Suiting yourself is never the best option l Chuck's World
Last updated 9/19/2018 at Noon
My wife doesn’t care much for my birthday, which doesn’t bother me at all. It bothers her, which I think is really her problem.
My birthday just makes her nervous, because I’m so volatile and unpredictable. If I’m upset, I’m liable to do some crazy stuff, like stomp out of the room and wash dishes for no reason. You want to stay out of my way.
And there was one birthday just one, I swear when afterwards I expressed a little disappointment, felt a little ignored, and there are any number of mistakes you can make in long relationships but honesty is definitely at the top of the list, trust me.
So she just fusses a lot. She doesn’t really understand birthdays, I think, the way I don’t really understand wild rice. We all have blind spots.
This year, then, after weeks of panic (I assume), she bought me a gift certificate to a store where I could pick out a new suit. This would not be a store you will find at the mall, although it was definitely in a mall, but I think you understand.
A really nice store, where one apparently buys a really nice suit.
Apparently at some point in the past, I expressed a desire, a wish, a random thought, a wisp of a notion. This had to do with a new suit, since I haven’t had one of those in a long time. If you narrow the definition of “suit,” we could extend that time frame to “never.”
I’m just not that guy. The suit guy.
I’ve been working at home since I was 30. I wear a tie maybe three times a year, one of those times being Halloween. Huge discoveries have been made in physics, seven new countries have been established, many birthdays have passed, and the entirety of “Breaking Bad” occurred since the last time I polished my one decent pair of shoes.
You get the picture.
I’m not a slob, because a slob would, I assume, have a little self-respect. I’m a comfort dresser, finding clothing most useful when it keeps me warm and doesn’t scare the cat (who definitely doesn’t care for my underwear, for some weird cat reason).
When I have to go out in public, my wardrobe choices tend toward clean and mostly the same color. Could all be the same color, fine.
I was happy to get a new suit, though, since I’m generally a happy guy these days and, of course, I had absolutely no choice. My wife and I wandered east to Bellevue, then, and walked into a very strange store.
For one thing, it was very colorful. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Willy Wonka working in the back. Apparently I’ve been out of the fashion game long enough for several new shades of fuchsia to be invented.
For another, we were the oldest people in the place by several centuries. In the first few minutes, we were approached by several salespeople informing us that restrooms were for customers only.
Eventually they left us alone to wander the aisles, which by the way did not look anything like normal aisles. The different sections of the store seemed to be arranged by either whim, chance or body temperature.
Finding what I was theoretically looking for was like being dropped in the middle of a Costco warehouse and being asked to find salt.
There were coats matched with pants that seemed to come from another store in a slightly different universe. There were socks that cost more than a couple of new tires. There was a collection of shirts that apparently didn’t get the fuchsia memo and opted for color schemes that resembled the aftermath of a very bad microwave accident.
And there was a rack of beautiful ties that, on further thought, might have just been ironic.
I ended up with a nice suit, though, thanks to my wife’s lack of intimidation and the fact that she wasn’t going to wear any of this. It’s sort of blue.
And the salespeople ended up being warm and helpful, as soon as they grasped the situation, which was that they were helping grandpa play dress-up. I could have pitched “Hip Eye For The Old Guy” to a cable network and sold the pilot before I handed over my credit card.
It was entertaining, at least.
The teenager assisting me clucked and fussed over everything, tugging and adjusting gently in case, I assume, one of my arms accidentally fell off in the process or he inadvertently disconnected my pacemaker.
I tried on dozens of pants, all of which seemed to fit the same but it seemed necessary, and my wife popped into the dressing room at any number of inopportune moments, risking psychological trauma to any stray cats in the vicinity or just, you know, humans.
Still, I walked out with a nice suit, a fancy set of duds, perhaps a bit young for me but hey, I’m not dead yet. We’ve got a dressy thing coming up in a month, and I’m all set.
I just need one of those fuchsia ties. It’s close enough to Halloween that I think I can pull this off, and then that suit can go back in the closet, where it can suit-shame everybody else.
And if you’re wondering what I look like in my birthday suit, you should know that I wrote this entire column just to make that joke.
I’m really sorry.