To protect his dignity and privacy, I should not blog about my husband's sartorial disasters. It's simply his destiny to ruin so many of his clothes in strange, sometimes hilarious ways (including two lambskin coats, a few elegant blazers, and numerous shirts, sweaters, shoes, belts, and pants). It's no one's business but his, and perhaps mine. Telling such stories could pose a threat to our marriage — in addition to being just plain wrong. It would be especially wicked to do so without asking him. If he ever posted anything like that about me, I'd brain him.
But I can't resist. (Who reads this blog anyway?)
For the past couple of weeks, he's been preparing for a long day of interviews for his Dream Job of a Lifetime, a newly endowed teaching post, which hasn't had a professor in his obscure field since about World War II. He prepared his lecture extensively during Red Sox and Patriots games, got a haircut, and tolerated my asking him endless, annoying interview questions day and night. Late one sleepless night, we even debated the pros and cons of his pulling a live lobster out of his laptop bag during his meeting with the search committee. We decided against it because — while it would make him an unforgettable candidate, and handling lobsters is new skill we're both proud of — lobsters smell.
We also spent time on his outfit. He has many suits, shirts, ties, and dress shoes, but these tend to be elderly since "office casual" has long been the rule where he works. He usually wears an old blazer just to have extra pockets for his iPhone.
We settled on a heavy charcoal flannel suit with a simple jacket cut like a blazer (patch pockets, no breast pocket). He looks great in it and said he didn't want to look like a banker or lawyer. He wore a blue shirt and my favorite burgundy tie. Knee-high socks with black wingtips. He'd polished two pairs the day before and we chose the nicer, Italian ones. And for luck, he carried a pocket watch that belonged to that WWII predecessor, his hero. This morning, we pulled every speck of cat fur off both the suit and the car seat. He looked wonderful. He left the house an hour early.
About an hour later, he called me. "You won't believe this," he said. (But I believe everything these days.) "I got out of the car and was walking toward the lecture hall, and I noticed some stuff peeling off my shoe." It seems that the heels and soles of both of his wingtips chose this morning — of all mornings — to crack and disintegrate to the extent that he was practically walking on socks instead of shoe leather.
I can only imagine the impression this might have made on the dean and the search committee. Fortunately, he had time to hobble to a store for a pair of glossy Bostonians.
I've almost never heard of quality Italian shoes suddenly falling apart like this. Except that it happened to him a couple of years ago, too. In Vienna, on the way to a business meeting. The hideous Austrian emergency shoes he bought were recently donated to the Salvation Army.
Should we have his closet tested for shoe-eating bacteria?
After we were done laughing on the phone, I walked to St. Clement's and lit a lot of candles. I'm not very spiritual, but there are times when this seems like the only thing to do. I'm still waiting for him to come home and tell me about the rest of his day. I wonder if he used that stuffed lobster I put in his bag, just in case.