty good footing.