Wives keep us looking good

“You can’t wear those shorts! They’re filthy and we have guests coming for supper,” pronounced my wife.
I had to agree with her that they were a bit dirty. After all, a huge northern had dripped some blood on them and I had rubbed my slimy hands on them after releasing the fish back into the water.
Our guests were our next-door neighbours on the island. But we were at the cabin and we were not worried about being fashionistas.
We were not in the cottage country of the Muskokas, where dinner guests arrive in sport coats and dresses while the linen, silverware, fine china, and crystal is laid out on the dinner table. We were on Rainy—and being a bit slovenly is the cabin look.
Still I changed; putting on a clean pair of shorts that were well-worn on the bottom and a clean T-shirt. That was suitable.
Clothing was not mentioned again.
I own several pairs of jeans. The softest pair is almost a decade old. Areas of the thighs are threadbare and even have those fashion holes in them.
They have been used in construction, painting, staining, gardening, and just about any chore that I can remember. Several are so dirty looking that I am restricted to wearing them in my wood shop.
I’m not even permitted to head to Canadian Tire wearing them.
I have several ripped shirts that caught on branches while I was mowing the lawn (my back has the scars to prove the dangers of low branches). More than once, my wife has told me to stop before heading out, noting the back of the T-shirt I was wearing had a huge gaping hole in it that she had missed when doing the laundry.
Those shirts became rags.
It’s probably a good thing that women keep looking after us; reminding us that colours clash, restricting our movements away from the house in battered clothing so that we look respectable when we stop at “Tims” for a cup of coffee, or stopping to pick up a pizza or even running for a jug of milk at Safeway.
We just wouldn’t worry about showing up looking slovenly.
My ball caps are another bone of contention. I have several red caps and between oil, grease, grass stains, and sawdust, they are pretty dismal looking. I don’t think my wife likes ball caps, but she tolerates me wearing them on the provision that I don’t leave the yard wearing one that is dirty.
She regularly gives them a washing in the dishwasher and they turn out well. But after a weekend of planing and sanding wood, they have collected enough dust that they have taken on a woody grayish look—and can leave a cloud of dust in the air if they are banged or dropped too hard.
Men are a protected species. We are protected so that we don’t look foolish in conflicted colours, or that we look bedraggled and silly in shredded pants and shirts.
Without those constant reminders, I can’t think of what we might look like.

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