Did the title make you wonder? Makes me wonder too. I’d like to know how many parents, stay-home-mothers, to be specific, wear formal attire, style their hair, wear make-up and jewelry, to clean the house and take care of small children? To shop at Walmart? I really want to know. I take pride in my appearance. I do. I shower almost every single day. We all have times when we skip a shower on occasion….we are sick, exhausted, have no where to go….so we skip it. That was me. While raising my kids, I was sure to always be clean. Hygiene is important to me. I wore my hair up often, when it was longer. Typical clothing consisted of jeans and sweatshirts, sometimes sweatpants. Never old ratty beat up clothes, mind you. I did care about my appearance, but comfort was also important. It’s kind of hard to tote small kids, laundry baskets and grocery bags around wearing heels and tight clothing. I would dress very nice if we had somewhere to go, but he hardly took me anywhere. I just recently learned that his ex-boss and his wife hosted card games. She asked why I never came to those. My husband never invited me. He always told me it was for work people only. His ex-boss’s wife just told me they were always for couples. Hmmm.
My husband. He works in a professional office. He wears dress pants and dress shirts to work every day. He owns about a dozen pair of nice jeans. Several nice shirts, sweaters, etcetera. He really cares about his appearance. Really. A lot. Even when I am dressed up, I take a fraction of the time to get ready that he does. $12 pomade. Only Italian imported colognes. He irons EVERYTHING.
The first time I realized he was less than thrilled with my sense of style was right after we moved. He has a friend who owns a cabinet, counter and flooring store. We were going to update the kitchen in our new home. We had not lived there very long at all. A few months maybe? Much of our things were still in boxes as we decided how to set up and decorate this new home. While the kids were at school, I would spend my days scrubbing and polishing the wood floors. Disinfecting the bathrooms. Going thru the boxes deciding what to use and what to keep in storage a little longer. I painted walls. Scrubbed carpets. One day we planned to go to his friend’s store to pick out new counters, we would go after my husband came home from work. I showered, did my usual chores, picked up the kids from school, and made dinner. I remember vividly what I was wearing that day. A practically brand new grey hoodie sweatshirt with a college logo on the front, newer grey sweatpants and clean tennis shoes. I was clean, had a little makeup on, my hair was styled, but up in a clip, I was “put together” but also comfortable, because I was doing chores all day. We entered his friends store, said our hellos and thanked him for staying open a little later to accommodate our schedule. The first thing my husband said to his friend was this: “Yeah. I’m sorry about the way (insert my name here) is dressed. You know those stay at home mom’s and their sweats!” Then he awkwardly laughed. His friend said something like “oh she looks fine.” What was he supposed to say? What was I supposed to say? I did not want to draw attention to the mean comment or argue in the store so I let it go. It really hurt my feelings and made me feel embarrassed. He seemed to enjoy humiliating me in front of another person. Eventually I asked him about that and his response was that he didn’t remember saying it, he must have been joking. I pointed out that he worked around professional women who dressed nice every day. I already felt insecure and his comment hurt me. He assured me I looked fine and he didn’t have a problem with how I dressed. He also reminded me of the adorable little nickname he had for me. He called me his “SwissArmy Wife!” Said he bragged to all his friends and co-workers about how awesome I was. I could do anything and I was pretty and not fat on top of all that! Yay me! That was about six years ago.
Let’s fast forward a few more years. We made friends with a family who lives right down the road from us. Married. Two sons, pretty much within the age ranges of my kids. We spent a lot of time with this family. My husband and this other husband got along really well. The wife LOVED my husband. She told me often how nice looking my husband was. I laughed. I agreed. I thanked her. I became uncomfortable with her attention over my husband when one Christmas she bought him a Ducati t-shirt. He owns a Ducati motorcycle and it’s his pride and joy. It was a European fitted tee so she was worried it would not fit him. The first time he wore it and she saw him, she ran up to him and started to caress his chest, saying how great it fit him. She stopped herself right before she actually touched his chest. She then awkwardly looked at me, her hands frozen just inches from his chest. She pretended to do this weird “air-rubbing-but-not-really-touching” thing. She laughed a little too loud and threw her long blonde hair back. He was loving this attention and smirking. I said, perhaps a little too loudly and a little too snarkily, “Why yes! Yes, it does fit MY husband very well!” My kids just looked at me. When we got home, they all pointed out how grossly inappropriate her behavior was and that their father was a little too happy about it. He just smiled and laughed and said “No! It wasn’t like that at all!” I think he actually blushed.
As if that story is not awful enough, this same wife came to our house last year to bring me a birthday gift. It was so nice of her. I was touched. Her family accompanied her. My kitchen and living room were full of people and we were talking and laughing. I had just had a haircut and it was a shorter style. This wife proceeded to tell me after she touched the back of my hair that she was surprised at how soft it was considering how wiry and brittle it looked. I stood there, like what? Do I laugh? Do I gasp? Do I smack her? Even her husband shouted her name in a reprimanding way. She said, “What?! I was just saying !” I let it go. For Christmas that year, she gave me a bottle of smoothing cream for my hair. My husband laughed.
Another time, in the winter, I had these cute suede boots that came up to just under my knee. I’d describe my style as boho-chic. I went to a school function with her. She parked near a snow bank so when I had to exit the vehicle, there was a small mountain of snow. She apologized and I said it was fine because my boots had nice sturdy rubber soles and had a protective waterproof spray on them. She then said “Yes, I see that. My husband would never allow me to wear boots like those. He likes me to wear feminine ones.” And just like that. Karma. Karma was working that day as the moment she stopped talking, I watched her slip and fall on some slippery snow while she styled her black leather knee-high boots with 2.5 inch stiletto-like heels. Bitches look funny when they fall.
Another time we were with this family, at their home, we were sitting in their kitchen while the wife began a discussion about how no one cared about their appearance anymore. She talked about how many gross people she would see on her shopping trips to Walmart. How these people have no self -respect and they wear sweat pants to the store. How they need to take pride in how they look. Put some descent clothes on.Wear some make-up. Do their hair. My husband chimed right in. Agreeing. How gross are these people! This conversation continued for what felt like way too long. And you know what? I was sitting there, in my sweats. Wanting to shrink. Become invisible. But I finally spoke up. I finally said something. I asked both this wife and my husband why sweats are so bad. I stood up holding out the leg of mine to prove a point. Of course, they said, I was the exception. But I did not let it go. I asked them who they were to judge? Who made them the fashion-police? How did they know some of those people did not have a sick kid at home and were running in to get medicine and didn’t have time to put on their prom dress and heels? I was pissed. They quickly changed the subject.
Even after all I mentioned, I still tried reaching out to this wife, as a friend. I vented what was happening at home. I needed a friend. But she always defended his behavior. Always. She did everything but call me crazy. Until the day my husband’s crazy mistress sent a mass text message out to everyone in his phone, admitting to the affair. (I will expand on that later). After this wife received the text message, she called me crying. Saying how sorry she was that she never believed me. Telling me all the countless times I tried venting to her, only to have her shut me down. She felt terrible. SHE NEEDED my forgiveness? What the hell? I kept waiting for her to ask how I was doing. I had only learned of the affair about an hour before she received the text message so I was a mess myself. Never happened. This phone call was about HER and HER feelings and HER needs. I reminded her of the last time I tried to reach out to her and how nasty she was. OF COURSE SHE DID NOT REMEMBER! I was so used to hearing that failed memory excuse that something in me snapped. I hung up on her. And I have not spoken to her ever since.
And the irony of all this? While this wife doted on MY husband and adored him in all his hotness and charm? While she shut me down for my fears and for all the unexplained things that my husband was doing or saying? He called her fat and bitchy when we were in the privacy of our home. He made fun of her OCD and said how bad he felt for her husband, his buddy. I was the lucky one. The one who got to see this side of him. The side no one else saw. He was simply too smart to risk anyone seeing this ugly, judgmental, racist side. He worked too hard to project this perfect image.
I should go. My load of sweats are done in the dryer.
Next time : unexplained texts and calls on my husband ‘s cell and life leading up to the affair discovery.