Recently I got fitted for a new suit, because it's been a while since I've had a small Laotian man grapple the inside of my trousers.
I never KNOW I need new clothes until this is pointed out by quality control.
"I just looked in your closet. You need new clothes," my wife says, disgustedly.
"What? My clothes are fine," I reply. "They're the same ones I've had for years."
"Exactly. They're old and out of style."
"So are some of your relatives. Are they next on your list of Things To Get Rid Of? Do I need to call and warn them?"
"I've gone through them and thrown a lot away."
"Thrown them away? At least donate them to Goodwill or some place where men are in need of stylish outerwear!"
"That would be embarrassing for me and insulting to those searching for quality clothes. You're a grown-up. You need to dress like one."
"Honey, you realize I'm watching Phineas and Ferb and drinking a juice box right now, right?"
When it's clear I'm not making any progress using my flawless logic, it's at this point I usually protest like a teenage girl arguing about curfew.
Me: "WHY?" I ask, stomping my foot. "This is so stupid!"
Wife: "You NEED nicer clothes."
Me: "I do noooot! STEVE'S wife doesn't think HE needs new clothes."
Wife: "That's because Steve doesn't dress like a homeless person from the 1990s."
Me: "Hey! Those are NICE Zumba pants."
Wife: "I can't believe you wore those to my cousin's wedding."
Me: "What? They're black! Black is classy."
Wife: "They're white with black STRIPES. AND they have holes in them. You looked like a battered zebra for God's sake."
Me: "YOU'RE a battered zebra!"
When I enter a clothing store I fold my arms and put on my best scowl that says: "You don't want me here. I don't want to be here. Let's just get this over with as quickly and painlessly as possible."
My guidelines as it related to clothing has been, "Hey, I haven't bought a blue shirt in awhile." Then I buy the first blue shirt I see on a mannequin. I figure they wouldn't have put it on display if it weren't a GOOD blue shirt.
To date, my biggest fashion achievement has been an uncanny ability to inadvertently tear buttons off shirts or sport coats and then never fix them (because I'm a MAN and I don't need to know how to sew. My mind is too full of MAN STUFF, like car MPG, hammer facts and the like).
It's not that I have poor fashion sense as much as my total and complete lack of caring. I really need the future to get here soon so I can start working on a starship where everybody wears a solid-color jumpsuit every day.
Whenever I started dating someone, I'd immediately provide an excuse for my fashion sense.
"I'm color blind," I'd lie.
"Are you sure you're not regular blind?" they'd reply, checking out my green corduroy pants and not remotely the same color green polo.
That comment got old after the first three girlfriends.
This was the first time in many years I had been to a "men's" clothing store and was appalled at the lack of beer and bikini-clad women telling me how sexy I looked. It looked suspiciously like a ladies' clothing store only with fewer headless torsos with breasts.
As I was being fitted for the suit I didn't need, I struck up conversation with the tailor to fill the silence.
"The one hard-and-fast rule I've always been told is never to wear brown and black together," I said, expertly, while trying to make myself taller and more broad-chested.
"Well, to be honest, the trend is now moving towards wearing brown WITH black," he replied.
I kinda feel bad about slapping the guy.
That was the ONE thing I knew and he took it away from me.
After the fitting, they had laid out all kinds of dress shirts with matching ties to go with the suit; and by "they" I mean, of course, the magic clothes-matching gnomes, who are the only ones that know how to do this.
"Do you see how the subtle blues in this tie brings out the brown in the shirt and coat?" he asked, like this was a real conversation two men should be having.
"Of course," I lied. "You'd be an idiot not to see that. And there aren't any idiots here; just a couple of bros, one of which has felt the inside of the other's thigh and that's still not weird, ha ha."
"What about this fashion piece?" he asked, seductively, holding up a brown, flimsy piece of leather with a silver magnetic clasp while considering what model hot tub he'd be purchasing with this one sale.
"Fashion piece?" I chortled. "I can't buy something called a fashio-hang on a second. That's pretty cool."
"It also comes in black."
"Will that match these cufflinks?"
"Of course," I replied in agreement, laughing. Who needs to eat? When people see how fantastic I look, I can probably walk into any bowling alley and take a bite out of anybody's pizza and they'd be grateful.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via message sewn into his slacks. Follow him on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll iron wrinkles into all your pants.