Stop Me Before I Make a Big Mistake

The other night as we were getting ready to go a small town race track to watch car racing and hang with the families in their matching John Deere baseball caps, my husband put on a pair of shorts which double as swimming trunks. I stopped getting dressed and looked at him in stunned amazement.

“You can’t wear swimming trunks to the racetrack.”

“They’re not swimming trunks. They’re shorts.”

“You really can’t wear them to the track. It would be a big mistake.”

“Why? What’s wrong with them?”

“Too much leg.”

So for the past few days, every time he puts on a pair of pants or cargo shorts, he hitches up one leg, gives me a little flirty look and says, “Too much leg?”

Believe me, I don’t make a practice of telling my husband what to wear but letting him go to the racetrack in his swimming trunks slash shorts seemed so acutely unwise. In my mind’s eye, I could see the crowd turning away from a fiery crash on the track to see the greater spectacle of the visiting swimmer. I considered my intervention to be an expression of my marital vows to protect my spouse from the hoots and hollers of rural people. Wasn’t that part of the deal; it was so long ago, I forget.

Last night packing for a trip, I held up a new top and asked my husband, “Is this hideous?” It was a wildly florid print that reminded me of a shirt I had last summer that I wore once thinking all day alternately that it was really striking and then that it was hideous. There is a fine line there and because I tend toward the fashion timid, the line is invisible to me. I only know by other people’s reactions whether I’m bound for glory or should be covered by an old blanket.

I have determined, though, that if one has to ask one’s husband who just a few days earlier was about to wear swimming trunks (oh, sorry, SHORTS) to car races in Tiny Rural Berg, USA, whether the top she is contemplating wearing is, in fact, hideous, it probably is.

That’s my fashion tip for tonight, brought to you from the beautiful West Coast where all the hip and trendy people sit around in long pants and monochromatic shirts and just chill.


Photo by Hasin Hayder on Unsplash

Originally published 2013

9 Comments on “Stop Me Before I Make a Big Mistake

  1. I have only to say “are you changing before we leave” to communicate. Shorthand after many years!

  2. I always have to ask if what I’m wearing looks ok. Like you, I have difficulty distinguishing between great and gaudy. My husband never comments on what I’m wearing unless I ask. If he hems and haws even for half a beat I go change.

  3. Pingback: Two a Day #12: Stop Me Before I Make a Big Mistake – Red's Wrap

  4. This is wonderful, Jan. We have so many of these same conversations – although it is my husband who is always asking if this shirt looks okay with these pants. I get frustrated that he just doesn’t get it but then I remind myself that is was “part of my wedding vows to dress him.” His most oft used line – “Is that a new shirt/pants/earrings.” Your writing expressed a love and respect that I suspect is in your relationship.

    • Thanks Pat. That’s true although sometimes my husband gets tired of being my ‘foil’ as it calls it. 🙂

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