Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

My Rumpled Look out; My New Wife In

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

My Rumpled Look out; My New Wife In

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

The socks put me over the top.

We were in the parking lot outside the University of North Florida's University Center, making last-minute adjustments before going in for a big, semiformal dinner.

Robin, my new wife, brushed a strand from my new haircut off the collar of my new shirt. Then she adjusted the knot in my new tie. I grabbed my new belt, hitched up my new pants, pulled on my new blazer, sprayed myself with my new cologne and grabbed my new shoes out of the back seat of my new car.

Then I tried to slip the shoes over my old socks.

I buy my socks at a sporting goods store -- white running socks for everyday wear, black running socks for formal occasions. Running socks are thick and comfortable.

My new Cole Haan shoes -- I'm told they're the Rolls Royce of shoes -- wouldn't slip over them without a fight. As I grunted and sweated, Robin reassured me, "We'll go shopping for some new socks this weekend."

And, for just an instant, my normally sweet disposition vanished and my genetic cheap streak asserted itself.

"I'm not paying $10 for socks."

But that mood quickly passed and the makeover of Charlie Patton continues. Much has been accomplished, but there's so much more to do. I'm still a work in progress.

I'm resigned to this, as most men are. As my friend Cecilia Werber recently explained to me, "Every man is a work in progress; all he needs is a good woman."

Eighteen months ago, I was single and styleless.

Beige, rumpled and happy.

My clothes weren't inexpensive, exactly, but they were neglected. They tended to be shapeless, a little frayed, a touch wrinkled. Like me.

None of this made me remarkable. Many men, most men even, when allowed to live alone without the moderating influence of women, begin to resemble unmade beds. …

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