I did this fun thing on Monday night where I asked Abie* to pick out an outfit for me to wear the following day. He thought I was joking, I was not. The reason I enlisted his help was to understand, in real time and by example what it is those who cannot subscribe to this lifestyle — that is, one ruled by the predominantly (though not exclusively!) female tenets of dressing for oneself — find compelling about a woman’s wardrobe.
So after he got out of the shower and put on his (very tight) underwear, he opened my closet doors.
“There is so much stuff in here,” he said as he lifted a pair of gold shorts. (He put those down faster than he picked them up.) Then he turned around to ask if he could “use” the “other” closet. (What he meant was simply: can I look at the stuff you have in the coat closet you have claimed as your second closet, leaving my coats to gather dust in a corner of our bathroom?) I said yes and within fifteen minutes (a fairly long time to be browsing a single rack of clothing composed mainly of blazers) he came into our bedroom holding precisely the outfit you see photographed above. To me, it says nothing. It reads lazy. Arguably “basic.” Abie said he chose the dress that he did — turquoise and girlish, featuring a scalloped Peter Pan collar and the kind of flirty skirt they tell you about when explaining the nuances of what makes a manic pixie girl dreamy — because it was “sexy; a nice bright color and form fitting.” He also said, “I like the prairie look.”
I found this endearing. I’ve never heard a heteromale refer to the prairie mode of dress amicably. And that he could further identify it — a style cue I have clearly carried out of my childhood into adulthood — as sexy? Remarkable! Per the boots, “chelsea boots,” he said (I know! Right?), “what could look more confident than just an easy dress and comfortable boots? They’re cool with no socks and accentuate your legs.”
He went on to ask me to buy him a pair.
The low common denominator in his pairing was seemingly a triple-threat combination of comfort, confidence and ease. It didn’t take rocket science to accrue that data but what I found especially interesting about his two-garment selection was the simplicity with which he aimed to dress me. I am a maximalist. More never seems like enough. A single dress makes me feel naked, like I’m not saying anything when there is so much to be articulated. What he seemed to be saying in response to my style was: I don’t get it. What he did say was, “I could have made a crazy concoction like the ones you do but prefer the easy route.” Which is okay (and re: his ability to concoct, likely untrue.)
What I’m surmising based on the outfit is a sort of proof of concept — one that suggests that if a partner self-identifies as “repelled” by the articulation of your elaborate outfit, there is a possibility that they find it so complex, so confounding, so downright stunning, they’re left wondering to themselves: I don’t even get what she’s wearing. Will I get what she’s saying?
Comfort said partner. Confirm that the answer is no but that the road to discovery will be good fun.
*For the unfamiliar, Abie is my husband. I prefer to call him my partner-in-sex but by the rules of the English language and the societal constructs of terms we assign to one another, he is technically and legally my husband. We got married in 2012, I started airing out his dirty laundry in 2013, forced him to perform as a video subject in 2014 and as recently as last month, I exploited his vulnerable but incredibly charming request to have me help him get dressed in a story that culminated in this.