I lie awake at night staring at the ceiling, wondering how things got so out of hand. I look to my right to see a stranger, my wife, someone I can hardly recognize anymore. How can someone so sweet be so devious by design? I look around the room to find the amassment of my fashion choices strewn haphazardly across the floor. Beneath our window there is a pile of my t-shirts, my jeans are spread out in the corner, a wide assortment of belts and socks interlaced with vests and ties adorn the tiles in between. How did I let it get so bad? And then I remember, it all started with a dress.
When my wife and I first moved in to our house here, we agreed that everything would be split equally down the middle; from food to chores and everything in between, with the pre-existing limited storage space condition in place. When she cooked, I would do the dishes. When she washed, I would hang up the laundry. When we cleaned the house I would do the heavy lifting, she would focus on the finer finishing touches like dusting around the ornaments. (In hindsight, I see now the error of my ways. Everything was split down the middle, including my share of what we had initially split! For example, if I were to have half the closet to myself, then she would get half of my half by my own words. Diabolical. I digress.)
We purchased a large closet with three large compartments. Naturally she took over two thirds of it for her many articles of clothing and accessories as well as “shared space” for towels and bedsheets (that SHE chose). I was content with my share, going about making it my own and hanging up my suits, shirts etc. Life was good and fair back then.
But then the dresses started coming in. The harbingers of (financial and spatial) death and destruction.
Unbeknownst to us males, female evening wear is quite bulky in its stationary form, with gargantuan storage requirements and instructions (it must be kept at a 35 degree angle and the bottom should not land on the ground to avoid spoilage). And so, after purchasing one for an upcoming family event, my wife sheepishly asks, “Can I keep it in your closet? It’s quite big and heavy and I cannot lift them with my weak arms and you have big, strong man muscles.” I saw no problem with that, and readily agreed. I failed to read the fine print nor demand my rights from the get-go; time period, cancellation clause, arbitrary measures, to name a few.
Little by little, the dress emissary began calling forth its minions from the other side. She didn’t need to verbalize her request after that first dress, the question quickly became a gesture with her hands, from her side to mine, then a movement of her eyes, and then finally my acceptance was automatically assumed. Soon, the dark color coordination of my closet space was overrun with sparkly things and dangly things and brightly colored things. My clothes did not stand a chance. They quickly signaled a retreat, jumping closet to the harsh ground below.
My morning ritual has been thrown off sync. I am forced to tiptoe around my fallen, crumpled comrades. It takes much longer to locate an item, and more often than not it is not in any presentable condition.
Now I lie awake at night wondering how I let things get so out of hand. I console myself by thinking; it can’t possibly get any worse than this.
“Honey, can I please put my new mocha-colored heels on the shoe rack? I can’t find any space, do you mind moving your sneakers?”
I spoke too soon.