One night, many years ago, the mom of an old boyfriend told me that she hated the off-white pants her husband was wearing. To me, they were just pleated pants, but to her they were the enemy. It wasn’t uncommon that I looked to this woman for advice, so I figured I‘d seize the opportunity. One day I might need to know: What do you do if your husband wears something that you REALLY don’t like? I mean, I know we’re supposed to love and accept them for who they are, but come on…we have to BE with them.
So, what do you do?
She took me aside and quietly revealed that whenever her husband wears an item that she deems hideous, she saves herself a potentially hurtful and argumentative conversation by secretly taking the garment and doing a “a little something” to blemish it. Nothing big or obvious, just a little something.
For instance, with regard to the off-white offenders, she waited until her husband was out of the pants (and out of the room) and she laid them on the bed. Then, armed with a wand of mascara, she took a deep breath and very carefully placed a teeny weeny black dot right next to the crotch area. It was a small dot, but on off-white, it stuck out like a Jewish girl in a Lily Pulitzer store.
To me, she was brilliant. The tiny black dot was just obvious enough to ruin the look of the pants, but in no way did it incrimate her as the desecrator. It was brilliant and I have never forgotten it.
And I would use it on my own husband—if I thought it would work.
My problem is this: In a million years my husband “Cody” wouldn’t A) notice or B) care.
Once, before we were married, I went to visit Cody at Camp (he owns an overnight camp for kids in Northern Michigan) and because he was still “woo’ing” me, he would actually leave Camp without me begging, pleading or threatening him—and we would go out for a nice dinner somewhere other than the mess hall.
One night, when I emerged from the bathroom, ready to go, I saw Cody waiting all dressed and proud of himself. He was wearing jeans and a jean jacket. (You can re-read that sentence a million times but it’s never going to change. You read it right the first time). My husband, who I love very much, thought it would be OK to wear jeans and a jean jacket together, in public, even though it wasn’t 1985.
Well, he was wrong.
I tried to think of a tactful way to tell him that there was no way that he was wearing that ensemble out of the cabin, but I had to come up with a way of saying it that wouldn’t hurt his feelings—and I think I did a good job. I said: Cody, there is no way you are wearing that out of the cabin.
He looked at me incredulously and said: What’s wrong with it?
And because he was serious, I knew there was no explanation that would make any sense to him so I simply said: NO.
He grumbled a bit about how I was “crazy” and then he said something about how the jean jacket was “so awesome.” Eventually, though, it came off.
But it wasn’t forgotten. I knew he’d try to sell me on The Jacket again and I didn’t want it to become a point of dissent in our relationship. I just wanted Jon Bon Jovi to come back and get it.
My mind went back to the “Little Black Dot” story of so many years ago, but I needed something stronger, something bolder. Cody is not like the husband of my old boyfriend’s mom. Not only would he not notice a black dot on his jacket, but even if he did, it would only make the jacket cooler to him. I needed to do something more drastic.
So I hid it.
My friend, “Nags” was up at Camp with me that particular weekend and since, upon seeing The Jacket, Nags promptly threw up most of his lunch, I knew he’d help me plot its inevitable and necessary demise. Together we found the perfect place to hide it and to this day, we have never revealed its location.
There have been a few more items of clothing over the years that I don’t love, but for the most part I keep my mouth shut. Cody either wears those pieces when I’m not around, or I let them go because even I know there are some battles that aren’t worth fighting. Besides, over the last ten years, nothing has offended me in quite the same way as The Jacket.
Enter: The Shirt.
I can’t explain exactly what it is that I vehemently dislike about The Shirt, but there is something. He has worn it three times and I loathe it so much that sometimes I flip it off (with both hands) when he’s not looking.
The Shirt physically repulses me and what’s more—The Shirt knows it, and The Shirt doesn’t care. It mocks me. He wore The Shirt to bed the other night, and The Shirt was all “Take that, wifey, I’m in your bed now,” and that was it for me.
You’re going down, Shirt. You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I have a rap sheet. Perhaps you’d like to hear a little story about a missing Jean Jacket?
And then, of course, I did what I had to do. I hid it, just like The Jacket.
What choice did I have?
It’s in a very good place and like The Jacket, I will keep the location to myself. Plus, I have no guilt because it’s not like I threw it out, it’s just…missing.
But out of respect, I’d like to say a few words in honor of The Shirt:
I never liked you, Shirt
You made me want to barf.
I would have strangled you
But I’d feel bad for the scarf.
Cody might miss you at first
But it’s better than dealing.
I didn’t want to discuss you
And risk hurting his feelings.
You thought you were staying
And I’d have to let you be.
But you got yours, didn’t you?
Don’t mess with me.
He’ll never find you
And I’d just like to say:
May you forever remain