My wife and I dress in separate rooms when we are going out for the evening, then we meet downstairs and give each other the once-over. We used to get dressed together, but we realized as we got older that the anticipation of what the other one would be wearing was an inexpensive way to amuse ourselves.
“So, Dick, what are you going to wear tonight?”
“I don’t know. What are you going to wear?”
“Not sure. It depends on what you wear.”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
This snappy repartee is what has kept our marriage fresh. It also prevents our dressing alike, which is creepy for people older than 50. After this exchange, we go to our separate corners and dress accordingly. We don’t know according to what, because there are no rules anymore.
I once paid $62 for a steak at St. Elmo’s, while sitting next to a guy in torn jeans, a tee shirt and a dirty baseball cap. “That is really annoying me,” I told my wife.
“You’re just in a bad mood because you got cocktail sauce on your new tie.”
But I digress. After Mary Ellen and I have each selected our attire for an evening out, we rendezvous at the bottom of the stairs at around 6 p.m. If we have to leave at 6:45, it gives us plenty of time for our pre-departure ritual. My wife asks the inevitable question. “How do I look?”
I eye her up and down. I do this subtly, because I don’t want Mary Ellen to think I’m an experienced ogler.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that it’s a dreadful combination. Maybe white capri pants (which I hate), open-toed shoes (which I despise), and huge earrings (which I find distracting). So I tell her straight to her face, “You look lovely, dear.”
That saves us about 20 minutes right there. Otherwise she would go upstairs to re-dress my grievances. I’m sure that’s an incorrect use of the term, but I wanted to make it sound like I still remember some of my American history.
Now it’s my turn. “Mary Ellen, is this sweater okay?”
“It’s fine, but do you have any dark gray pants?”
“Yes, of course. I’ll put them on.”
“How about wearing a blue shirt instead of that white one?”
“OK, I’ll go change into a blue shirt.”
“Shoes. Do you have black instead of brown?”
“Yes, sure. I can change shoes.”
“Okay, now the sweater works perfectly.”
I have to wrap up the column now. It’s about 4 p.m. and my wife and I are going to a cocktail party in an hour.
I can’t wait to see what I’m going to wear.