Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal
My Compliments to your Wife
J. D. Pendry
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. - Henry David Thoreau
The first year I was out of uniform I spent still in uniform teaching high school ROTC. My retirement wardrobe came from the military clothing sales store. A few months ago, I started a new work adventure. This causes me to share with you another retirement woe.
I was standing near the coffeepot one morning when a twenty-something male co-worker asked, "Are you wearing your uniform today?" My response was a frank no and my scowling, are-you-on-drugs-go-away-before-I-kill-you look that always worked well with privates, lieutenants and an occasional teenager. He walked away frowning and digging at the seat of his wrinkled Dockers. His fluffed dried, wrinkle proof shirt wasn't and his tie... well we just won't even talk about his tie.
His question concerned me though. My shirt was nice - and professionally pressed, I might add. My tie complimented the shirt as they say and the trousers were actually not khaki. The color of the socks matched the color of the trousers and my stylish, tasseled casual shoes were highly polished. Looking somewhat spiffy, I thought - kind of Regis Filbinish.
Later, I was checking my gig-line in the men's room (I don't call it a latrine any more) when I noticed something. My shirt was the same shade as the old poplin shirts I used to wear with the class A Army uniform years ago. My tie was just a shade darker than the shirt and my trousers were practically OD green. I was wearing my uniform. That night I found much green, brown, and black clothing in my closet. My wife and Master Card have since added some color.
On another day, while smirking just a little, a young man commented on my paisley patterned tie. I didn't tell him that sometime during the mid 60's there was an alien invasion or possibly it was clothing designers on LSD. Anyway, all earthlings between the ages of 14 and 30-something had the paisley pattern permanently imprinted on that portion of their brains which selects the clothes we wear. I didn't share with my young friend that I wear paisley quiet often. He'll never notice, however, unless I adopt the newest fashion craze of allowing half of my butt to hang out of my trousers.
Adjusting to an environment with no uniforms and no grooming standards hasn't been easy. For those of you who are about to make the transition let me G2 you on the future. Women, I'm sorry, but you're on your own on this one.
First of all men, if by some fluke of nature you show up to work one day in your new life wearing clothes in colors that actually match, are pressed and shoes with polish on them here's what to expect. The men will look you over then they'll look at one another. As soon as they leave earshot, one will ask the others, "Do you think he's gay?" The women on the other hand are a little more appreciative, but a bit bolder. One of them will inevitably look you up and down and then in the eye and smile while saying, "My compliments to your wife."
My mission here is to protect you from such unfair comments. So I offer you:
JD's Tips on Grooming and Your Retirement Wardrobe
Tip For Before You're Hired
Tips For After You're Hired
See y'all around the coffeepot.
© J. D. Pendry