This article contains what I hope will be taken as affectionate references to book makers (I don’t think I could be called bookie-ist) and gay men (a quote). Also, I apologise to Whizz for exposing his sartorial secrets.
I love my husband. I stuck with him even though he turned up on our first date in a crumpled linen jacket with mismatched shirt and trousers. In general, I am not particularly bothered about how my men dress – but there are limits.
Once we knew one another better, I felt confident enough to explain some simple rules about colour. Whizz responded by telling me (as if he needed to) that he had no idea about clothes; they didn’t matter to him as long as they were comfortable. This is a very sensible attitude, unless your colleagues at work make remarks such as, ‘Your mummy didn’t dress you this morning, did she?’ and, ‘That shirt makes my eyes bleed.’
As an example of my darling husband’s colour sense, he once asked me if I would wash his green trousers so he could wear them to a meeting. Under normal circumstances, he would have done this himself, but he was pushed for time.
‘Which green trousers,’ I asked.
‘The ones I wore yesterday.’
‘I don’t think you have any green trousers,’ I replied, remembering his colour propensity and picturing him in an unlikely emerald green.
He ran upstairs and returned holding up a pair of mid-grey trousers.
If I were his mum, which you might think, reading this, that I am, I would never let Whizz shop on his own without detailed instructions. Clothing renewal only occurs if he is nudged, or should the item he is wearing fall apart. Fortunately, he is ‘Man at M&S’, so errors can be rectified (keep struggling on M&S; we need you). He can be trusted to replace his favourite trousers with very similar ones; shirts are safe provided he follows guidelines, but once, he came home, very pleased with himself, having bought two jackets – one, a violent check that made him look like a bookie (In the unlikely event that a book maker is reading this, I intend no offence.) The second jacket was the colour of squit; Hideous. He was so pleased with them; I didn’t have the heart to deflate him.
I watched him hang them in the wardrobe, and after that, each time he put one on and asked me if he looked OK (he did now recognise the need to ask), I would gently guide him to an alternative. Eventually, he forgot about the turdy and the bookie jackets, and I quietly dispatched them to a charity shop. You probably think this says more about me than him. I suppose it does, but please believe me, this is a small part of our lives together. Clothes in our house last an awfully long time.
There are favourite shirts, usually the ones that need ironing (deep sigh). One, he calls his ‘three course shirt’ because it is generous at the front, others are: the eye-bleeding one and many with bold checks. Fortunately, because I am not an ironing kind of woman, most of these languish at the bottom of the laundry basket, awaiting attention. I have, over the years, bought him non-iron cotton shirts from his favourite shop, so there is always one ready to wear. It removes the need for tedious ironing – an attitude that demonstrates my own casual approach to clothing.
Eventually, when his garb was no longer garbage, this too was noticed at work. One day a workmate looked at him, did a double take and asked, ‘Have you got a gay man at home helping you to dress?’
I must have done a good job.