Being empty-nesters, there’s often a lot of free time on the weekends. Sometimes my husband and I get a little lazy about doing anything that involves more than walking the dog, reading the paper or changing the channel, but every so often one of us will feel inspired to want to do something a little more interesting than walking the aisles at Costco/Ralphs/Target. This past weekend it was my husband who decided to suggest something a little different.
“Let’s go to Fashion Island,” he said.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, Fashion Island is a lovely outdoor shopping area in Newport Beach, California with stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and more. It’s a dog-friendly place, where four-legged friends are welcome in all the stores. It’s a great place to wander around on a Saturday, and I thought it was especially generous of my husband to think of it, as he’s not a big fan of shopping in general or with me in particular. Of course I agreed, but there was one small problem.
More about marriage: On the Occasion of my 25th Wedding Anniversary
“Are you going to wear that?” I asked him.
My darling husband looked a little indignant at my question, but let me assure you, it needed to be asked. My husband is a pretty good-looking guy who still has all his hair (at times an irritant to many of our more shiny-domed friends), and most of the time he’s quite well dressed. However on this particular morning, he was wearing the following: a pair of white shorts (remember, it’s February), a black shirt, and a blue University of Arizona sweatshirt (go Wildcats!). On his feet were the ubiquitous running shoes, footwear choice of middle-aged men everywhere. Now, if we were just running errands and grabbing a bite to eat, I wouldn’t care. At all. But I looked pretty well put-together, and I thought my husband might want to, also.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Are you going to wear that?’ I asked him. #marriage #emptynest” quote=”‘Are you going to wear that?’ I asked him. #marriage #emptynest”]
After a few huffs and puffs, he went to change. And here is what he put on: Same white shorts, same black shirt, but now he had traded the sweatshirt for his favorite sweater: grey wool, high collared and sort of schlumpy – it makes me itch just to look at it. If we lived in his native Wisconsin, it would have been perfect (minus the white shorts), but we live in sunny Southern California, so…
More about marriage: Being Comfortable with the Quiet of the Empty Nest
I couldn’t help myself, and told him to change again. And of course he was insulted – who could blame him? But I asked him:
“Would you want me to go out with you in my sweats and running shoes?”
This time, at his irritated insistence, I went with him to his closet to help him pick out his outfit.
My husband has a fairly extensive collection of cashmere sweaters. His mother has given him one for Christmas pretty much every year since we’ve been married. So of course that’s what I suggested. And though I wasn’t thrilled with the dad jeans he put on, I let that go – and the running shoes, too. He had made an effort, and I really, really appreciated it.
As we headed out the door, I looked over at my handsome, well-dressed husband and said, “Let’s just go to Costco and then get some lunch. You hate shopping.”
Needless to say, he was the best dressed guy at Costco that day.