Betty Duffy

Friday, October 9, 2009

Snooty's Suit

Standing at the ironing board I begin to press my husband’s suit pants for a fancy dinner we will be attending. A dusty crease has formed from the hangar on which they’ve hung for the past several months. The suit is ancient, older than our marriage, picked out by his ex-girlfriend before me. No one in his family liked her, so they called her Snooty, and I can’t help but think that this suit is Snooty’s suit.

I don’t resent that Snooty picked out the suit. She had good taste. She was a doctor, and my husband had dated her for over a year. Her father was starting to hint around that he needed to pee or get off the pot.

It was sort of pathetic really, poor Snooty. I came home from the convent and went out to eat with my husband. “An old friend has come back into town,” he told her. Within a week he had broken things off with her. But the clothes remain: a shirt that’s a little frayed around the collar, a dated tie, and two suits. She insisted that he wear his sleeves down and buttoned at the wrist, and I was the most generous and laid back woman in the world for liking his sleeves rolled up.

At the end of a relationship, it’s customary to toss out any remaining artifacts. I personally threw away the smarmy picture of the two of them in their flannel button down shirts on a hike in Brown County, and her portrait which sat framed on his television. They didn’t write each other letters, but there was a remaining Christmas letter she’d written to her friends telling how the two of them had met and hinting that this one might be the one. Well, he wasn’t.

Ten months after that initial dinner, my husband and I were married.

I was cheap enough in the early days, however, that if a woman who went before me purchased four hundred dollars worth of suiting in order to ensure that the man who would ultimately dump her for me was well-dressed, I would keep the suiting, and say, “Thank you, Snooty.”

Ironing the suit today, though, seeing the yellow hue the suit-lining has acquired, smelling the old wool smell, it suddenly feels appropriate to throw away these final artifacts of his life before me, and to buy him a suit that fits my own taste. After ten years, I’m finally a little bit tired of how this woman dressed my husband.

In my secret heart, I think she was too generous in the upper arms, too loose in the thigh. With cash in hand, I’d cut his suit a little leaner.

1 comment:

Pentimento said...

I still have the dining room table that belonged to my first husband. In a perfect world I'd replace it, but we can't afford to right now.