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.
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!?”
“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
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.
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.