I have been told that I am not really what you might call, a typical man.
Putting aside the fact that I am married to my wife of thirty years and I am gay, I also, for example, do notice and admire smartly dressed women.
Last weekend, at my wife’s request I accompanied her on a shopping trip to Debenhams* in our local city.
As I sat on the seating outside the changing rooms, waiting for my wife to emerge in a variety of frocks** I realised, not for the first time, just what an ordeal buying clothes can be for women.
An elderly lady, of Italian descent, with a broad local accent was shopping alone for some important event.
The jacket she had selected to accompany her dress did not fit her, and the lovely changing room assistant, a young girl, was running errands for her to select alternative jackets in both size and colour.
During this clothing ordeal, for the Italian lady, my wife emerges from the changing room in a dress which did not suit her.
She tells me it does not feel right, and I have then to find the words to agree, without crushing her.
You see, the clothes are so honest, the sizes might not be honest, but the clothes are and the dress my wife was wearing did not fit her.
The shopping trip becomes difficult, because the honesty of the clothing can feel like a judgement, and it has the potential to cause conflict if the right words are not found to re-assure the disappointed customer (or wife) that it is not their fault.
Eventually, the Italian lady leaves the changing rooms satisfied and ready for her event. I had to stop myself from hugging the lovely sales assistant – she had been fantastic.
She had seen past the sale, and supported the woman.
My wife emerges in a lovely dress. It’s not the dress I see first, it’s the smile.
So, my blog is about the honesty of clothing, or the honesty of our bodies in the clothes we adorn ourselves with, and how the presence of a calming voice, a friendly opinion, a supportive word, can make the experience less about judgement and more about love.
Thanks for coming with me, she says to me, you’re not like most men.
I know, I’m your husband and I’m gay and I am sure that shopping for clothes with you has to be one of the benefits of our situation.
My next blog will be: Defecation
*Debenhams is a UK clothing department store.