The Armani suit and magic marker shoes

In our 25 years of marriage R has owned 3 pair of dress shoes. Five of the shoes are in good shape, one has a permanent dent from spending a year underneath the corner of a wooden crate.

The first pair was a gift from me “it is traditional for the bride to give the groom something to wear at the wedding” I announced soon after learning his intention to wear his catering shoes. Although I have never wanted to fundamentally change R, I have periodically asked him to visit the sartorial edge of his comfort zone. In my defense I didn’t gift him designer Gucci shoes. I chose dress shoes made by Timberland — an outdoor brand. They were brown, a classy short suede, perfect for our ceremony.

A few years later we went to buy a suit for R to wear to my sister’s wedding. I left him in the hands of the salesman and wandered off. When I returned R was standing, well suited, on a pedestal being fitted for alterations. “Nice Suit!” I exclaimed looking at the tag “it’s Armani!” R put on his puppy dog face and asked “can I get it?”

R was soon the proud owner of stylish Armani suit. He was looking good. I asked him what shoes he would wear. “I’ll wear the ones from our wedding” he answered. “But those are brown, your suit is black” I said, as if he would understand the horror. “No problem”, he says “I can turn them from brown to black with a magic marker.”

There is a certain freedom in living with someone who would wear magic marker shoes with his Armani suit. It’s the person who can get you and your broken van out of the forest by hose-clamping a wrench to a bent tie rod. Someone who will build you a playhouse, a snow cave, a life of mirth.