Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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Never Again

We lasted about four minutes, if that. No, not sex you dirty birds, although the timing would still apply. I mean the mall. We lasted about four minutes in the mall before we aborted the entire mission.

It started an hour before that. We were side by side on the elliptical at the YMCA, a gross lycra-clad yuppie couple cliche sweating their asses off in unison, when I mentioned to Serge that all his pants are too big and we should head over to Macy's and pick up a new pair. I must've been high on endorphins, is all I can figure, because this is a bold statement, to be sure. No, not even a bold statement, it was dumb as shit. I know better.

We don't have a good track record when it comes to shopping together. I say it's because Serge is beyond picky about clothing; the style, how it fits his body. He says it's because I'm rude and bitchy when shopping. Well, DUH. Are you new to this marriage? I'm always rude and bitchy. In all fairness, you would be rude and bitchy too if you had to shop with this man. Serge would especially be rude and bitchy if he had to shop with himself.

Anyhow, his picky nature made sense when he was on tour with a rock band, frequenting stages around which quivering groupies gathered to stare at his slender yet supple buttocks clad in rock boy attire but, at this point, is fairly strange coming from someone whose uniform for the past several years has been based entirely on jeans that appear to be a size too large and shapeless black or white t-shirts.

Which, fine. I'm certainly not one to talk. My family is lucky to behold me in anything other than pajama pants. 'Dressing up' involves putting on yoga pants, a sports bra and gym shoes. So as to feel healthy and shit. So, to be clear, I am no contender for Project Runway, am probably not even a contender for Star Magazine's "Worst of the Week" but as God is my witness, I can walk into a store and purchase a significant portion of a wardrobe within ten minutes, no muss no fuss. Serge? Not so much. "This doesn't feel right on my shoulders! This hem is weird! Is this supposed to be green? These pants are something The Situation would wear on Jersey Shore. I don't wear red." Seriously. He doesn't wear red.

Now that he's been gyming it for the past several months his pants are floating around his body like a deflated parachute. They're belted up, rolled up and you can't spot an ass with a magnifying glass, so lost is it in the excess of denim hanging from his posterior. So I guess I was excited to actually see his ass again. He's got a nice ass, you know?

We're not in Macey's for thirty seconds when I point out a couple exciting jean colors. And when I say "exciting" I mean they're of the non-blue variety. Khaki and gray, to be exact. But, in Serge's dark blue jean world, this is to be considered exciting. He barely looks sideways before heading straight to a stack of dark, blue jeans that look exactly like his current pair. Or pairs? I don't know. If there is more than one they're all identical.

"I like boot cut." He tells me. "Not low rise. Last time I made the mistake of getting low rise, not boot cut and I hate them."

"But that doesn't make sense." I said. You're talking about two different areas on the jean."

"Here we go."

"No. Seriously. The boot cut refers to the leg of the jean and the low-rise is wear the wai---."

"I'm telling you, last time I got low rise and this time I want to get boot cut."

"That's fine. Get boot cut. But what I'm saying is that boot cut and low-rise refer to different areas of the jean. You could get a low-rise, boot cut jean. They aren't exclusive. So what you're saying doesn't make sense.

"YOU don't make sense."

All I'm trying to say is..."

He isn't listening. He thinks I'm trying to be difficult. I'm not trying to be difficult. You'll know when I'm trying to be difficult because shit will get difficult.

Maybe a little exposition is in order. I don't think I've ever picked out a single item of clothing that Serge likes. Ever. I don't buy clothes for him. Period. On the rare occasions that I have stupidly purchased an item he pretends to like whatever it is and shoves it in a drawer, never to see the light of day again.

The only reason we're in the mall together now attempting to jointly pick out a pair of jeans is that I suppose I wanted to see him wear something different, wanted to see his ass in some jeans that delicately cup its fine as wine curvature.

Instead of ogling cupped curvature I'm standing there in Macy's hissing menacingly at him as he dementedly pecks back and a sales clerk folding shirts nearby pretends not to listen although her raised eyebrows indicate otherwise. Perhaps because we've been there done that so often in the past the futility of our jeans mission immediately becomes as obvious to both of us as a fart in an elevator.

Married nearly ten years. I should've known better. We should've known better. Why would this time be any different? We should know by now that we shouldn't shop together. Specifically, when Serge needs new clothes he should shop alone. Which means he will never get new clothes and if he does get new clothes they'll just look like the old clothes.

Three minutes and thirty seconds in:

"Should we just go?" He says with an expression similar to if he actually had smelled an elevator fart.


We ride home in silence. Which is actually a victory for us as prior shopping trips have ended in, how do I say... further disagreement on the ride home. So yeah. I'll chalk this expedition up as a victory, I guess.

*As always when I write about him, I asked Serge to read this before I published it and when he was finished I commented that he didn't laugh once. His laughter is, to me, highest praise. He replied grimly, "I can't. The whole incident is still too raw for me."

Reader Comments (11)

OH dear lord, my husband is Serge! To a freaking "T"!

February 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Get him a gift card for Lucky Brand and set him loose. He'll find something good in there. :)

February 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereelleroy

Serge, in the words of Mindy Kaling: “Own several pairs of dark wash straight-leg jeans. Don’t get bootcut, don’t get skinny, just a nice pair of Levis without any embellishments on the pockets. No embellishments anywhere. At all. Nothing. Oh my God.”

February 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersherewin

Pick your battles... my mom and dad have been married for 54 years and they bicker constantly. It is a DRAG. Ugh, the negativity that surrounds them, it is thick with >ick<.

February 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I can really appreciate this, I guess it's really difficult to perform the clothing hunt in front of an audience. Some people find it very awkward. I get that. S and I really don't do much else than have dinners out,,,that's it, He won't take me to ANY stores with him, and although most of his clothes are bought online (along with everything else) I have only set foot in a store maybe 2x in 5 years. The last time was in Sears and he left me..wandered off to do his thing while I wound up in front of the TVs wondering where the hell he was. It was just AWKWARD, and i am just about fed up with the whole scene. When I met my friend, he looked as if he were beamed in from a 1980s Ultrabright commercial. Seriously big hair feathered with highlights, dad jeans ( can I call them Mom jeans?) a nice fitting polo shirt. Amazing. The man was 49 and had the body of a 26 year old, It is quite possible he never got out at all before we met. Anyway,there on his feet were the whitest pair of Reeboks I had ever seen. Gleeming. Turns out he had no less than a dozen pair of white Reeboks just like them at home. It was like Jerry Seinfeld. Eventually I bought him Nikes and after 4 years he finally got to them. The other night I noticed he had a really well fitting pair of loose fitting lower rise jeans which I thought brought the man well into this century. He had slipped out and bought them at a local 'department' store. Well well...nice dungarees. Oh I should not say anything because, yes, he was wearing a billabong tee I got him once. Otherwise everything is usually Phillies. Layered Phillie shuff and Dude tees. Anyway I have about run this relationship into the ground with all my wishful thinking, whining and waiting around to go anywhere! Any woman in my shoes would have taken off a long time ago....woe is me. Love sucks. Hey I love your stories, Monica. Don't stop buying him will be surprised. Have a wonderful life and lotsa love.

February 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

So glad to know I'm not alone!

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

I feel your pain. Except, my husband won't wear jeans. At ALL. As in, I've known him for 13 years and he has never, ever worn a pair of jeans in that time. He says they "feel weird." I buy him shirts, that's it. (and most of mine end up in a drawer with the tags still on somewhere as well). It's one of those things I've learned to just...let go.

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLBH

In the words of Mindy Kaling: "Own several pairs of dark-wash straight leg jeans. No embellishments anywhere. At all. Nothing. Oh my god."

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersherewin

maybe the best thing to do is take him and leave him in the men's department alone. lol. I can't pick out anything my husband wears either.

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercharity

My husband doesn't wear red either. In fact, the only colors he WILL wear are blue and grey. He looks like a giant bruise.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElle

My husband is the same way. Wont buy anything with me, and without me he'll come out of the store with an elmer fudd hat and a country shirt which he already owns. He owns piles of band t-shirts and country shirts and never has enough pants. He finally bought a great pair of jeans when I let the cute salesgirl take over. She was helpful but firm and he was too polite to stop her from offering him various pairs to try. He would never have tried any of them if I suggested, but I could care less (his ass looks totally cute in them!) This is the way forward! And it dioesnt have to be a cute girl, he also owns a very nice suit thanks to a lovely, assertive and very camp salesguy. Basically, anyone helping that is not his wife.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEsmeandme

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