There’s a cartoon circulating on social media that shows a middle-aged woman holding a gun on her middle-aged husband. The husband is wearing plaid shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, a golf cap and, I believe, argyle socks with sandals. The caption reads: “Remember when we were young and you told me, ‘If I ever dress like that, shoot me’?” That cartoon used to make me laugh. Lately not so much.
My husband is a wonderful person with many fine qualities with one glaring exception: he refuses to let me pick out his wardrobe. If we’re going someplace unusual, such as a nicer restaurant or a social event, he might cave but most of the time he insists on dressing himself.
“I’m not three years old,” he’ll tell me somewhat huffily when I point out that his shirt doesn’t match his pants and why doesn’t he wear that nice shirt I got him for Father’s Day? “I can dress myself, thank you very much.”
Hubby’s dressing himself wouldn’t be quite so bad if he didn’t have such a strong affection for camouflage anything and everything and his collection of camouflage pants rivals that of an Army surplus stores. Worse, he mixes his camouflage collection, pairing shirts featuring one pattern with pants featuring another.
“I bet when we walk down the street no one can see me,” he’ll proudly state on our daily jaunts with our dog. “My woodland camo blocks out my bottom half and my tiger camo takes out the top. It must look like you’re walking by yourself.”
Now there’s a thought.
I’m not the only one to notice my husband’s unique style. I still cringe when I recall the time we were at a local liquor store (just browsing—not!) and the clerk, after eyeing him suspiciously, asked, “What have we got going on here?” She gestured toward his shirt that didn’t match his pants. “You’ve got one pattern there and another one there. What exactly are you going for?”
Good question. My husband, who only wanted to buy a six-pack of beer without having an inquisition from the Fashion Police, opened his mouth but nothing came out while his loyal wife snuck away as if we hadn’t come in together.
“We’re buying our beer someplace else next time,” he announced when he joined me in the parking lot a few minutes later. “Did you hear that kid? For her information, there’s no such thing as too much camo and you can’t overdo it. Sheesh, young people!”
Once upon a time I tried to change my spouse from someone who shopped out of an All Camo All the Time catalog to someone who occasionally looked in a mirror. I decided to attempt this change after reading an article once about a man who was such an extreme clothes horse that he spent upwards of $150,000 a year on his wardrobe. The article went into great detail about his cashmere sweater collection, his many fine watches and his temperature controlled walk-in closet that had more square feet than our house.
As I read about his annual shopping sprees to New York my eyes strayed to my own husband, comfortable in his recliner and clad in (of course) camo pants and a T-shirt featuring Elvis on his final concert tour. Hmmm, I wondered what if…but how?
I started by squirreling away the majority of his clothes and followed that up with my own shopping spree where I chose several tasteful mainly beige non-camouflage outfits for him. The tasteful beige outfits went into his side of the closet and then there was nothing I could do but wait for him to discover them.
And waited and waited but the khakis and polos I’d bought remained wrinkle free on their hangers. I wasn’t sure if he simply hadn’t noticed his new clothes or if he was being just as passive-aggressive as I was being.
Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. We were going out to dinner and he emerged from the bedroom in his usual garb. The straw that broke this camel’s back was the camouflage cap he’d added, a touch that made him look like a movie extra on The Dirty Dozen.
“I bought you new clothes,” I told him through gritted teeth. “Why don’t you wear them?”
My husband smiled his truly engaging smile. “I saw them but they’re all beige. You know I’m not a beige person. It’s so boring. Let’s go. I’m starving.”
He’s right about that: he is most definitely not a beige person.