Monday, May 3, 2010

"Why did I listen to you?"

Every couple has one teeny tiny issue that they can't get past. A tender wound that never quite heals because it gets brought up over and over again. Just when the scab starts to form, one spouse begins to pick at it until it bleeds again. 

Now, I know all the proper strategies for a blissful marriage: forgive each other, don't let the sun go down on your anger, fight fair, put yourself in the other person's shoes, don't bring up the past, blah, blah, blah.... but sometimes the damage is deep, and it might take 50+ years and a case of dementia to forget about it.

It all started with an innocent wedding invitation in the mailbox.  We were invited to the nuptials of an old friend of my husband. During college, my beloved lived in a bachelor pad with a ranching friend and his two grown sons.  They spent their days working, and their evenings at ropings, and it was a fun part of my husband's past. He was tickled to see that one of them was going to get hitched. The wedding date was looming, and I started to pick out my dress. That's when everything started to fall apart. My husband began to question my outfit.

Him: "Are you going to wear that dress?"

Me: "Ya, I was planning on it... why? Don't you like it?"

Him: " I love it, it's just that you are going to be WAY over dressed."

Me: " The wedding's at a resort in Scottsdale. It's bound to be fancy."

Him: "NO. I know these people. It's a ranching family. I've NEVER seen them in anything but wranglers. They're not the country club type.  I'm telling you, if you wear that dress, you're going to stick out like a sore thumb."

Me: "What are YOU gonna wear then?"

Him: "Wranglers and my nice boots....and I GUARANTEE I'll fit right in."

Me: " If it was casual it wouldn't be at a resort."

Him: " Trust me. If  you wear a jean skirt, and blouse you'll still be overdressed."

I had an uneasy feeling in my gut.  We were not rednecks who show up to weddings in jeans.  We may raise cattle, but we could dress classy when the occasion necessitated it.  This whole thing felt wrong.  But I had to trust my husband's judgement.  After all, these were people he lived with long before I knew him..... and he GUARANTEED we'd fit in.  I decided to buy a slim ankle length jean skirt, and wore a nice sweater with a touch of western in my choice of belt.  I begged my husband to at least wear a tie, and his new wranglers.  He reluctantly agreed.  Here's a picture of us taken before the wedding.  We had no idea what was to come.

We arrived at the resort before the wedding, and after refusing to have our pick-up truck parked by the valet, we tried to remain calm.  The valet parking should have been a hint as to what we were heading into, but my husband doesn't follow the clues real well.  We walked hand- in- hand to the 9th green where the ceremony was to take place.  As we walked around the corner....all eyes were on us.  I instantly wanted to crawl under a rock.  Not one man had on a cowboy hat. Not one man had on boots.  Every man there had a suit or tux on.  Every woman had on heels and a floor length gown.  My husband instantly knew he was in trouble.  We sat in the back, and fidgeted the entire time. I gave him the evil eye. My husband was flabbergasted.  All the people he knew so well, were stuffed into suits and looked like they were at a funeral.  The problem was, my husband knew the groom, but he didn't know the bride.  The bride came from a wealthy family that had never even seen a cow, let alone set foot on a ranch.  Needless to say, it was the start of a very uncomfortable day.

After horsd'oeuvres and cocktails, we were seated in the ball room for a 4 course dinner.  There were waiters at each and every table to put our napkins in our laps, and see to our every need.  I couldn't breathe. I was so mortified about our attire that I felt like the night would never end.  I love to dance, but the thought of drawing any more attention to ourselves was too much to bear, so we sat scooted into our table in such a way that the tablecloth would hide our denim indiscretions. As if the night wasn't embarrassing enough, we had to have one more humiliating moment that put the nail in the coffin.

My husband has a trademark wedding gift that he LOVES to give.  Knowing the type of family they were, and knowing their lifestyle, my husband thought that they would absolutely love ice chest.  Yes, you read that ice chest.  Not a cheap one, mind you,  but a state of the art ice chest with the guarantee to keep things frozen for 7 days...or your money back.  It was a $50.00  silver ice chest, and I put a big white bow around it with a card taped to the top.  After the gross misjudgement about clothing choice, I couldn't bear to have any more attention drawn to ourselves.  I begged, and pleaded with my husband to just leave the ice chest in the truck.  I reasoned with him that we could return the ice chest and send them a gift card in the mail.  No one would have to know.  But by this point, he had no more shame.  He walked out to the truck, got the ice chest, and carried into the ball room like it was a bottle of Vintage Chardonnay, or a set of fine china.  I tried to have him slip it under the gift table so that it would be "out of the way", but he didn't want it to get lost behind the table cloth.  So he put it right out in front to be displayed in front of everyone. The only thought running through my mind at that point was, "Just kill me now."  Everyone was very gracious to us, and we heard, "I wish I had on my boots tonight like you" at least a dozen times.  They were just trying to make us feel more comfortable, but this kind of shame just doesn't go away.

That event happened 7 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.  The trauma is still too much to bear at times, and I have tried in vain to block it out of my mind.  Every time we get ready to go somewhere, and my husband even THINKS about  telling me I'm over-dressed, I just say, "Remember that wedding we went to?"  and he shuts up immediately.  Never again will I allow my husband to persuade me out of using my good sense. This is one incident he may NEVER live down.


  1. At least you always have a reason to get dressed up! funny :-)

  2. Absolutely a darling story. And, you, Lynell, are so beautiful that you could wear a gunny sack andyou would shine! As you get older, those things seem to take their proper place in the scheme of life - the back seat! Great writing! Dinah