Applying 20/20 Vision to a Husband’s Fashion Image
November 18, 2007
A few years ago my friend Nikki asked me when my husband was going to get new glasses.
We were talking about our children’s music lessons, not exactly a natural segue into why David hadn’t updated his eyewear since high school, but I wasn’t entirely surprised. Nikki is my most fashionable friend, ready and eager to take me shopping for something feminine and flattering on the rare occasions when I tire of trolling the LL Bean and Lands’ End web sites for the latest styles in denim and corduroy.
However, until she popped her question, I’d been under the impression that I was her only renovation project. It had never occurred to me that she’d be concerned with David’s image.
David’s image is supposed to be my job. And over the years I’ve tried to get him to replace his aging wire-rim aviator frames, which cover his face from his eyebrows to the tops of his finely sculpted cheekbones.
Initially I approached the subject from the fashion angle: “You know, there are some really nice new frames you could consider,” to which he would reply, “The big frames are safer for lab work.”
Who was I to argue? I quit taking science after grade nine.
I tried from the eye-health angle. “Isn’t it time to get your prescription changed?” to which he would reply, “I passed the eye exam when I went to get my license renewed. I’m fine.”
So I gave up and focused my attention on a different part of his face. “How about shaving your beard?” I suggested. I tried to make it more enticing. “If I lose 40 pounds, you shave your beard,” I proposed. I lost 40 pounds. He refused to shave.
“I never agreed,” he reminded me, and I had to concede that he was right. Plus, dumping that 40 pounds felt really good, beard or no beard.
Last year I convinced him to throw away his worn-out runners and buy sturdier hiking shoes. After wearing them twice he went out and bought a new pair of runners. That’s when I gave up. Clearly Dear Abby and Ann Landers were right when they said You cannot change your husband. The man you marry is the man you’re – well, they didn’t say stuck with, but that was the implication.
And then, last month, he did change. He joined a community league soccer team. I was thrilled. He hadn’t played organized sports since we’d started dating 20 years earlier. But I was a little worried, too. Every Boxing Day David plays road hockey with his family, and he always comes home wounded. One year he dislocated his shoulder. It took two years to heal. Playing soccer on Canada Day this year he pulled both hamstrings, leaving him barely able to walk, and with bruises the size of cantaloupes.
On the morning of his first soccer practice, I admonished him to be careful. I was certain he would come home with an injury. A groin pull? Another damaged hamstring? A broken arm?
In my wildest fantasy, it had never occurred to me that he’d get hit in the face with the ball, shattering his glasses so they looked as if the frames were made of string, not wire.
“They can be fixed, don’t you think?” he said hopefully.
“You really are blind, aren’t you?” I said. “Come on, let’s get you some new glasses.
I couldn’t stay to help him pick out a new style, but I was optimistic. When I’d picked out my glasses two months ago, there hadn’t been a single aviator frame in the shop.
Obviously I hadn’t looked hard enough. Or maybe there’s something to that old adage about not seeing what we don’t want to see. When I returned to pick up David, he was in the process of paying for his new frames. They were identical to his old ones, just cleaner and not quite as misshapen.
I knew better than to argue. But I am hopeful. Soccer season is just starting. Maybe there’s an injury that requires beard-shaving…