The other night as I was heading to bed, my husband, Ryan, said to me, “Cute outfit.”
“Thank y…” I started to say. Then, taking a good look at what I was wearing, I stopped.
Remember in sixth grade when it was cool to wear men’s boxers as shorts? When after buying the boxers at the Gap, you would bring them to your mom to sew up the pee hole? I still own two pairs of those. That evening I had on the plaid ones.
Do you also remember rolling down the tops of those boxers to make them shorter and your legs look longer? That’s how I was wearing them.
“Aww, sad! For a second I believed you.” I said.
I was almost offended, but having paused to take in the full extent of my getup—the boxers and a men’s large free tee from a work event—I had to admit, his mockery was warranted.
This tween-meets-Goodwill pajama set is one of four outfits Ryan sees me in each day Monday through Friday. Three of these outfits are ugly, the first and ugliest being my night duds, just described. Here are the others:
OUTFIT #2: The second is what I wear to go running. Up until two weeks ago, the only workout pants I owned were generously flared, as was the fashion in 2007 when I bought them, one pair silverish with an aqua band around the waste, the other faded black with bleach stains (stains courtesy of our apartment building’s communal laundry).
Now I also have a third pair, “Go 2 Tights” from New Balance. These were to be my fashionable choice. When I tried them on in the store, it was a revelation: I had no idea my butt cheeks oozed onto the backs of my upper thighs like that. These tights play no favorites. All lower body parts are treated as equals, smooshed together in grotesque harmony.
I asked the salesman if there were any other pants under $40. Nope, he said, the next cheapest were $60. I don’t belong to a gym to save money. I had also put off buying new workout clothes for the same reason, but I needed a third pair of long pants right then if I were to keep running outside through the winter. So I bought them. At least they weren’t flared.
When I return from a run in the morning, Ryan is usually up and getting the dog ready for a walk, just in time to catch a glimpse of me. Donning one of the aforementioned pants and a large semicircle of sweat on my shirt, I am a sight to behold.
OUTFIT #3: This is what I wear to work, the one of the four outfits that is not ugly. Ryan sees me in it for the least amount of time, 30 minutes tops. After my shower, I get dressed, have a quick cup of coffee, and am out the door. Then when I get home, I say hello and make a beeline for our bedroom, where I change into my third ensemble of the day, featuring my all-time favorite—
OUTFIT #4: interim pants.
Interim pants are my solution to wanting the comfort of pajamas but not wanting to wear what I’ve actually worn to bed. Something about eating dinner in the clothes that I’ve developed morning breath in grosses me out. So instead over the years I’ve collected an assortment of baggy drawstring pants just as soft as pajamas but strictly for the interim, the time between coming home from work and going to sleep. All comfy in these pants and an old oversize sweatshirt is how Ryan sees me the majority of the workweek.
But it wasn’t until Ryan teased me about my boxers that I fully grasped that he does notice my ugly outfits—and he’s not a fan. Is it OK for me to wear them anyway, to completely disregard his disdain, just because I know he’ll still want me? Should I be worried that because of all the ugliness he’ll love me less??
Honestly, I’m not worried about that at all, and yes, I think it is OK to wear ugly outfits three-fourths of my time.
Interim pants are how I relax. They help me shed any tension from the office, and while I may not look pretty, I feel pretty damn good. That state of mind, I’m certain, is a nicer (less cranky) option for the both of us.
Plus he wears black every day, and I don’t say a thing.
Rasika writes about being married and how that makes you act weird. Oh, wait, maybe that’s just her. Follow her on Twitter @rwelankiwar.
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