Monday, 17 November 2008

The Shirt With The Hole

'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?


menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Left to his own devices my husband would dress like a chav. He has just gone out in old trakkie bottoms that gathers around his ankles and a rather blousy matching top. It looks like a big effing romper suit and he looks awful in it but as he is walking the dogs around muddy fields I let him out the door looking like that. I do chose his clothes but he has gotten used to what suits him now so when he buys clothes without me around he gets it right. You are right not to tolerate the hole - that's the slippery slope for men. Before you know it they head off to the pub with a hole in the arse of their jeans and wonder why half their bum is bloody freezing!

Mean Mom said...

mob - Lol! I can't reply coherently. The images your comment brought to mind are just too funny! I'll recognise your husband when I seen him, then.

Sandra Evertson said...

Great blog! Funny post!

Maggie May said...

Yes.... I expect holey shirts to be thrown out. Shirts with holes in, not Holy shirts that is!
It is a man thing. They throw nothing away, bless them!

auntiegwen said...

I couldn't possibly comment after what I fessed up to wearing last week !

aims said...

The Man is quite a stickler for dressing properly. He won't let ME go out with holes in my clothes. I'm so wired on nerves that I often forget to pay attention and since I bum around in sweatpants day in and day out around here - I don't often think farther than that when it comes to stepping outside.

He on the other hand has to change clothes to make a dash to the grocery store for something. Can't be caught not looking as handsome as possible you know! Sweet thing that he is - sigh.....

Rose said...

My husband could care less what he wears! I secretly raid his closet every now and then and throw out the tattered shirts or give the '70's style sweaters to Good Will. He never notices:)

My children buy him new shirts every year for his birthday, but they hang in his closet. He says, "I forgot I had them." !! My daughters lay clothes out for him whenever they want him to look especially nice for one of their events. And he was such a sharp dresser when we were dating--what happened??

Mean Mom said...

sandra evertson - Thanks! Will be coming over to you shortly.

maggie may - The men in my family certainly don't like to throw anything away! I often don't stress about it, but, occasioally, I just have the urge to hire a skip and throw everything in it!

auntiegwen - Now that's crafty, because I don't remember reading about what you wore last week and I will just have to come over again and check it out!

aims - How wonderful that you don't have to bear the responsibility for how The Man is turned out, as well as yourself!

I 'bum around the house' in old stuff, covered in paint splashes and 2 sizes too big, because I don't want my best stuff ruined when I'm cleaning etc. That's fine until someone calls unexpectedly!

rose - I do very occasionally sneak his old clothes in the bin and pray that he doesn't realise. (Even the charity shops wouldn't want them!) I don't think that his memory can be as bad as I believe, however, because, every time he loses something, he eyes me suspiciously and I KNOW what he's thinking!

I have to confess that I am not as interested in clothes, as when I was younger. I wonder if it's something to do with hormones etc? ie When we're young we're often in 'I've got to be attractive to get a mate' mode, but once we're over a certain age, the hormones just aren't racing any more! Deep down we're still primitive, I think!

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

I shouldn't comment, being without a husband, but I've had both kinds. One who always dressed snappy and one who didn't give a hoot. I don't know which one is better.

I care very much about how I look in public, even if it is just to walk the dog. I dress nicely all the time and I suppose I would want my partner to care also. It isn't so much about style or fashion, as it is about being clean and proper.

I don't care for a man who is as vain as a woman, though. That would bother me a bit. A little bit a scruffiness is okay. I want to be the queen. He can be the prince, not the king.

He doesn't have to be conforming in his style of clothing. Alternative is okay. But no holes and creases and dirt. Do you, by the way, happen to know anyone like that?

Mean Mom said...

the boisterous butterfly - Of course you should comment and I would have been disappointed if you hadn't. I didn't mean to direct my questions only to those who currently have a partner.

I certainly agree about a man not being TOO concerned about appearance. That would be a bit off putting, I think. I don't think I have ever known a man like that.

I will keep a look out for the sort of man you are searching for! You never know your luck!

Suburbia said...

I think it's very important not to let things 'slip'!!

My step father used to go out with string holding up his trousers where his belt should have been. I'm sure he did it on purpose just to embaress me!

Mean Mom said...

suburbia - So do I. It's a downward slope, isn't it? String? Oh no!

Liz said...

I wear dreadfully holey tatty clothes when I'm in working-at-home mode. And of course that's the only time the neighbour sees me ...

Mean Mom said...

Liz - I wear tatty clothes around the house, too. I was cleaning in my housecoat last week, when my friend arrived, as I thought that I'd just get a few jobs done, before I showered and got dressed. Embarrassing or what?