He never met a dress shirt he liked

What is it with guys and dressing up? Girlfriends, wives, and mothers ponder this question, especially during this season of parties.

The male aversion to attractive clothing begins early. My preschool son shuns any shirt that has more than two buttons. Trying to get him into a nice sweater is like trying to corral a circus monkey. He dances around, pulling at the offending item of clothing until I take it off.

My husband, who over the years has attained a level of competence in choosing his professional wardrobe, can't understand my desire to dress up our son.

Recently, I bought him a pair of brown suede oxfords, wishing for just one pair of shoes that had escaped mud puddles, soccer games, and playground scuffles. My husband thought they were too extravagant for a preschooler to wear only occasionally, and I had to agree. Back to store they went.

It's not that I'm advocating Little Lord Fauntleroy. Velvet and starched shirts are not what I'm after, just clothing with more pizazz than a stained rugby shirt and jeans.

Mothers of little girls - at least the ones of my acquaintance - have a different problem. Their daughters don't need an excuse to dress up. One future runway model at my son's preschool wore a pink satin dress with a feather boa every day for a week. These girls insist on frilly dresses and fancy shoes even when it's 25 degrees outside.

This weekend, my family is headed to several parties. I will make clothing suggestions, which will most likely be overruled.

But, oh, how great both my men would look if only they'd listen to my advice.

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