Where I stand (Flip-Flops & Blue Jeans)

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

18 thoughts on “Where I stand (Flip-Flops & Blue Jeans)

  1. Yet another entertaining story. I have actually got where I anticipate your stories like I used to anticipate the funny papers.Yes Mark and as we get older it gets better. For me it’s overalls and t -shirts & shorts & t-shirts. Barefoot most of the time. I cannot reveal my evening attire here, let your imagination go. Just me and the wife and a throw. Men are peculiar I agree. However…..

    Much love Tom

  2. a great metaphor for love and acceptance. p.s. i am a jeans and sandals kind of woman, wear sandals from april 1-oct 31, even in the snow. my peers at school always set their calendars by this )

  3. I’d wear jeans to a White House State dinner if i could….assuming I’d ever get invited and with that fashion admission I can pretty much kiss receiving one good-bye. Keep the jeans and slip on a pair of loafers, sans socks, and you are totally good to go.

  4. Oh, I love this, Mark! I wouldn’t have a problem with the flip-flops, but then I wear them to church with a long skirt and flowy blouse. What can I say, I was a hippy in bygone days. 😉

  5. Believe it or not, if the daughters don’t give up on you, you will come around to their fashion sense. All we had was one major miracle of a daughter ~ and she rules “Dad Fashion.”

  6. You are right and they are wrong. I have no problem rocking he flip flops and jeans. The key is to wear a untucked shirt and then you might get the family’s approval. This sage advice comes from a 51 year old man. Long live flip flops and jeans. Great post Mark!

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s