We have a vacation coming up this summer that will put us on the road for around nine days. That being said my “casual wardrobe” of shorts and shirts is much less than a nine-day excursion to our nations southeast states can handle. God forbid the good folks in Florida should see me in the same shorts and shirt two days in the same week. I did a quick inventory and found that I needed to purchase some shorts and a few shirts so we don’t have to do any laundry while we’re away. (I did suggest it but I got “the look” from Connie) I think that I’m like most men; I don’t care to shop for clothes. I decided early in our marriage, come hell or high water, that I would buy my own clothes. The reason for this is that I’ve witnessed grown men standing in the clothing department while their wives hold articles of clothing up to them then announce “go try these on then come out and let me see them on you.” Or I’ve been in the dressing room trying on clothes myself when I overhear something like the following conversation:
Wife: Harold? Come out, I want to see how those jean shorts are fitting you.
Harold: Not so good, they’re tight in the crotch.
Wife: Are you sure? Do you have them on right?
Harold: Yeah…the zippers in the front.
Wife: Well I still want to see them. Come out here.
Harold: I’m not wearing them, how about the shirt? Do you want to see me in the shirt?
Wife: Oh for the love of Pete…unlock this door! I’m coming in!!
Wife: Open this door!
Anyway, I shop for myself and I think that I’m pretty good at it, and here’s why (it’s a little Rich Ripley secret) I shop in the young men’s department. It’s true…very true. I can still wear most of the young men’s athletically cut shirts and some shorts. I do this for one reason only…the Men’s department clothes are cut to fit guys much more “beefy” than I, so I fall back into a department that fits me better. The only problem is that some nosey smart alecky clerk will come around and the ensuing conversation will transpire:
Target clerk: Hey there old timer…you’re in the wrong department, aren’t ya?
Me: Oh these…(heh-heh, nervous laugh) I’m picking these up for my nephew.
Target clerk: Sure you are.
Me: No, really. I swear. These shorts are way too cool for a 45-year-old guy like me to wear and these swimming trunks…for my cousin…he’s young and cool. Look at ‘em…all stripy and colorful…hugging my hips and …..”
Target clerk: Com’ on old-timer…your clothes are down here in the Men’s Department. We’ve got shorts for you over here with elastic in the waistband, in plain basic colors. Look here….beige! You like beige! It goes with everything! And swimming trunks that cover everything, you can even pull them up to just below your nipples.
Me: This is discrimination! I have rights too you know!! I pay my taxes!!
Target clerk: Listen to me closely…no one wants to see your tired butt all tricked out in cool looking clothes….it’s just awkward for everyone around you.
Me: But I look cool in these clothes and I’d hate to go down a waterslide and have the rear seam rip and moon a bunch of little kids in my old trunks!
Target clerk: Male pattern baldness? A little beer gut coming over your waistband? Back hair to match your chest hair? You’re hideous. Nice, but hideous.
Me: What?!! I can’t help the …but the back hair is…I don’t drink beer you little punk! That gut is from eating cake, pie and ice cream!! It’s..!!
Target clerk: Natural selection is what it is, sir.
Me: Bullshit!! It’s guys like me who end up paying for defaulted student loans from guys like you!
Target clerk: I have a B.A. in Graphic Design and you’re as graphic as they come.
Me: You’ve got to catch me first! (grabbing the trunks, shorts and underwear) Your generation doesn’t know how to work hard…so I’m makin’ you earn your keep today junior!!
Target clerk: HEY!! COME BACK HERE!! DON’T EVEN THINK THAT WE’LL SELL YOU THAT CAPTAIN AMERICA BIKINI UNDERWEAR!! IT’S NOT RIGHT!! NOT RIGHTTTTTT!!!
Me: (cha-ching) Too late!! Your check gal is in her fifties and I promised her a picture of me on Cocoa Beach in ‘em!” (running to the parking lot)
So anyway…I’ve got some new cool shorts and a kickass pair of blue with red trim Captain America underwear that I just might wear to Cocoa Beach. My wardrobe is now dangerously close to being ready for vacation. Alert the Florida National Guard.