This morning, after my Mac computer class at the Apple store, I met my better half at the Mall so that she could pick out something for me to wear to the class reunion. Sher picks out most of my clothes because it's our firm belief that the only thing that I should be allowed to dress is a salad or a turkey. There are some that might say that I AM a turkey, but that's besides the point. So, off to the Men's Wearhouse we went. I told Sher to run interference, because I do so little shopping for myself that these salespeople could sell me a sackcloth for $300.00, tell me I look great, and send me on my merry way.
Now, I must tell you that I really have an aversion to spending money on myself. After all of those years working outside, I really am, after all, a jeans and teeshirt guy, and I don't believe in buying a lot of things for me. I so conditioned myself to buying for kids, and they making Sher look good, that anything over $25.00 for me seems way too much.
We were met at the door by my 'Consultant', Mark, who assured me that I was in his very capable hands. I was immediately positive that his hands would be in my pocket, taking money out in large handfulls. I told him that I had this 45th reunion to go to and that I needed to look at least 'Presentable'.. which, after quitting smoking and immediately gaining 35+ pounds, what going to be a very hard task. Mark assured us that it would not be a problem and asked what size I thought I wore. I told him that, at this point, I was a small and large... small in height, large in waist. Sher had decided that we would go with Evening Casual. So, off to the sports jackets. He pulled out a beautiful leather jacket out and asked me if I wanted to go cowboy. For a moment, I drifted back to my days of watching Hoppy on TV and thought 'Hmmm... I wonder if it comes with a cowboy hat?'. I snapped back to reality when Sher said, 'I don't thinks so'. We went through a couple of more choices, each one increasingly more expensive, until he found one that Sher thought was acceptable. I was getting dizzy looking at the price tag, which was more than I usually spend on clothes for the whole year. The jacket is OK, if not my taste. It's a subdued greenish color with small checks. Very conservative. My taste usually runs to mobster pinstripes, but I think those days are past me now... at least I hope that they are. Mark was salivating carrying on a snappy banter which I was totally ignoring. Next came the pants. He measured my waste, or lack of one, and when he told me what I had ballooned up to, I had to grab the counter for support. (I was seriously thinking of running out and buying a pack of cigarettes, smoking the whole thing, and hoping that those extra pounds would disappear). They picked out a pair of pants that was just shade lighter than the jacket. Next, came the shoes (They have it all covered in Mens Wearhouse, they want to insure that you don't leave with any of the cash that you came in with). Mark, just about floating on air at this point, picked out a pair of stylish brown dress shoes to complement the pants and the jacket. Very nice, very expensive. Next came a shirt. Mark wanted to put me in a standard dress shirt, but Sher had already decided that it should be a mock turtleneck of some kind. For 20 minutes, they argued over what color I should wear. My daughter, Paulette, had joined us at this point. Sher was looking for blue, but there was nothing in my size. Mark suggested orange, perhaps thinking that I kind of resembled a deranged pumpkin.... we all vetoed that choice, much to his dismay. Paulette and I thought that an off white would be the best choice. We finally won out. Mark started to show me belts, but I told him that I had the belts covered. We started getting everything together and Mark said "You know, the belt really should match the shoes". We reminded him that I was wearing this mock turtleneck, and that it was worn out of the pants. Mark looked crushed, and said "Oh, I was really enjoying you company and wanted this to continue for a while longer". I said "In that case, you should be paying US!" Sher sad ''Good one, Hon".
The high point of my visit was the tailor, a Paisano by the name of 'Sal'. This was like a blast from the past, a good Italian tailor from the other side! He assured me all would be ready by Friday. He also said 'Don't'a put on a anymore weight, or the jackets'a not gonna fit!' Thanks, Sal, I needed that. They totalled up my purchases, Mark grinning like the Cheshire Cat. With what we spent, I could support a small third world country for a year. I kissed Sher and Paulette goodbye and left them to their quest of finding something for Sher to wear. I drove home in a fog, my head spinning from the high cost of looking 'Presentable'. I should have decided to buy another pair of jeans and a really good tee shirt!
Now, I'm sitting here and drinking coffee, wondering if maybe I should have just stayed home on Saturday, opened up a good bottle of wine, and stayed away from the reunion, as I did from school, all those years ago. It certainly would have been the 'John' thing to do.