This weekend (actually Thursday) we're heading to Charleston, South Carolina, to attend a wedding.
On a personal note, I like weddings. I love the happiness and the good times. Most importantly, I like the free booze. To add to that, we're going to be staying in a beachhouse overlooking the ocean for three days. And the temperature is going to be floating around 60 degrees all week.
From what I understand, it's going to be a pretty high-falutin' wedding as well. The bride will be in white. The groom black. And, since the reception will take place at a local Country Club overlooking the beach, I'm pretty sure everyone will be dressed to the nines.
And by the nines I mean MEOW!
After I heard this, my wife-to-be walked up to my face and sized me up and down. I wasn't sure what she was doing. I thought she might want to have some sex.
"You need a new suit," she said matter of factly and walked away.
I didn't say a thing. In fact, I kind of agreed with her. It's been 19 years since I've last purchased a suit. And that was for my senior high school photos way back in 1990.
Don't know how I've managed to do it, but I've survived weddings, funerals, interviews and other dress-up events by simply wearing a nice pair of pants, a nice white shirt, some nice black shoes and a tie.
Until now, that is.
Sure, I've borrowed a suit from friends for various things including a number of misdemeanor court dates. I've even rented a couple tuxedos for weddings and the like.
That's why, deep down inside, I knew it was time to stop borrowing and start buying. I needed a suit for myself. Something that was more my style. Something to call my own. Something like the characters in the Reservoir Dogs would wear. And I needed it now.
Let it be known that I hate shopping for clothes. It basically stems back to when I was a child.
My mom would drag my brother and I into a number of different department stores such as Hills or Big Wheel and force us to walk into the hot changing room and try on pairs after pair after pair after pair of blue jeans for back-to-school shopping. All the while it was a beautiful August day outside. Perfect weather for kickball, jumping bikes over streams or shooting b-b guns. And here we were, stuck in this stupid department store trying on clothes.
Fuck us indeed.
BUT ANYWAY. During our 'suit' conversation, the phone rang. I checked the caller-ID. It was my wife-to-be's stepfather so I answered. We talked for a second, but before I handed the phone over to my wife-to-be, he asked how things were going.
I casually told him my suit predicament.
"Hmmm," he said. "I don't think you need a suit."
My eyes lit up. I started paying attention.
"No. No. No. What you need is a sportcoat and a nice pair of pants."
"Really?" I asked. Surprised.
"Yeah. The only time you're going to wear a suit is to a funeral," he said. "A sportcoat has more flexibility. You'll be able to use it more. And since you don't like to dress up, I think it's the way for you to go."
"Sooooo, ya got any ideas?" I asked.
"Yes I do." he shouted. "Meet me over at the house around 2:30 p.m. and I'll drive you over to Steinmart. We'll pick somethng out for you there."
Since I haven't shopped for a suit or sportcoat or whatever in years, let's just say I was extremely happy for his help. So, when 2 p.m. came around, I hopped in my car, drove over to his house and we headed over to Steinmart in Solon, Ohio.
Hastily, we walked in and went directly over to the jackets. (My type of shopping.) He jostled through the many sportcoats and, like it was an apple from a tree, he plucked a dark blue jacket from the rack.
"Here, try this on," he said.
It didn't fit.
"Okay," he said as he jostled the coats again."Try this one then."
It fit. Perfectly
We then walked over to the pants rack. He pulled out a nice pair of charcoal gray pants.
"Here, try this on," he said. No questions were asked. I simply went directly to the fitting room, pulled off my pants and tried them on.
"Make sure you come out so I can see what they look like," he said.
As I opened the door to show off my pants, this cute brunette Steinmart girl came walked over to us.
"Can I help you with anything," she asked with a smile.
"Why no, thanks" I said as I flashed my smile, sucked in my gut and performed my best Superman impression.
"Actually. Yes," my future-stepfather-in-law's voice rang out. "Do you have a measuring tape I can use?"
"Um, sure do." She walked over to a small desk and pulled one out. "Would you like for me to take his measurem-"
"That won't be necessary," he pulled the measuring tape from her hand and began to take my measurements. He took my shirt measurements. He measured my pants/crotch area. He measured my neck size. He measured me up and down. All the while this cute Steinmart employee was looking over our shoulder. Her arms were crossed and she looked somewhat offended.
That's when this strange feeling came over me.
I suddenly felt like I was a male hooker in New York City.
And, to add to that, my future-father-in-law was my trick. He picked me off the steet, gave me a $100 spot and drove me to Steinmart to get me fitted for a suit. Because, before we would got down to business that night, he wanted to clean me up and take me out to a fancy restaurant a' la Pretty Woman.
As I left Steinmart with my sportscoat, pants, shirt and tie, we then proceeded to drive to an alteration shop (to fix the pants) and then to a dry cleaner (to wash the shirt). Then we drove back to his house.
I immediately darted for the refrigerator and pulled out a Miller Light, guzzled it down like a thirsty dog and went on my way. As I hopped in my car to head home, I stopped for a second to reflect on what just happened.
To be totally honest, I really didn't think my first outing (date?) with my future father-in-law would consist of going shopping, buying clothes and dropping stuff off at the dry cleaner.
Next time we go out, just to even things out a bit, I'm thinking we're going to have to go to an Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Either that or a strip joint.