January 2000 Sincerely Sire Newsletter

Dress Code

Rosemarie (Roe) and I went to Palm Springs just before Christmas. Roe went shopping while I stayed in the hotel room and watched TV. She returned just as she had left, dressed to the "T," already to go out to dinner and perhaps (the dreaded) dancing. She had on a leather jacket, shiny leather pants, hair all done nice, jewelry, etc. Iíve got to admit, she looked great. I was supposed to be ready to leave at 6 p.m. which I wasóor so I thought. "Letís go" I said, ready to walk out the door. But she took a step back and just glared at me (believe me, sheís got a knack for it). After a perfectly timed pause she says "Look at yourself." Then she says, "Look at me." Another pause/glare and then she belts out "YOU-ARE-WITH-ME."- - - I had already looked at her, so I looked at myself. T-shirt (nice one), brown shorts that hitched just above my bellybutton with pant legs that came down to just above my knees, white gym socks pulled up to just below my knees (kneecaps protruding like a couple of old door knobs), Nike tennis shoes (older, but no holes).

I took another look at Celine Dion slapping her hip over in the corner. I looked at me. Ah ha, so she wasnít impressed with my evening attire. Needless to say, since I was going to BE WITH HER as she had so succinctly put it, I dressed up in the best clothes I had (which at least covered my kneecaps) and saved the evening. (Well, not really, we got into another big fight about where to eat. Seems she doesnít like me asking how much dinners cost when thereís no prices on the menu.)

When I was much younger, about thirty years ago, I used to think us older gentlemen didnít know how to dress cool. But now that Iím 50 I know thatís not true, no, thatís not true at all; I know how to dress cool, but when Iím not at work, I just donít care what I look like that much. In fact sometimes I enjoy looking a little dorky. Like this longtime-married friend of mine named Tyrone whoís ten years older than me. He has a square forehead and stands about 6 feet 6 inches tall. He wears shorts like me but with big black surfer sandals and long black socks. He looks like Frankenstein and loves it. Heís comfortable. Iíll take comfortable over cool every time, especially after 25 years of marriage. I mean itís not like Iím out there trying to dazzle the ladies. I already did that and look where it got me.

This dinner thing with Roe reminded me of the time we were leaving to go to church on a Saturday evening. I was dressed the same way then too. We hadnít been to church in a while so this was kind of a big deal. So, Roe hits me with the glare and says, "Youíre going to church like that!?" Then she stutters because sheís so mad she canít get the words out, but finally says, "I Ė I wouldnít take you to Carlís Jr. dressed like that!" The funny part is we got in such a big fight we didnít go to church that night, but a week later, I got all dressed up and we did go to church, and you know whatónearly every single guy there was dressed exactly like I had been dressed the week before. Iím not kidding. My friend Tim hadnít even shaved and he and his wife sat right next to us. I wanted to say something to Roe like, "See I told you so, look at all these guys," but Iíve learned over the past few decades Iím a lot better off keeping my mouth shut and my head down.

Some months ago I read an article in the LA Times about a study that was done on 130 married couples over a period of 6 years. I saved that article and I quote from it now: "Husbands, forget all that psychobabble about Ďactive listeningí and Ďvalidation.í If you want your marriage to last a long time, the newest advice from psychologists is quite simple: Be willing to do what your wife says." Amen.

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