For most of America, this occasion happens the night before two events: weddings and funerals. At weddings, it is to gain favor with those foxy females (hubba hubba!). At funerals, you just don’t want to look worse than the dead guy.
This shopping trip always takes place after the male goes into the closet and realizes that at some point, he has lost his one presentable shirt. After 15 minutes of debating between the shirt with an unidentified but definitely noticeable red stain down the front and the one that is missing four buttons, he comes to the realization that he must venture out into the harsh conditions and brave the hoards to find a new shirt.
This was where I was at one Friday evening. I remembered that dressing up almost always guarantees me that one thing I want from my wife, that of course being her silence about how I look. Armed with only a department store gift card (I won’t say which one, but it rhymes with the possessive form of the 1996 Republican candidate for president) I set out.
Only a minute into my search, I remembered one thing. Dress shirts are sized differently.
Most clothing companies realize that men are, among other adjectives, stupid. We do not want to be bothered with sleeve size, neck size, chest size, bellybutton size, et cetera, when we want to buy shirts. Instead, we walk into a store and go “there’s a large,” and walk out as fast as we can.
Dress shirts are a whole different animal. If you look closely at the dress shirt area of any store, you will see countless men wandering about with that constipated look on there faces. That, ladies, is called the look of thinking. These men are trying to figure out what in the world the size was of there last shirt. Many are probably saying out loud “18? That seems big. I wonder if there is a tape measure around here.” It’s amazing you don’t see more people attempting to use a necktie as a noose.
There is only one way they could make this process more complicated, but darn it all, if they didn’t do it. They take each individual shirt and hermetically seal it, making it impossible to try on. Sure, you try to take it out of the package and slip it on, but after the plastic is removed, there are 876 needles holding the shirt in place.
After 20 minutes, I’m ready to curl up in the corner and wait for death’s sweet release from this turmoil. I finally grab a shirt that “sounds like the right size” and go to pay.
Have you ever seen those nature shows about lions? The ones where the lion stands back and watches the gazelles and when one seems to be lost and disoriented, he (Or she. I don’t want to be sexist. I’m sure lady lions hunt just as well.) pounces on that gazelle, tearing its carcass limb from limb and feasting on its sweet meats?
That gazelle was me at the cash register.
“Do you have a credit card?”
“No,” I said, proud of the fact that I finally knew an answer to a question in this store.
“Would you like one?”
“No.” Two for two on the questions.
“Are you sure? You get 30% off on every other Thursday and a free footbath for every $75 you spend.”
“We’ll wash your car and build you a new house and never raise taxes and make all your dreams come true.”
I was out of answers. No wasn’t going to work. That’s when I had to swallow my pride, ignore my testosterone, and do what any good man would do.
“I don’t know if my wife has one or not. Maybe she would want one. I’ll let her come get one tomorrow.” Score!
I grabbed my bag and made my escape, knowing full well that the next day would find me looking like I spent $29 of gift card money on my look.
Plus, now I get the fun of pulling out all of those little pins.