'What can we get you for your birthday, then, dad?' enquired eldest son, as we enjoyed an early, celebratory meal in a nearby pub' restaurant.
'Just a card,' replied my husband. 'I know that you haven't got much spare cash, at the moment and I don't want you to waste your money on me.'
'We will get you something, though,' said eldest son's girlfriend, 'so you might as well tell us what you'd like.'
I took advantage of the short pause in the conversation and said to my eldest son, with a wicked smile, 'Your father needs a polo shirt, without a hole in it.' My husband tutted and looked visibly annoyed for a few seconds. I wasn't surprised at my sons' subsequent reactions, as the men in my family have a habit of sticking together.
'Oh, don't tell me! Has dad been going out looking less than perfect?' said my eldest son with mock exaggeration.
'Oh, no!' joined in youngest son. 'Has dad been going out with holes in his clothes? Shock, horror!'
They laughed and I laughed, but I continued with mock haughtiness, as soon as they had quietened down, 'I never go out with holes in my clothes. I have standards. I expect the same from your father!' We all laughed once more and the conversation moved on.
I don't mind them teasing me, but there is no basis for it, because I've never been in the habit of telling my husband what to wear. In the 32 years since our marriage, in spite of having to bite my lip, on several occasions, I've only criticised the clothes that my husband has decided to wear on 2 recent occasions.
My husband has never taken much interest in clothes, but he has always found short sleeved polo shirts particularly comfortable to wear and has been an avid collector since about 1976. They are his most favoured garment. He buys new ones, but he never throws an old one away. He will wear the same polo shirt to go out, as he wore a couple of weeks before, to cut the hedge and dig the garden. Joseph's amazing old technicolour dreamcoat could have been inspired by the myriad of colours in his collection and, if I laid them end to end, they would probably go twice around the earth's circumference. 2 of them have been the proud recipients of a telegram from the Queen.
It doesn't matter if they are faded, shrunken and stiff from age, or misshapen, they remain as beautiful to him, as the day he first set eyes on them. I sometimes wonder whether it is the same soft focus vision, which has stopped him swapping me for a younger model. I may give my own optician the boot and start visiting his.
A few months ago, my husband and I were going out for the day and I noticed that the polo shirt he was wearing had a small hole in it. When I pointed it out, he looked irritated, but went off to change it. The next time he did the same thing, I didn't say anything, as we were only going to the shops, but, after that occasion, I stopped ironing his very old polo shirts, in the hope that it would persuade him to keep them for working around the house.
The next time I noticed him donning one of his old, creased polo shirts, I pointed out that I was no longer ironing those particular shirts, because they were too scruffy and I suggested that he should buy a couple of new ones to keep solely for going out. After the conversation in the pub' a couple of nights ago, I'm relieved to say that he has finally taken the hint and we are going polo shirt shopping at the weekend! Yay! We know how to live!
I don't care how much I am teased about my attitude, I won't be changing my opinion. I don't have many clothes, these days and I am often to be found in jeans, but my clothes are always ironed, clean and respectable. I wear old clothes around the house and for gardening etc, but I keep some decent clothes for going out. I never look scruffy, when I go out with my husband and I expect the same standards from him.
What about you? What's your opinion? Do you think that I've made too much fuss about a hole in a shirt? Would you object if your husband wanted to go out with holes in his clothes, where it wasn't fashionable to have them? Do you try to look smart, when going out, or do you not think it's so important, nowadays?
A good bit of gossip
13 hours ago