CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN,
I got dressed for work the other day and secretly put on the
spanking new dress shoes and glistening new dress shirt I had purchased all
by myself the day before. I then walked into the kitchen and paraded in
front of my wife.
"Check it out," I said, with as much confidence as I
could muster, directing her eyes first to my new shirt, and then to my new
shoes. "What do you think?"
Bursting out laughing was not the reaction I was hoping
for. "You've got to be kidding," she chortled. "Those shoes
Damn. "What about my new shirt? You always said I
looked good in blue."
"That's not blue, it's purple," she replied, still
chortling. "Can't you tell the difference?"
She's known me for 40 years. She knows I'm color blind,
or at least red-green blind, which apparently includes purple. I guess she
just enjoys making fun of people with disabilities.
I slunk into a chair, thoroughly defeated. I was so proud
of myself, finding that shirt on sale at Macy's for $19.95, and then
snagging a pair of comfortable shoes for $89.95. I was sure I had finally
become a certified clothes-horse.
But I had failed again. Like every other piece of fashion
I had ever bought for myself, it would have to be returned.
"I give up," I whispered. "You keep saying
you want me to dress better. I tried, and all you do is laugh at me."
She came over to me, perhaps finally realizing that my
disability prevented me from any chance of success. Patting me on the head,
she said she would take me shopping herself.
I reluctantly agreed, primarily because I really needed a
new pair of shoes since my 7 year old Florsheim Comfortechs were flapping in
places they weren't supposed to flap.
"If you want to look good, you have to spend the
money," she explained as we headed to Nordstroms that very same
evening. "A $19.95 purple shirt is going to look like a $19.95 purple
I disagreed, but I also didn't say anything. I was
resigned to doing what I was told because I was tired of being laughed at.
I'd let her pick the style and the colors. If she did the choosing, she
"$225.00 FOR A PAIR OF PANTS?" I cried as she
handed me her first selection. "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?"
She picked out two more styles and then pushed me towards
the dressing room while simultaneously grabbing $95 shirts on her way. I
thought of escaping but didn't like the look on her face. It wouldn't be
"My body's not built to wear clothes," I
protested. "I'm too bulky. I'll never look good, no matter the price.
You can't put lipstick on a pig."
She plucked a $65 belt off a rack as she pretended to
listen. "I want to be a Communist Chinese peasant," I whined.
"Or Steve Jobs, with jeans and a black shirt. Or Hugh Hefner, wearing
pajamas all day. We're just wasting good money. PLEASE, NOOOO!"
One good shove and I was in the dressing room, the door
slamming behind me, my wife's voice coming from the other side. "Try
the pants on, one at a time, and then come out and the tailor will measure
you for alterations."
"The alterations had better BE FREE!" I
shouted, showing I still had a little fight left in me.
She ignored me. Defeated, I quietly took off my battered
Hyundai of khakis and slipped into the Mercedes of pants. I just hoped they
were a nice color.
"Very nice," my wife said as I stepped outside
the dressing room and the tailor pounced on me. "You look like a
That was reassuring, although most grown-ups aren't
sulking when trying on pants, like I was. But I gallantly slapped my credit
card on the counter when it came time to pay.
"You're such a big boy," my wife cooed as we
walked back to the car. "There may be hope for you yet."
I wasn't so sure. Someone still had to match colors for
me every day, and we didn't have time to look at expensive, uncomfortable
shoes. My Florsheim Comfortechs would live to see another day. Thankfully.