I’ve heard this complaint from several of my girlfriends, so perhaps it’s a common issue among married couples our age. Regardless, it still drives me nuts that my husband insists on keeping and wearing his holey underwear well past the point where they’re functional and to the point where they’re really only suggestive of underwear. (Remnants of underwear? Fragments of underwear? The ghosts of underwear past?)
I suppose if I were one of those wives I could just creep in under the cover of darkness to throw out the holey underwear, but I just can’t bring myself to that type of behavior. He respects my space, my style or lack thereof, and my privacy, and I aim to do the same for him. I married him for who he is and vice versa (haha, sucker!), and we try not to change one another for our own benefit. Still, The Holeys resurface in our conversations from time to time, because, well, I just can’t. *eye twitch*
To me, one of the most challenging tasks that comes with marriage is the act of getting out of my own head and into his. I think I’ve made some improvement during our decade together, so that now when I’m confronted with a situation such as The Holeys and he’s not budging, instead of pushing him I take a step back and try to relate to figure out why he’s so attached to the underwear that are so not attached anymore that they’ve actually started dangling around his waistline from strings. This became especially challenging for me when I learned that he already had a drawer full of brand-spankin’-new underwear waiting to be worn out, and he was just refusing to wear them instead. Anyway, here’s what I came up with.
When I was young I remember lusting after the Crayola Big Box, the one with all the colors and a built-in sharpener. My mother always made sure my sister and I were well-stocked at the beginning of each school year, but since the official school supply list never required THE BIG BOX, this had to go on my birthday wish list instead. When at last THE BIG BOX was mine, I was so over the moon that I immediately
opened the box and used each crayon hid the box in the corner of my closet so that I wouldn’t “mess up” my new, perfect crayons. When the day came that I emptied out my closet to move away to college, lo and behold, THE BIG BOX was there in the corner, still waiting to be loved, its contents still in pristine condition and its sharpener clean and unused. I donated them to charity, hoping that the child who received them next wasn’t a weirdo like me and would actually use that beautiful Robin’s Egg Blue crayon.
Applying this comparison, I figured I should go out and buy my husband more new underwear. Perhaps an additional package of new undies would finally tip the scale from “I don’t have enough new ones to actually wear any of them,” toward “Now I have enough new ones that I’ll always have a reserve! Bye bye, Holeys!” Unfortunately my gift was met with laughter and my husband informed me that I would soon be taking the new underwear back to the store. *Tosses crayons = holey underwear theory out the window*
The issue of The Holeys resurfaced in my mind today during my drive home when I spotted a jogger. The man appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, very fit, very tan, and jogging through a nice neighborhood half naked. By “half naked,” I mean he was only wearing tennis shoes and his underwear. Underwear that is very similar to the kind my husband wears, even down to the type of holes in it.
I pulled over and snapped a photo, perhaps three. Then I almost uploaded one to Instagram but talked myself out of it, even though there weren’t enough context clues from the photo to guess the neighborhood and even though none of the photos showed the man’s face. Instead I found another way to share what I’d just discovered, by calling and interrupting my husband at work. I had to be careful about this though, because I could already see my entire No More Holey Underwear Campaign going up in flames with my husband declaring triumphantly, “You don’t get to talk smack about my underwear anymore because AT LEAST I don’t go jogging out in public in them!”
Instead my announcement went something like, “I’m driving, and there’s a guy running, and he’s in his underwear, and I hope you’re not still at work now and I’m not on speakerphone.” When I got home I showed him the photos, but I didn’t call attention to the holey state of the man’s underwear even though it was pretty apparent. My hope was that maybe he’ll forget about the jogger by the time we have our next discussion about The Holeys. Either that, or one of these days when my husband is that man’s age he’ll just have worn me down to the point where not only do I no longer comment about his holey underwear, but I also don’t say anything when I see him preparing to go for a neighborhood jog in his holey underwear since that’s what we’ve worked up to by that point. OHMYGOD THAT’S BEEN THE PLAN ALL ALONG, HASN’T IT?