Day 48 – This is Hell and I’d Rather Be Naked

On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.

Wednesday – October 16, 2014

I think I know why this man is not having success.
I think I know why this man is not having success.

If I have a personal hell, it has to in some way involve shopping for clothes. Supposedly, people do it for fun, but those people deserve our pity because they are clearly insane. How is it in any way enjoyable to go to a store, put junk on your body over and over again until something only makes you look half awful instead of Quasimodo awful the way everything else does, and then pay through the nose for the privilege of putting that same thing on your body in public when people can laugh at you and the fact that, in the end, you settled for a v-neck that you knew even at the time was just way too deep?

Why do we put so much of our identity into our clothes? They’re a poor representation, and we all know it. Isn’t naked best? There’s so much status attached to clothing. If we were all naked, then there’d be so much less to worry about and we’d all be equal.

“No,” says Brad Pitt. “That’s not actually true.”

Since I failed to procure any clothes suitable for face-to-face interviewing on my own, today Erin accompanied me on my clothes shopping trip with the determination that we would not go home empty-handed. This was a hopeless, hilarious cause. I’ve said it before: I don’t care about clothes until somebody asks me to, then I care a lot. 

Erin and I were not happy with each other for most of this morning as we went from store to store to store. I was admittedly negative and dismissive of the whole experience. She pushed me pretty hard to accept some shirts and blazers I thought were just boring and terrible. At one point I tried the old “I quit” routine and tried to walk out of this hell we were both trapped in. She wouldn’t hear it. You don’t back out of hell. The only way out is through it.

All I could see was a sea of clothing designed for people who, when they turned to the side, disappeared. There’s the model ideal, and then there’s the mannequins I saw on display with a form no human being should strive for. This Fall, in case you’re wondering, the starved look is in. Emaciate yourselves now and prepare to look hot. If you’re a skeleton, man, you’ve got options. (I can feel all the champion shoppers out there reading this rolling their eyes: “We know!”)

It took hours, but in the end Erin and I finally remembered we loved each other (read: I started communicating what I actually wanted more effectively) and found some suitable clothes for me for cheap. My big sticking point was trying to find an outfit that wasn’t too outlandish but that still said “Hey, I’m creative.” I wanted something with some personality but trying to find personality at JC Penney is like trying to find subtlety in early period Spielberg.

We finally found what I wanted at, of all places, Forever 21. I didn’t even know they had a men’s section. One of the blazers is the same color as a pair of slacks I already have, so now I have a new suit for church as well, which is pretty cool.

* * *

In less irritating news, Erin got her calling at church tonight, as advisor to the Young Women. She’ll be teaching girls ages 12-17 on Sundays and participating in activities during the week. This puts her in our oldest daughter’s church orbit, which Elora is actually really excited about. Erin is a phenomenal teacher (ask anyone who isn’t her husband and they’ll tell you the same thing) and I know she’ll kick that calling’s butt, but she’s also pretty sad about leaving her old one.

She was previously a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency (women’s group) and loved working with the women of all ages. Working with girls now is going to be a big switch. For a little while here she will mourn, but the other leaders in the Young Women’s are friends. She’ll have enough fun to bounce back quickly. Fun counts for a lot right now.