Normally, Saturday mornings for me are spent at the Yarn Barn. But this morning, my dad wanted to take me to his tailor and have a couple pairs of slacks made. Given my dad’s tailor, this is a pretty big gift. And it’s perfectly in keeping with my new efforts to dress better. Yeah, the shirt I posted the pic of is controversial, but the point is that I’m trying. I’ve spent most of my life deliberately avoiding anything fashionable, so I expect there to be a bit of a learning curve.

We’d agreed that I’d stop by his house at 10 am. At 9:54 am, I was awakened by my cell phone. Damn. Damn damn damn. I told him I’d just woken up and asked him to put on some coffee. A quick shower later, I threw on my new jeans, another new print shirt, and a new pair of Nunn Bush shoes and hustled over for our clothes date.

When we got to the tailor, we discovered that they did not open until 11:00. So to kill the next hour, we went to the wine merchant that my dad goes to. It is a fairly big space in an industrial park that turned out to be surprisingly cozy inside. The moment I walked in, my heart was captured by a chocolate lab who was sitting in a bar chair in front of a bar where they were pouring samples of sparkling wines. After a few minutes of giving the requisite ear skritches, I got a nice bottle of Becker Vinards Chardonnay ( a local Texas wine that’s quite good ) and a copy of Food & Wine magazine. Then I discovered that with every purchase at this store, you get a fresh loaf of good crusty bread. I’m definitely going back there.

Then we went to the tailor and I got measured for some new slacks. While my dad was schmoozing with the owner, I checked out the well-worn Singer industrial sewing machines they had. I definitely need to get a machine one of these days so I can try out some new stuff.

So then we went back to dad’s house. I said my goodbyes to him and my stepmother and went home to get my things together and go down to the Yarn Barn. While I was tossing various balls of yarn into my bag, my phone rang.

It was my dad. With very little preamble, he proceeded to tell me that he was really disappointed that I showed up for our morning looking like shit.

It took a few seconds to register; I thought everything had gone well. But he proceeded to tell me that my shoes were too big for my outfit (what the FUCK does that mean?), my untucked-shirt was sloppy, and my hair was greasy. Apparently I managed to get really filthy between the time that I showered and got to his house, which was about ten minutes.

I really love my dad, but at this particular moment, I don’t think I could get through a conversation with him without using some choice Anglo-Saxon words. I am putting effort and money into this makeover thing, but that seems to be completely lost on him.

Later in the afternoon, I got a wonderful gift from Suzy which helped dispell most of my bad mood. It’s a really sweet, thoughtful gift which I was going to take a picture of, but my camera’s batteries are dead. I’ll get some fresh batteries tomorrow and post a pic. In the meantime, I’m going to put on Sex and the City, grab some mindless knitting, and stop thinking until I go to bed.

Edited on 12/27/2004 to remove the obviously invective.

No Responses to “Love/Hate”

  1. DocWhat Says:

    Hi David!

    I can’t comment on your relationship with your father, nor on how he decided to tell you that you should have made better preparations to meet his tailor.

    What I can do is help you out by telling you things that it sounds like you may not have known. If you didn’t know this, then it would have been helpful for you if you had known this before hand.

    Pants are tailored to the shoes you plan on wearing with the pants. If you plan on wearing shoes with laces, then you’ll end up with a different tailoring than if you wear shoes that are slip on. Even different styles of shoes require different tailorings. Therefore, you should always get your shoes first, and bring them to the tailor.

    Next, you’re going to go back when you pick up the clothing. If they are a good tailor (which I assume they are), they’ll want you to check the fit before they send you out the door. There is *nothing* wrong with a fit being close, but not perfect and them taking it back to make changes.

    This time, bring the nice shoes you plan on using for the pants. Wear nice clothing, dress nice, etc. and get an alarm clock, man! :-)

    Getting started with dressing nice when you prefer casual stuff (like shorts and t-shirts) is hard. I know a few of the “rules”, but I don’t know all that much. I’m certainly not comfortable with the whole “scene”. I pproached the various purveyors of nice clothing with the attitude: I don’t know, but I want to learn.

    There are some books along the lines of “everything a gentleman should know” that talk about this stuff. Some of it should be taken with a grain of salt; I mean, who get’s invited to a fancy dress dinner where top hat and tails are expected? But it helps you understand some of the reasoning behind this stuff.

    The book I got from the library was this one:
    A Gentleman Gets Dressed Up : What to Wear, When to Wear it, How to Wear it
    by Bryan Curtis, John Bridge

    I liked it, it was fairly straight forward and said what I needed. As I said, some of the information is overkill, but it’s a good book anyway. It’s also fairly recent, from 2003, so it points out stuff that isn’t common anymore.

    Everything is in the form of (quoted from the book):
    A gentleman knows that clothes do not make the man. But he knows that, when making a first impression, his wardrobe may speak louder than his actions — perhaps even louder than his words.


  2. pippy Says:

    Hm, this trouble with family members thing must be going around, I have had my share of it lately too! I kind of came in on the middle of this whole changing of appearances thing, so I don’t really know the whole story, but from the photos I’ve seen you just look like a (can I say it? Rather nice looking!) guy, so I don’t really get it.. all I know is I sure as hell wouldn’t dress like my mom, even though she looks good! Fashion is such a personal thing, and so much of looking good is attitude. You have to be comfortable in your skin first, which it seems like you are.
    Anyway, using a gift to make someone feel bad seems like not a very nice thing to do. As someone said to me recently, don’t let the turkeys get you down.
    take care! Happy holidays!

  3. Kaetchen Says:


    He’s being unrealistic. You’ve been his son an awfully long time; by now he should know who you are. Clearly, your idea of ‘cleaning up’ and his are very different.

    When you’re feeling calm enough, could you say, “Dad, I appreciate that you want to help. But your criticism doesn’t improve the situation any.” You might also want to remind him that A) You work in a completely different environment than he does – and one where jeans and bike t-shirts are completely ok; and B) that being a git is endearing to nobody.

    As Becca would say, we love you and your show. (It means hey, you rock.)

  4. spoonix Says:

    Feh… don’t worry about it.

    Sounds like your dad is trying to find a way to pass on what he knows (namely, dressing to impress) and probably feels guilty/ashamed that he didn’t get this little knowledge dump taken care of when you were 7 and impressionable.

    Next time it happens, call tihsllub on him and say something along the lines of: “Look. If you want to give me some advice then try just giving some general guidelines instead of waiting for me to make a move and then nitpicking it. We’re both too busy to keep playing the trial’n’error game.”

    You don’t have to adopt his fashion philisophy all the time, but knowing what to do and how to dress for those high-society, raise-your-pinky-as-you-sip-the-earl-grey times isn’t a bad thing. Never know when you might need it.

  5. denise Says:

    What is particularly odd about your dad’s reaction, aside from the fact that I’m sure you looked fine, is that A) you ARE trying to work on the clothing thing and that B) he waited until he got you on the phone afterward to say something about how you looked. As for A), his response seems particularly unkind—even cruel. (Shame on him!!) As for B, I see a couple of options (at least): that he’s either a very passive-aggressive person, letting you think that things were okay but then ruining the experience with hurtful comments, or that something happened between the time you left him and the time he called you, and that he somehow then decided to unload on you.

    If I recall correctly, you and your dad have had a rather complex relationship for a long time. Still, I hope that you told him his comments were out of line. (I was probably 30, though, by the time I told my dad that “You look like a homeless person” and “Wow, you’ve gained/lost weight!” were not appropriate greetings when I arrived home for a visit–after months away, of course.)

    Remember: just as you deserve better than that printed shirt :-), you deserve better that that treatment from your father. Neither is worthy of you.


  6. Cari Says:

    Amazing how, no matter how old we get, our parents can still make us feel like we’re sixteen again with just a few careless words.

    Could it partly be that your father recognized you’re making an effort to change your appearance and didn’t know how to react? That he’s gotten used to you looking a certain way and doesn’t know how to adjust his idea of you to the new things you’re trying out? Did you have product in your hair? Maybe that was new to him, hence the “greasy” hair comment. Shoes too big for your pants probably just meant they were more interesting than loafers or whatever it is folks put on their feet out there in Texas.

    You know I hate the print shirts, but I do applaud your efforts. Hang in there.

  7. Suzy Says:

    I don’t know WHO the man was seeing but it was definitely NOT you. David, you looked fantastic on Sat. ;)!
    Big Hug

  8. T Says:

    Ahhh well… You are making the effort and that’s the important thing. I hadn’t read any blogs for a couple of weeks, so had some back-tracking to do. Keep taking strides. Good for you for trying. I kind of liked the shirt (have been trying to get my husband in one similar, with no success). So what if everyone doesn’t like it, you can’t please us all. Hopefully your dad will see that you are trying to improve how you look and step off a bit. (Maybe he was having a crappy day)

  9. Lilith Says:

    Parents, in general, exist to torture their children, no matter how old said children may be. They usually don’t know they’re doing it, and often think they’re still dealing with unruly teenagers who have no respect for their elders. I know how hard it can be to ignore it, but doing just that is the best way to survive.

    You could also take it to an extreme… if my mother complains about my appearance, or anything else for that matter, I tend to reply with, “gosh, Mom, nice to see you, too,” because we only see each other once a month or so, and the focus should be on our relationship, not what I’m wearing. Of course, not everyone can get away with being that snarky to their parents, so do what works for you. Just don’t let the nitpicking get under your skin too much. :)

  10. Hilary (again) Says:

    You could always call him back and suggest he takes you shopping – you’d get an outfit he would always be happy to see you in (not that it should matter at all, but it obviously does to him), and you’d get some seriously nice stuff at his expense…

  11. Hilary Says: