Sunday, June 3, 2012

Life as a Clergy Wife: See It Painted Black

In my own feeble defense, I was a little distracted by the look on my future husband's face, so I was a bit slow on the uptake that fine summer evening.

Five seconds earlier, we had crossed the threshold of Jos. A. Bank and already he was manifesting the blank look of panic that accompanies dissociation-in-progress. He was leaving his 42-long body before even looking at new jackets, let alone trying anything on.

I'm filled with compassion, but also on task during our first clothes shopping trip as a couple. Cozy. For me, anyway.

"I'm very good at this, want me to take over?

He nods yes, smart man. Moments later, I'm flipping through jacket options like my family had been in the schmatte trade for centuries. Two for one on jackets? Buy two get one free on slacks? Game on. Bring it.

"Here's a nice hounds-tooth with a blue that will highlight your eyes."

"Okay and I need black."

"Check out the muted herringbone. It'll go well with taupe trousers."

"Okay and I need black."

Unreal, even more so because we're in Baltimore, not New York City. For the record, I'll take Manhattan.

I shoot the saleswoman a look, the kind of look that passes between women in men's clothing departments. She has already approved the two jackets I've selected and explained how they look much better than the one he chose -- in a fugue state.

"How about a new blue blazer? The one you have is looking a bit . . . ratty." 

I'll wait until after we're married before mentioning the so-wrongness of things like nautical-themed faux brass buttons.

"No, I need black." 

"Jeez, what's with the black thing? Planning to go to lots of funerals or what?"

Dead silence. A glimpse of reality. The World to Come.


  1. Give the guys a break! He's clergy ... black is *always* the right answer! Some days I wear black, other days I wear black. Sometimes, just to liven things up, I wear black.

  2. So, David, you do not buy festive striped clergy shirts from Almy? His closet has those, too, plus a short sleeved one styled in such a way that I can't resist saying, "The dentist will see you now." Rough room, I know.

  3. Striped?? No. Nope. Not happening. I have lots of black clericals, a couple gray clericals, and one white clerical shirt for dress occasions like weddings. That is all. If black clericals were good enough for Jesus, they are good enough for me. Harumph.

  4. Ohm I love this post! I trust there are more where this one came from.

    BTW I am betting that Jesus wore stripes on occasion or at least a cloak of many colors!

  5. I used to wear black. Found it separated me too much from parishioners. Holy, but "unapproachable," too. Besides, it's too hot in Texas. Now I wear shorts and t-shirt. Me in black means you have died or, on rare days, the bishop is here on Sunday. I do have a "jimmy buffett" parrot clergy shirt.
    However, if David wears black, I may have to up my game.

  6. So, you married Johnny Cash, masquerading as an Episcopal Clergy. Hmm...Let's see, your options are, well, colorful for YOU since you now have a steady black pallet against which your reds, pinks, and lavenders will gleams - if colors can gleam!

  7. I happen to look fabulous in black and wear it almost exclusively during the winter, except if I'm around bishops, in which case I break out the pink/scarlet/purple/red. What the heck!


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