Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - June 24, 2005

"I'm tired of my clothes!"

It seems that every time the seasons change, I utter that phrase. I wasn't aware that I did until Art or one of the girls pointed it out. My trip to Sweden this month with Mom, my sister and her girls made the feeling hit sooner than usual.

I looked through what clothes Manhattan had to offer and did not find what I wanted. So when Art told me he had an appointment in Topeka Tuesday, it made perfect sense to ride along and seize the opportunity to do a little shopping.

It isn't really fair to say that I exhausted the possibilities in Manhattan. I really don't care to shop, so if I don't find what I want pretty quickly, I'm easily convinced it doesn't exist.

I realize I'm a rarity as most women I know love to shop. Most men despise it. To show what an odd couple we are, Art can shop day after day. And what is even stranger is he seems to enjoy looking for clothes for me. Every now and then I have to tell him to stop.

What is even more funny is when you look at what Art wears, you'd never guess he had any eye for fashion at all. But soon after we met, he began suggesting changes that I've really come to like. I had fallen into just two modes of dressing - comfortable and professional. That meant I had a wardrobe of jeans and suits - and the suits were pretty conservative.

But he kept prodding me by telling me how fortunate I was to be slender and how I could wear almost anything. I thought of myself as being skinny and needing the bulking effect of a suit. When others began to compliment me on some of his selections, I started to trust his judgment more. So much so, that I even sent him out with my sister to help her buy an evening dress and some other items she needed.

He even helped Mariya a couple of times. One occasion occurred when she was in an anti-dress mode and had to wear a dress for some school event. I kept trying to convince her that there were times in life when a dress was required. She dug her heels in and said she was not going to wear one.

But Art understood that what she was objecting to was the "girly" aspect of some dresses and she was convinced that was what I'd make her buy. Art suggested the two of them go shopping together and he wouldn't force her to buy anything she didn't like. A few hours later they were back with a simple, but very nice looking dress. And more important, Mariya was all smiles.

What I had been looking for this time were some pants - pants that were nicer than jeans, yet durable and comfortable. But the search in Topeka began just like the one in Manhattan. After going through what Wal-Mart had to offer, I wasn't happy at all. My next candidate was Penney's, but as we were heading across the parking lot, I noticed Kohl's, which we don't have in Manhattan.

I suggested we try there. The selection proved to be much larger than at Wally World, but in the end, only three candidates perked my interest. Then I tried them on. The "perk" plopped!

"Why don't we look at the men's pants?" Art suggested.

I was NOT interested, but he had suggested it several times earlier and I could tell he really wanted me to give it a try. So I agreed.

In a few minutes, Art had three candidates. A trip to the fitting room proved that, despite my resistance, they were what I had been looking for. I bought the two I liked the best.

As we headed from the store, Art said, "You told me you wanted something like cargo pants and you wanted them durable, yet comfortable. And that made me think, 'Oh, so you want what men want?'"

But somehow it bothered me. Somehow it didn't seem right. Then, it occurred to me.

"My rear end is shaped like a man's now, isn't it?" I said with a tone of concern that was only partially faked.

Art just grinned and said, "You look great in those pants."

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