Is My Husband The Boss of Me?


Note before I begin:

TH is not a supporter of this blog. I mean, he supports everything I do. But he doesn’t read the blog. And he expects to not be mentioned–ever. For the unitiated, TH stands for The Husband.

So, I mention him only when necessary. That’s fair.

I had to ask for special permission to write this post. And my permission was granted–grudgingly. So I ask that if you know him, pretend you didn’t read this post. If someone tweets him or shoots out an email to him, teasing him about this post, my blog will be shut down forever.

Okay, so here’s the thing.

I’m one of those neck-swiveling wives. I’m not meek. If I think he should wash the dishes, I’m nagging. If I don’t like something he says, he’ll know it. My pointer finger has been known to be in the near vicinity of his face.

My husband is unflappable. When I’m giving lip, he ignores me. When I’m nagging, he nods and smiles and goes back to watching Meet The Press.

But when it really goes down and I need him, he’s there for me. Unwavering.

We’re both self-made hustlers. We chin-stroke often and try to figure out how to take over the world. If we ever joined forces and did a blog or a radio show or a book–we’d be dangerous. For real.

But we don’t get down like that.

It’s almost like when we leave the house, we morph into different characters—Clark Kent and Lois Lane, giving each other a sly smile from across a crowded industry party.

Damn. I’m digressing like mad.

My point:

I am a fiercely independent, hear-me-roar kind of woman. If TH says something I don’t like, maybe something like how long are these dishes going to sit here. I might snap back and say, until you wash them.

You know. That kind of thing.

One thing I’ve never given much thought to is how my look is perceived by TH.

I’m a jeans and flats kind of girl. A Little Black Dress when I have to. I do like a sky high stiletto. But that’s about as far into fashion I go.

And TH is on the same level with me. Rugby  and denim during the week. With the occasional fly blazer combo. And cleans up very nice when necessary.


This weekend was his class reunion.

Y’all know what I was thinking. What the heck am I going to wear?

My shallow side took over. My husband was popular in high school. Cute girlfriends. All that. I was a mousy geek whose hair was rarely done. And I’m just coming into my own as far as confidence and fashion sense.

So, I looked in my closet to see what I would wear. I wanted to look exceptional. Not just nice. For once in my life, I wanted to make an entrance. I wanted people to nudge each other and say, who is that?

Did I already mention that I understand that I was being shallow? Okay. Good. Cause it gets worse.

Here’s the dress I pulled out of my closet:

Ladies, if you ever see this dress by Calypso and you try it on and you like it, buy it. In more than one color. I LOVE this dress. It’s easy, cute and flirty. You can dress up with stilettos or you can dress it down in summer with strappy sandals. I even wore a deep purple version in fall with boots a few years back.

I slipped into my dress. Tied it up. Looked in the mirror. I looked…nice.

TH was shaving.

“Hey, I’m wearing this,” I said.

“Looks nice.” he said. Went back to shaving.

“Just nice? Or do I look like, wow! Hot!”

TH narrowed his eyes. Like any husband, he knew this was a very loaded question that had to be approached like a live land mine.

“Um. I wouldn’t say hot. But you definitely look very nice and I like that dress.”

TH had just detonated the land mine.

“I don’t want to look nice.” I said. “I want to look HOT. I want your friends to say, oh word? That’s TH’s wife!?”

TH laughed.

“Okay. Well that dress doesn’t say that. But I still like it.”

I dashed off to Montclair in search of another outfit. I tried on a few dresses here and there. Nothing felt like me. I was all ready to give up and look nice.

But I ran nto Urban Outfitters to take a quick look around. Urban Outfitters is a hit or miss place. Love their jeans. Everything is else is like a fair-weather friend. In the fitting room, y’all are joking and laughing and talking about all the fun you’ll have out in the world.

And then you get home and all of a sudden that cowl neck sweater is itchy. And the sequins are falling off. And you look in the mirror and realize you look like a Dance Fever reject.

I’m wary as I step around the racks. And then I find myself standing in front of a rack of jumpers.

I don’t understand this jumper trend. It’s a onesie.

It’s a glorified bodysuit! It looks sexy on the mannequin. But does that translate to people who are not made of wood?

They remind me of those blue belted jumpsuits that were required for gym in elementary school. Does anyone remember those!! Damn, I’m old.

Anyway, I dragged a few onesies into the fitting room.

No. Not my color. Don’t like how it made my chestical area look. And what’s up with the crotch? I also don’t like flimsy clothes. Next.

Eh. The top feels like a prom dress from Claire’s. That heart shaped neckline is icky. The rest I kinda liked. Kinda.

Hmmmm…I love how this top is tight and scrunchy. Not crazy about the flimsy shorts but I adore the pockets. Is it too much? Too much skin? These shorts are short. What would TH say? Would he even notice? I walked around the fitting room a bit. And I was sold. I loved it. I felt current, with-it and yes, sexy.

I’m 36. I am a straight up slob in my every day. I needed this. Work with me people.

I copped a clutch, cute pair of shoes and was back home within an hour.

“Wanna see what I’m wearing?” I asked TH.

“Nah, I’m sure you’re fine.” he said.

And we were off, kids in tow. I packed my outfit and planned to change at my sister in law’s house, while we dropped off the kids.

I zoomed into SIL’s bedroom, with her right behind me.

She saw the look in my eye.

“What are you wearing?!”

I slipped into my jumper and my stilettos.


SIL’s eyes widened.

“What did my brother say?”

“He didn’t see it.”

“Did you bring a back up dress?”

I had. My twenty dollar black sheath from Target that always works in an emergency. If TH flipped out, I’d change.

I went out to find TH.

“I’m ready,” I said.

“Okay let’s go,” he said.

“Um? TH. How do I look? This is new.”

TH said, “You look nice. Come on, we’re late.”

“Can you take my picture first?”

TH snapped this in SIL’s kitchen.

I was feeling myself y’all. Yes it’s short. And strapless. And I’m wearing bare legs and heels. Is it too much? Honestly, yeah. But how long will I be able to rock this? I put on five pounds each year that are hell to work off. And let’s face it, I can’t rock this when I’m 50, no matter what kind of shape I have.

I wouldn’t wear this to a club without TH. I’m a bit of a traditionalist in that sense. Wearing this alone for drinks with the girls says, come kick it to me. But wearing it while on my husband’s arms at his reunion says, hey, his wife cleans up good!

Before we leave, I throw on a wrap since I’m half-naked and it’s 30 degrees out.

We go to the party. So much fun. I meet all his friends.

At some point, my wrap ends up on the back of my chair. I look at the photo albums being passed around and talk to all of TH’s friends, including his 7th grade girlfriend. (Who was drop dead gorgeous).

At one point, someone asked me my name, and I looked down at my name tag and realized it was on my wrap.

I said, oh, I’m Aliya. I have that on my name tag but it’s on my wrap over there.

“Here,” TH said, “let me get it for you.”

And suddenly, my wrap was covering my shoulders.

Did TH really want people to see my name tag? Or did he want people to NOT see my outfit?

It was the first inkling that he wasn’t feeling my outfit.

I brought it up on the ride home and it wasn’t pretty.

A summary of TH’s thoughts.

1. Outfit was too sexy.

2. Brought too much attention

3. Inappropriate

4. If he’d seen the dress in the store, he would have vetoed it.

5. If he’d known I’d bought a back up dress, he would have asked me to wear it.

I came with something really lame:

I asked you if you wanted to see it. You said no.

“Right,” said TH. “But you knew it was questionable. That’s why you packed another dress. But I didn’t know you had options. So what could I say? When you asked me if you looked nice, I didn’t want to say, hey, wear something else. At that point we’re an hour away from home.”

He was right. I knew he might want a backup dress. And I brought one. But didn’t tell him. I was waiting to gauge his response. He said nothing so I thought I was in the clear. But he only said nothing because he thought I had no other options.

We didn’t argue about it. But we had a very deep discussion about it last night.

I love that outfit. I feel good in it. And I want to wear it again.

TH wants me to take it back to the store.


I’m not sure how I feel about my husband dictating what I can and cannot wear.

On the one hand, he’s my husband and the head of my household. If something makes him uncomfortable, I want to respect that.

On the other hand, I’m grown. Full stop.

We had an hour long civilized discussion about the jumper. It ended with me deciding to try it on with stockings instead of bare legs.

“What if I don’t like it with stockings?” I finally asked. “Who gets the final say so on this jumper?”

My husband is a laconic, laid back fella. He just wants the remote, a home-cooked meal and peace and quiet. He’s not given to displays of emotion. I’ve seen him cry three times in ten years. He’s never raised his voice at me. Ever. His usual expression is a bemused look of general satisfaction.  He usually has serious deep discussions with me with one eye on The Colbert Report. But when I asked that loaded question, he peeled his eyes away and put the television on mute. (!!!) He looked directly at me:

“I think I should have the final say.”

His voice was soft. But determined.

I’m usually the boss of him, always walking around throwing out chores, rushing people out of the shower and being the typical drill sargeant wife/mom.

So TH’s response threw me for a loop.

Do I give it away? (I can’t take it back now that I’ve written this post. HA!)

Do I try it with stockings and pumps? (Not liking the idea. I wore these amazing open toed shoes and they wouldn’t work with stockings)

There is a holiday party I will be attending at my mother’s job in a few weeks. I want to rock my romper. TH is not going. He will be out of town. He says I definitely shouldn’t be rocking that at a party without him.

I don’t understand that logic. Will wearing something sexy make me cheat on him? Of course not. Does he want me to blend in and look bland? If so, why? Is he so used to seeing me look like a schlub that showing skin is a shock for him?

I’m gonna stop typing right now and show you what I mean.


This is me. Five seconds ago.

Monday, November 30, 2009 8:28 AM

I actually wore this yesterday to run some errands. And you know what TH said? “You look nice. I like that.”

C’mon y’all. When your husband thinks THIS is your version of cleaning up, there’s a problem. I think that’s why my sassy onesie didn’t go over well. I think.

I can’t call it. Can you?

Dear Readers: Ladies and gents, please be brutally honest in the comments. Do you defer to your partner with what you wear? If you partner said, this outfit makes me uncomfortable, would you honor their wishes or wear it anyway? Where do you draw the line? Although TH does not read my blog, I will forward him the comments from this one. And I’m posting a poll. If the majority give this a Nay, I won’t wear it again.

I have no idea how many male readers I have. More women comment than men. But if you’re a dude, I’d really like to hear from you too. In your opinion, is this outfit too much? Should it stay in my closet? Or should my husband let it go.

As always, I’d love to hear from you.

hit me up in the comments (please) and vote in the poll too.

P.S. Though I loathe to admit this. I feel I must, in the interest of full disclosure. When Tog saw me in this outfit, she said, look Mommy’s naked!

UPDATE: TH wants me to clarify. He thinks this outfit is fine–for the right occasion. Something glamorous and over-the-top. A Grammy after-party. A book signing. My farewell concert tour. Etcetera.

UPDATE #2: There was another incident at the reunion that really sealed my fate. I didn’t post in the original post because I thought TH would kill me. He said I need to post it to give context.

When we were leaving, one of TH’s friends came over and said, (quite loud) “Damn! Why your wife up in here looking all hot? And she’s here with you?!”

There was a round of nervous laughter.

And then some other guys said thinks like, “Your wife looks really nice! Yeah, go TH.”

It was a little weird. And I knew at that point my goose was cooked.

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70 Responses to Is My Husband The Boss of Me?

  1. cj says:

    I’m just tickled that you posted a baby onesie. You’re hilarious. You did ask. But men never really grow all the way up. Even when they’re wonderful. My hubby is simply splendid, but throws silent temper tantrums filled with frowns, hushed sighs and weird looks from the corners of his eyes. I skinny jeans and a tank top to his friend’s superbowl party and I got the silent treatment for a few hours until I figured out what happened. Then he said, “Mario kept looking at your butt because of those jeans. You know how how he is. I don’t know why you’d where that.” It ended with me giving the jeans in question to one of my students. He was satisfied.

  2. cj says:

    forgive the misspellings and other grammatical errors above. Blame the baby.

  3. Mike (again) says:

    ^^^^^ @ CJ
    Come on…
    …”men never really grow all the way up. Even when they’re wonderful…”

    That’s an overstatement…and in my humble opinion…it can also be said about humans, in general. Aren’t we all on constantly developing.

    I think one of the main problems with relationships/marriages in America, is our incessant need to dichotemize men and women; to say Men are from Venus and Women are from Mars. It allows us to not focus on ourselves and to jokingly dismiss “issues” as “that’s just the way men/women are.”

    We have to stop that…This is not just directed at CJ, but many of the comments. Let’s focus on what we (men/women, husbands/wives) share, and not on how we were socialized to be different. For relationships to work, that HAS to be the answer.

  4. Jamaal says:

    My comment from another site, where this was originally shared with me:

    The attire must fit the ocassion. While I don’t think he had the right to tell her to “take it
    back” (well maybe he did, as she has the right whether or not to
    listen), I think if she knew there would be a questionable response to
    what she had on then she should’ve discussed it up front and said
    something. I wouldnt have had a problem with it cuz I like my wife in
    sexy attire, I want her to turn a few heads. I also want her to be
    classy and feel sexy. If that makes her feel sexy, then part of me
    thinks her husband needs to be comfortable with that.

    As a person that’s been in sales, I’ve learned that prefacing is key.
    Telling someone what’s about to happen before it happens makes them
    feel alot more comfortable vs. a surprise. Even if he disagreed he
    could’ve told her and they could’ve at least talked about it. She
    could’ve taken her husband’s feelings into consideration a little
    more. If she’s never wore anything like this, then it’s bound to be

    After seeing the outfit she looks like she was heading more to the
    club with her girls vs. a class reunion, which may or may not be fine.

  5. Michael says:

    “No one should tell another what to, or what not to wear. He’s free to sit down and discuss why he doesn’t like something but he has no right to tell you what you can and can’t wear. He’s not your father. He’s your husband.”


    Disclaimer: I’m a same sexer so I have no wife, no children, but yet, I still see no big deal about what you wore. His opinion should obviously matter, but to have the final say, uh, no. Even Wilma didn’t let Fred have [that] much say.

    By the way, you looked amazing.

  6. cj says:

    good point mike.

  7. KinkyWindyPeach says:

    I think the outfit is cute, you looked good girl 🙂 I wore something similar to the Beyonce Conert this year..(Getting My Sasha Fierce On!!) I understood you wanted to look HOT. However, I think the basis of the outfit stemmed from he dated lots a pretty girls in high school, and that situation maybe left you not feeling so secure (in that shopping moment). You wanted to be eye candy on his arm!! Basically, you wanted to leave his classmates with the feeling he pulled a hot one!!

    A Printed Stocking and a Closed Toe Heel will definitely bring it down a notch, Ive done that as well with shorts in the winter.., try it out and see if he digs it, if not let it go, it’s not worth a dispute with TH in the future, life is too short!!

  8. I hopped over from Wifey’s site today and of course I am ready to chime in on this one.

    I agree whole heartedly with Wifey. You are in a partnership and just as you probably would not approve of a SPEEDO for him, he is entitled to his opinion. I also have come to learn this: Men’s first and foremost in a marriage is RESPECT and if they feel that their respect is being compromised, they do not handle it well.

    I personally think that you looked amazing in your is totally in style and you were working it!! 😉

    So- No he is not the boss of you, but since you both have mutual respect for each other, I would let him know that you will “SAVE YOUR HOTNESS” for a night out with the girls in that outfit!!! LOL 😉

    Good luck- Can’t wait to hear how it turns out….

    PS…I think it is the BIGGEST compliment that your husband said your outfit was nice when you thought you were in sweats…some men LOVE to see their women in DAILY LIFE and he was just admiring ANOTHER part of your beauty!!!!

  9. Ok first off let me start by saying you looked GREAT in the jumper. I actually think I’d like to buy it! 🙂 But on to the main question…I am a very Strong woman..I have alot of opinions and do as I please..I normally am in charge of dressing my husband. My husband actually prefers me to wear sexy clothes. lol Normally he wants me to wear less and I want to wear more…but again that’s besides the is how I see it. If the event is something for my husband..such as a work event, or his reunion or something with his family I always honor and ask his opinion. I feel that how I look reflects on him..just as when it comes to somethng for me, I like to have a say in what he’s wearing..would I want him too casual or sloppy for a formal event?? No because that reflects on me. I guess my long winded comment is saying that I don’t think you are less of a strong independent woman if you ask your husband if what you are wearing is ok:)

  10. soolebop says:

    When ever any of my real friend’s wives wears something risque I feel really uncomfortable. What women don’t understand is that the way a man is wired makes it nearly impossible NOT to imagine throwing her up on a counter and ravishing her when ever she’s wearing something that says “Ravish me”, and that jumper with those heels, and all that skin says “Ravish the hell out of me”. So, husbands try to avoid ill feelings amongst friends by keeping their wives as clothed as possible. We are still animals, no matter how evolved we THINK we are, we still have things that trigger pure animal lust. So, I think husband should have the final say. Like Jamal said in his comment “The outfit must fit the occasion”. You looked at it frm the point of all his old girlfriends and you wanted to crush them, and that’s cool. The thing is how many of his high school friends “eye smashed” you that night? His real friends probably didn’t but it’s the frienemys that husbands hate to give the satisfaction. As far as taking it back, no need. husbands need wives to have an “Eat ur heart out” out fit sometimes. Save it but don’t wear it without him!!

  11. Ricky says:

    Now that I see the outfit, I don’t think it’s too raunchy at all! Now given the time of year and the cold weather, I question the timing, but it’s a fine outfit.

    As a husband myself, I think it’s great that you RESPECT your husband’s point of view and want to take into consideration what he thinks, but I’m not sure he should have the final say on whether you keep the outfit or not. This is an argument I’ve been through with my own wife, she likes to tell me what to wear but won’t hear it if I tell her an outfit she’s wearing is wack. If you’re not comfortable with TH having final say on your wardrobe, you also have to be equally comfortable with not having the final say on his wardrobe.

  12. Terry Doram-Hodge says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! I loved it! My husband and I have discussed certain attire that I wear, and I know he would have loved me to wear the outfit that you wore to your husband’s reunion. He’s 10.5 years older than me, however,I’m more of the conservative dresser. At the same time, I do know how to jazz it up at the right time and naturally while with him. He’s not the boss of me, or I of him, and we do respect the other’s opinion on what we wear when asked. Sometimes, I don’t understand how he doesn’t like certain things that I wear…but I march quickly to the closet to find something that is appealing to him. lol It matters to me what he thinks. Now if your husband never wants to see you in that outfit again, you have to respect him no matter what his reason is. I doubt that it’s jealousy, as it seems he loves you!
    He may like it just for his eyes, and doesn’t want other men to get the wrong impression of you. I thought you looked nice in it. Personally, I wish I were as bold as you to be able to wear it.
    But then again, maybe I could…they’re just shorts, same as wearing in the summertime with tennis shoes! : )
    I think you’ve started something! lol

  13. maxI says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but I think you look hot as hell in that outfit. And I don’t think it was inappropriate at all. I’m 34 and I wear stuff like that on a regular. Then again, I don’t have a husband to answer to – oh wait, maybe that’s why?
    Anyway. My two cents is this: if you’re gonna keep it, try wearing it with textured tights and high-heeled ankle boots. That would be cuter than stockings and heels, which tends to look a little grandmotherly.
    That’s it!

  14. Tiffany says:

    Okay I super late, but this is something me and my husband go through constantly. We don’t have kids yet and I just turned 30. My husband will be 41 in two weeks.

    I completely understand that he doens’t want me to wear certain things out without him..FINE, I get that. But what about when I’m with him? I want him to be next to me proud that he could pull this tender young thing, NOT keeping an eye to see how many poeple look at me and further prove his point that I shouldn’t have worn that..and NOW we’re not having ruins everything and I don’t want to go out with him and I don;t feel I should be punished for getting in shape dropping from a size 18 to 6 and running and pilates.
    THan he’s be mad if I didn’t have any fashion sense or I was sloppy.

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  16. Strong Man says:

    He’s right. But thanks for the detailed post.

    He understands much better than you do how his male friends and men in general will perceive this and what they will be thinking. Trust me, you don’t.

    If the outfit makes him feel uncomfortable, out of respect for him, you should respect his feelings and change.

    By the way–you talk about how you back-talk him as if it’s a positive thing and shows your strength. What about the much greater strength required to control your tongue and respect his feelings?

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