It’s time to clean out closets.
This house is 60 years old and was built when closets and bathrooms weren’t living room room-size. There are two people and four bedrooms, each with at least one closet, so we should not have a problem. We should not, but we do. Having analyzed the situation, I have located the point at issue: Dearly Beloved and his Ralph Lauren butt.
We have a running family joke about Dad with the Ralph Lauren butt and Mom and her Wal-mart butt. I didn’t mean for it to be a running joke–I said that one time when I was explaining a critical difference in our thought processes, but there’s no way the kids are going to forget about that one.
It isn’t that Dearly Beloved is a clothes horse. He hates shopping, rarely buys any, and isn’t particular about them. It’s that he never OUTGROWS them! The man is not aging properly. Oh yeah, the hair is greying and thinning (sorry, Dear, but it’s true) and he has some “maturity spots” as the dermatologist calls them, but where is the paunch? the pot belly? the beer gut? Why doesn’t he have extra chins sliding down over his shirt collars? Why do the shifting sands of time rage only in MY closet?
To add to the problem he is sentimental about clothes, saving them to remind himself of special occasions. In addition, he never, ever changes styles. . . he’s as button-down classic now as he was when we married. No leisure suits, Nehru jackets, or zoot suit disasters in HIS closet.
This morning I put all of his shirts in one closet. Suits and dress pants in another. Golf shirts in still another. Each closet is full. That way he can see the quantity, compare, and decide what he wants to keep.
My stuff is thrown on the bed; It won’t take long to go through it. I outgrow clothes at about the same rate as my grandchildren. My sands have been in a duststorm for about 30 years now. Any article of clothing is either going to be too small, too rump-sprung or gap some place it shouldn’t. Even if it survives those tests, it probably has a blob of grease or bleach spot on it. Still something in there that passed those hurdles? No doubt it’s because it’s so ugly I won’t wear it. I used to have a weakness for clearance sales.
My approach to Dearly Beloved about the closet cleaning was, as I reconsider now, um. . . indelicate.
You’re taking up too much closet space. Let’s say you’re going to have occasion to wear a suit fifty times before you die. Does it have to be a different suit every time?
In defense of my insensitivity, I’d already made the same decision about my pantyhose. I figured I don’t have fifty wearings left in this lifetime and ditched all but a few pairs. “Sunday” dresses? I’m not sure I have one. I’d have to dig deeply; pants and a blouse or sweater usually get me anywhere I’m going. Sweats and t-shirts take me through regular days.
Dearly Beloved nodded sagely as I explained my plan for putting double rods in some of the closets and how even so, it would be smart to thin out some of the things we will never wear again. He went to the bedroom and came back wearing a cashmere sweater I’d unearthed from the back of one of the closets.
“I figure I may as well get a couple of wearings out of this before I go,” he announced with a smirk. “I’ll save my two and a half wearings per year of suits so I won’t feel. . . rushed. ” He reminds me that since he wants to be cremated, he doesn’t have to count that as a wearing. “Besides, I always thought I looked good in a suit!”
He’s right about that. He DOES look good in a suit. I pondered that for awhile . . . the man still has good buns. I sought him and his cashmere sweater out to apologize.
“I’m sorry I said that. I’d like to revise my estimate. Keep the suits. You might have a religious conversion, join a formal church , and want to attend every Sunday. That could be fifty wearings right there. (He’s previously nixed churches because men DID wear suits every Sunday. It’s the tie that sends him fleeing even though he probably has 200 of them.) OR you may decide you want to take me out for elegant dining every night. You may want to take me on a cruise.”
He nods, agreeing completely. “I could, indeed.”
The thing is, he’s still got to get rid of some of those clothes to give me some closet space. If we’re going to do all that, I’ll need to do some serious shopping.