Originally published in The Inner Swine Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2008, the following remains sadly accurate.
A typical exchange at Casa de Somers:
YOUR HUMBLE EDITOR: All right, let’s go.
THE DUCHESS: Uh, is that what you’re wearing?
YHE: (glancing down at his ensemble: black T-shirt, blue khaki shorts, a pair of black sneakers) Uh, yeah, why?
TD: Maybe you would consider wearing the clothes I put out for you.
YHE: Wait a second. . .the clothes you put out for me?
TD: Yep. Right over there.
YHE: (crossing to the dresser where a blue T-shirt and a pair of black khakis sit) These clothes?
TD: Yep. Soooo much better.
YHE: (staring for some time at the new clothes, expecting something to happen) So, let me get this straight: This T-shirt and shorts is better than this T-shirt and shorts.
YHE: So again, let me clarify: I am thirty-seven years old, and you are putting out clothes for me?
YHE: And the clothes you are putting out for me are basically identical to the clothes I have chosen for myself.
TD: Except, you know, soooo much better.
YHE: And yet I am supposed to change clothes.
TD: Well, obviously.
YHE: I can’t see any difference.
TD: Of course not. You’re incompetent. If you hadn’t married me, you’d likely be dead by now.
YHE: Stipulated. I don’t see how a few dozen incidents of reckless drinking and one incident involving superglue and my underpants have anything to do with my ability to dress myself.
TD: The glue and underpants thing was disturbing.
YHE: Solved! I don’t wear underpants any more. At all. Ever.
TD: We are going to put a pin in that, but we will come back to it. For now, just change clothes.
YHE: First you have to show me the difference between this pair of shorts (indicates the pair he is wearing) and these shorts (indicates the pair neatly folded on the dresser).
TD: (pointing at the pair on the dresser) I’ve already explained. . .these are so much better.
YHE: Okay. . .let’s stipulate for a moment—just a moment—that these shorts are somehow subtly better than the ones I’m wearing. They lack the microscopic imperfections and possibly have an imaginary sheen of the favored pair. The issue remains that I have a basic human right to dress myself.
TD: Sure, if you do it correctly. What you’re missing here is this: If you grant that the outfit is pretty much the same either way, then why not just change?
YHE: Uh. . .wait a second. . .
TD: You’ve already wasted more time arguing than you would have used to simply change clothes.
YHE: The principle is not a practical consideration of available resources, woman, but a consideration of my dignity. I’m a grown man and you’re putting out clothes for me like I’m five years old. And beyond that, since there’s no difference between your outfit and mine—
TD: (takes breath)
YHE: —I know, I know, so much better, but listen! Since there’s no appreciable difference, you’re basically working on the assumption here that any choice I make will be a poor one, simply because I am ill-equipped to handle my day-to-day responsibilities. You probably don’t even look too hard at what I’m wearing. The assumption is that if I picked it out, it must be unsuitable. This is madness. I’m old.
TD: Believe me, you’re young at heart. You used to think Converse Chuck Taylors were appropriate for every occasion.
YHE: Still do. If they didn’t warp my feet into painful orthopedic conditions, I’d still wear them all the time.
TD: I rest my case.
YHE: What that is, you see, is a matter of opinion. You can’t make blanket dressing rules based on an opinion.
TD: It’s not an opinion. Chuck Taylors, like your current ensemble, are heinous. Now we’re late. You know being late makes me cranky. Please change immediately.
YHE: We have not settled this. I see no reason to change.
TD: (raises eyebrow)
YHE: Aside from the threat of physical pain, which grants no points, I mean.
TD: Oh, for god’s sake. . .Look, some people have taste, and some don’t the ones who don’t. . .like you. . .are forever claiming it doesn’t matter what you wear, because they can’t see the difference. They’re taste-blind. This would be the same thing if you were colorblind and I told you something was blue and you said it was a matter of opinion.
YHE: No, because blue is a scientifically measurable frequency of light reflection. Taste is completely subjective. Unless you want me to believe that jackoffs like Christian Soriano have some sort of measurable scientific ability, instead of just being, well, jackoffs.
TD: I am unfamiliar with this term, jackoff. And I think Christian Soriano is adorable! Like a little doll. Or a puppet. Now put on the shorts.
YHE: So, basically this boiled down to you think I have bad taste and don’t want to be seen in public with me wearing my own taste.
TD: And I will start slapping you until you cry unless you change immediately into the So Much Better Shorts.
YHE: (meekly pulling his pants off) Actually, that’s a good marketing idea. We could start selling So Much Better Shorts. They’d just be regular shorts from the store, except. . .so much better.
TD: Are you mocking me? Because I can make you wear the pink shorts and the cornflower blue tank top.
YHE: No! Not the. . .punishment outfit.
TD: Then be quiet.