After living with the Crankee Yankee for over 14 years, I’ve discovered that he really doesn’t care what people think—really. For example, he is, shall we say, expressive in his choice of attire.
When I know I am going outside, I am dressed in clean clothes, my makeup is on, my hair is styled, and I am usually wearing no less than 16 or 17 pieces of jewelry. Not so much for the Crankee Yankee. He pretty much pulls on whatever comes to hand and walks out the door.
Over the years my parents, the Crankee Yankee’s daughter and I have given the Crankee Yankee some perfectly nice “casual” clothes; L. L. Bean plaid shirts, chino slacks, denim shirts, etc. These are what I consider ‘going out and about’ outfits.
But as he is usually working on the house and/or garden all the time, he tends to live in what I call ‘rag bag duds.’ When he is mixing and pouring cement, working in the garden, digging trenches and so on, of course he wears old clothes.
His summer work attire is usually what we laughingly call ‘cabana boy’ shirts; regular t-shirts that he has rigged up for hot weather. He cuts off the collar and sleeves, and when he puts one on, it usually bares one shoulder. Old pants are cut off at the knee for shorts, and denim overalls are worn until they are in rags.
His current overalls have ripped knees and tattered hems, and he wears them unbuttoned at the sides so that the whole world can see his boxers. The fly on this sad outfit has fallen down so many times that he now safety-pins it. He tops off the whole look with ratty socks and works boots. Honestly, it’s like living with L’il Abner!
In fact, he went out to breakfast with his brother not long ago, dressed for work in his ripped t-shirt and ratty overalls. As they passed through the door, a couple was leaving. They gave the Crankee Yankee the once-over (and he of course stared right back at them), then walked away, muttering “Exeter Gothic.” That cracked him up. Me, I just sighed.
Since we are both retired, I suppose it doesn’t really matter what we wear, but I can’t break the habit of leaving the house looking my best. For the Crankee Yankee, retirement is another excuse to go around looking like a bum who just rolled out from under a bus.
For the times that we do go out together to do something fun or even run some errands, I have flat given up trying to dress him up. He is pretty much going to wear what he wants because he truly does not give the fuzzy crack of a rat’s rear end about what others think.
I tried telling him that old story about who you hang around with gives an impression. It goes like this: if you are a pretty and well-dressed girl walking arm-in-arm with two clowns, people are NOT going to exclaim, “will you look at that beautiful girl walking with two clowns!”
Nope. They are going to say, “will you look at those three clowns!” So that being the case, I guess when the Crankee Yankee and I are walking together, someone somewhere is going to say, “will you look at Mr. and Mrs. Exeter Gothic!”