It was Saturday night and we were going to a party at a friend’s house. I had been preoccupied figuring out what I was going to wear, making the appetizer and wrapping the hostess gift, that I didn’t give Boo too much thought.
He came into the bedroom fresh from his shower and started to get dressed. When I walked out of the bathroom I saw him standing there dressed and ready to go. “Are you going to wear that?” I asked.
Boo stood perfectly still and with a deer in the headlights look said, “I don’t know, am I?”
“Here,” I said. “Try this shirt and change belts. OK?”
This scenario has gone on for years. I thought he was dressing in mix-matched clothes and frayed pants just to mess with me until finally one day after I announced,
“Boo! You can’t wear that.”
He shot back with, “Yes, I can and I will. Why do you wait until I’m already dressed and then tell me I’m all wrong?”
He had had enough of my foolishness.
“If you want me to dress a certain way, just set it out for me,” he said. I really thought he was just being obstinate or trying to make a point with his clothing choices, but nothing was farther from the truth. He really doesn’t care what he wears and he can’t tell if it matches.
I felt terrible. I had been scolding him like a petulant child and I really didn’t want to do that.
He told me in earnest that if I wanted him to look a certain way all I had to do was just set it out and he’d put it on.
“After all,” he said. “You buy my clothes, so it’s kind of your fault if I look bad.” While I appreciate his willingness to dress for success, I’m not responsible for some of his older, funkier shirts and shorts. Nonetheless, we embarked on a new plan of action.
If I care, I take responsibility. If I want him to look a certain way, I pick out his clothes. On vacations where I care, like on a cruise, for example, I iron his shorts and pack for him, like a kid going to camp. Shorts, shirts, underwear, socks all in neat stacks. If he’s going to visit his brother or go with guy friends somewhere, I let go and let Boo choose his outfit. Sometimes he surprises me and looks adorable, but mostly it’s clean but wrinkled shorts, a shirt with stains and tennis shoes.
I have to let it go because he has agreed to let me have my way. One by one certain shirts have mysteriously disappeared and been replaced with new ones. Occasionally he will dress and demand his right to wear what he considers “OK.” I do feel like he is becoming a snappier dresser and now that he has a few go-to outfits, I give more compliments and fewer critiques.
I’m trying to keep my mouth closed and not ask the question that has no right answer, “Are you going to wear that?” Now, what about that underwear…..