Middle-aged man earns right to dress himself – for now

My wife hates the way I dress. The shirts and ties I wear to work are okay (just okay, nothing fantastic), but the clothes I wear in more casual circumstances will not do. The shade of my blue jeans is not right; I wear my shirt tucked in when all the hip older gentlemen are leaving theirs out; and having pants that fit just right is no excuse not to wear a belt. I didn’t know this, but holding your britches up is only one of the reasons to wear a belt, and probably not the primary one.

I’m a country boy, and I dress like it. I wear clothes to be clothed. Warmth, comfort, and hiding my shame are my concerns when it comes to wardrobe. I developed a dislike for clothes shopping early in life and have honored that dislike to this very day, which is why I tend to wear an article until it is no longer comfortable or has quit hiding the more disturbing views of my shame.

I grew up being told to tuck in my shirt. That was how you made yourself look respectable. After many years, I finally learned to do this routinely and figured I was set, as far as managing the transition between shirt and pants. I was wrong. Tucking your shirt in no longer makes you respectable, as I interpret the messages I’m getting. It makes you look like an old man who still dresses like a little boy. It also shows off that gaping faux pas where your superfluous belt should be.

I can’t help it if I become a Social Media Influencer in my Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes. (Image: Russell Lee)

My wife grew up in a completely opposite world. She came from the affluent suburbs, where people didn’t have the social freedom to dress like farmers. While I was dodging cow patties, she was dodging the societal pitfalls of matching the wrong top with her shoes. The poor girl had to spend her spare time accessorizing. The closest I ever came to that was finding a pair of matching socks. I’m not saying I did that every day, but I had my debonair moments.

Whenever my shame starts to feel a breeze I reluctantly go out and buy something modern. I don’t make a point to show my new garments to my wife, but she always notices them. I know she’s noticed when she says, “I wish you would just let me shop for you.” This doesn’t always come off sounding like the compliment she means it to be, but I can usually dig down to the loving sentiment beneath it all.

The last time I wore a new outfit, it caught her off guard. She looked at me and let out, “Oh, you look so nice!” before she realized I was wearing new clothes that I’d bought for myself. She had to concede I’d dressed myself like a grown up, but not perfectly so. “Now we just need to get you into a nice pair of Sperrys,” she added.

I think those might be shoes.

In Hell everybody wears a onesie

They sure do make some awfully cute onesies these days. It’s almost a shame that I hate onesies so much. Specifically, I hate the little metal snaps at the bottom of every onesie. I could do diaper changes in my sleep, which is when I am often called upon to do them, if not for those little, metal blood pressure spikes at tail of the onesie.

onesie

Cute, in a soul-crushing sort of way.

Usually, I reserve my disdain for objects that are ineffective. I hate onesie snaps exactly because of their maddening effectiveness. Or maybe I’m tugging at them all wrong, because I often struggle to get those little bastards to come apart. We have numerous onesies with tears in the cloth around the snaps caused by my incompetent tugging.

This alone would inspire only a moderate hatred, but the snaps aren’t done taunting me. Having finally unsnapped them and handled the diaper business, I have one hell of a time snapping them together again. My toils are exasperated because we’re blessed with yet another baby who hates diaper changes. As a service to him, and to me, I try to complete the procedure as quickly as possible. They say haste makes waste, but in reality it was the baby who made the waste, and he did it in a very deliberate fashion. Haste makes me fumble with those damned snaps until the baby is whipped into a frenzy of bicycle kicks. Dodging a windmill of feet doesn’t simplify the task.

The other night, my wife’s lovely voice called me out of my sleep. She was nursing New Baby in the rocking chair. “Sorry. I forgot to change him before I started to feed him,” she said. “Can you change him while he’s eating so he can go right to sleep when he’s done?”

You shouldn’t have to apologize for forgetting anything at 3 a.m. But you shouldn’t have to deal with the snaps from hell either.

We have a video monitor in our room that we once used to keep an eye on the other boys at night. We’ve lost interest in what they do in the dark, so we use it only as a soft light source when we get up with New Baby.

In the weak light, with one eye closed, I did battle with baby snaps on my wife’s lap. At the end, I couldn’t get them lined up right, but two one out of three would hold until morning. I went into the bathroom for two seconds to wash my hands.

good enough

That oughta hold ‘im.

On my way back to bed, I was startled by the most egregious report that ever issued from a baby’s bottom. (I would spell the sound phonetically, but there aren’t enough letter sounds in the English language to do it justice.) I jumped as if someone had fired a pistol beside my head.

Oh God! This one was bound to be nasty!

On the bright side, it was another chance to get all three snaps lined up.