Most often the enlightenment happens in the first year of marriage. A man begins to understand that he needs help in selecting his garb. And it’s more subtle than not wearing checkered pants with striped shirts. Your significant other shares this fact with you, not just to save her embarrassment, but to save you from yourself.
Employment, promotions, awards and social success come to those men who do not dress like a clown.
For better or worse, most of us men get some brief few years of shopping for clothes on our own. Usually those years between high school and the bonds of holy matrimony. Our mothers usually beg off as our sartorial adviser sometime during our high school years, and our wives take up the task not too long after the knot is tied.
It really sizzled me when my wife shook her head from side to side and waved me back to the dressing room without interrupting her chat with the smirking salesman.
The presence of my mother or wife giving me a thumbs up or down on various attire has always stolen my masculinity.
I couldn’t envision John Wayne taking advice on his duds from a woman. “Duke, take that off and try these on, your butt won’t look so big.” No way.
Then technology advanced to a point where men can be saved from this emasculation.
My buddy Rick pulled into a department store parking lot with me in his car.
“Rick, what’s up? Why are we stopping?” I asked.
“I need a couple of dress shirts and some slacks.” He explained that his son is getting married next month and that as father of the groom, he will be required to attend some extra nuptial events which would require some new clothes.
I was flummoxed. “Are we meeting your wife in the men’s department?”
“No,” he responded matter-of-factly.
“Has she already picked out the new clothes and you’re being fitted?”
I didn’t get it. I knew that Rick, like myself, was not allowed to make clothing selections – especially dress-up attire – without spousal supervision.
“You’re just gonna have to return the stuff to the store for a refund.” I tried to be gentle but firm.
But he ignored my warning and started pulling some shirts off the rack without any one to advise him. It was very sad.
I stepped between him and the shirt rack. This self-destructive activity had to be stopped. “Come back when Becky (his wife) can be here,” I cautioned out of brotherly love.
“She’s outta town.”
“Wait for another day.”
“We’ve waited for the 21st century,” and he handed me his cell phone and held the blue shirt up in front of his chest. “Take a picture and then push the number three button.”
I snapped the cell phone camera and did as told.
In less than a minute, Rick’s cell phone beeped with a text message.
“Read it to me,” he commanded as he picked through more shirts on the rack.
I read the text message, “NO. PICK EARTH TONES.”
“Is that Becky sending that?” I queried.
“No, Giorgio Armani,” he responded turning to another rack of shirts.
It was not Armani. He was lying.
He held up another shirt and asked me to take a photo and send it.
“Tell me what Giorgio says.”
I took another picture with the phone and sent it.
“Beep” came the response on swift electronic wings.
“NO SHORT SLEEVES. SEMI-FORMAL,” I spoke out loud.
A few times Rick was required by text message to go the dressing room and don the article of clothing in question. Then I would have to retake and send.
It took about 45 minutes until the photo shoot resulted in the final text message, “GET ONE PAIR OLIVE PANTS AND ONE PAIR TAN PANTS AND TWO OF THE ALMOND SHIRTS.”
So now Rick and I go shopping for clothes together. I operate the cell phone camera for him, and he does the same for me. There is no woman present to be chatting up the smirking salesman while waving us back to the dressing room.
We are two men who have restored our manhood. Two very modern men.