Sunday, May 24, 2009


Bold and unusual, yes, but I decided I wanted a change. We had a few hours to ourselves while on holiday in Florida so we headed over to a Big and Tall shop and I picked up a wack of new shirts. I decided to lighten up and picked a yellow shirt, an orange shirt and a white shirt. I typically don't wear any of those colours but I wanted to break out of dark colours. Joe was thrilled and compliments me ever time I put one of the shirts on. I was getting used to being a little bit more sartorially daring.

As we left Halifax, we had one more breakfast on the harbour and then I waited in the lobby with my book as Joe headed up to call for the Bell Guy and arrange for the car to be brought round. I was sitting comfortably with my sippy cup of hot tea beside me. I'd read a few pages and then watch the activity around me in the lobby. I was relaxed and ready to go on the next part of our journey. I was wearing my yellow shirt and was feeling good. Dangerous waters these.

I began reading again and then a shadow came over me and my book, I looked up to see what was blocking the light and saw a kindly face of an elderly woman. She smiled at me and said, 'A little word to the wise, darker colours would suit you much better.' Then she was gone. She dropped her little hint and then motored on without a thought for how her little bit of advice might affect me.

Suddenly, I felt shamed and stupid. I know that bright colours only call attention, that's why I never wore them. Time crawled slowly and beads of sweat ran down my back. I just wanted Joe to show up with the cart, I wanted to get the hell out of there. Soon enough, but not really soon enough, Joe was there and we were in the car and driving out of the city.

A couple times I began to formulate the words to tell Joe what had happened and found that I couldn't. These things sometimes hurt and upset him more than they do me. He gets this 'protective' kind of thing going and I have to direct his energy elsewhere. So, I didn't tell him. Still haven't. I don't know how much of my decision is protecting him from his own anger or my shame at being of the size that people feel free to make hurried hushed comments to ... not sure yet.

Then this morning as we were getting ready to go again, Joe offered me a choice of three clean shirts. Nestled between two dark ones was the light orange one. I almost went for the dark green but then thought ... WTF, I'm 56, I'm fully employed, I'm loved, I'm respected, If I want to wear orange, I'll wear freaking orange.

So for the whole day I wore orange. Not only that, I went shopping in orange, I went for tea in orange, had lunch in orange. I sat tall and wore light colours. I decided that the decisions were mine, why would I give them away. I waited for adulthood so I could make my own decisions. Well, I'm gonna freaking make my own decisions.

And, the coolest thing, I caught a couple people smiling at me today, and you know what I'm sure they were thinking, 'Cool shirt.'


FridaWrites said...

I remember when my son was a few weeks old we ventured forth to a cartoon movie with our daughter. He was a 10 lb baby and already up to 12 pounds. It was *hot* outside. But I carried him in a sling to help distribute his weight between my back and arms and hips with my already fragile/in-pain spine and to make it easier to nurse him without so much pain. But a woman sitting next to me while my husband got tickets was in my face fussing over how hot it was and how he was going to die or something (in the cold air conditioning) from being in "that thing." I finally said, "everyone's an expert." She got huffy and shut up and it's been my line ever since.

I say go for it, wear what you love. My son loves to wear orange--and red and yellow and other bright colors. His favorite shorts in preschool were a flourescent green--except he wanted to wear them with everything, which was a little painful to the eyes (we did have to limit it to certain color families lest nausea ensue).

And I disagree--I think bright colors would look good on you too.

FridaWrites said...

I meant he was born a 10 lb baby and gained 2 lbs in a few weeks. My friends joked about the world's roundest baby born to the mom with the most fragile spine (not quite but almost).

Jenn McWhorter said...

Oh Dave, I'm sorry somebody made you feel bad. :(

I always wear black, either pants or skirt, but that's for the simple reason that black matches ANYTHING and I don't have to THINK about what I'm putting on. My tops are usually bright colors, because I find that bright colors make my mood more bouncy and happy. If I'm in all black, or somber colored shirts, you can be pretty sure I'm on an emotional downswing.

Wear what YOU want to wear! Be the bold, daring, brave and wonderful guy you are, and screw what anybody else says. :)

I'd pay to see a pic of you in your orange tea drinkin' shirt. :D

Kim Aker said...

Hey Dave,
Your wonderful yellow shirt brightened the day on Thursday...I can only imagine the favourite colour as a child...and I still like it. My advice to the lady in the lobby...people with narrow minds should think and then not speak!

Dark Angel said...

I agree totally with Jenn; wear what you want to wear. I f you like it and you think it suits you, go for it.
When I first became a Goth, I was quite insecure about what people would think, especially with the more extreme things. But now I frankly don't care. If I feel like putting on that top with the skulls all over it, then I do. Taste is such a personal thing, it's impossible to please everybody.

Terri said...

I was at a dance in high school and went to the ladies' room. I thought I looked pretty cute, but some old lady rearranged my whole outfit and untied and re-tied the scarf I was wearing... I was stunned.

I walked back out to my friends feeling totally embarrassed and un-confident. One of my friends asked "what happened to you???" When I told her she took me back and said, "now fix up any way you want to be--I'll fend off the old ladies!"

I will never forget it--either the meddling taste-police lady or my good friend. Ignore the naysayers--what they say speaks about them, not you!

Whatshername? said...

What on earth was the 'don't wear orange' lady wearing that gave her the right to do that?


FridaWrites said...

I remember getting really mad at my mom in high school when she wouldn't let me get me a pair of straight leg cropped shorts I had birthday money because they "didn't do anything for me." I was super thin and tall and didn't really see a problem--I saw others taller and proportionally as thin with them who looked fine. I really, really wanted shorts like those.

Anyway, this is where you could legitimately say, "you're a rude, rude woman!" for stress relief.

Anonymous said...

A young and beautiful friend always buys me gifts in orange. One year it was a bright orange wrap to wear around my swimsuit, this year a bright orange beach bag, towel, and flip flops. She knows that my size bothers me and I'd rather fade into the background, maybe she's telling me something.

Go Orange!

Lisa said...

No, they were thinking, "Wow, that guy really looks good in the color".


Lisa said...

Lol, I meant "that" color!


Donna said...

"And 20 years younger would suit you better". Some people...

Belinda said...

Oranje boven! That is Dutch for Orange Rules, (or something like that.) The House of Orange is the Dutch royal family. Welcome to the fam. :)

As for the lady. She isn't.

Anonymous said...

good for you Dave, I stopped wearing black some time ago, i realise when your fat your fat and no matter what you wear people are gonna see you, so now i think to hell with it, i'll wear what i wanna wear and people can say what they want they will any way.

Cynthia F. said...

Woo hoo! Good for you! Bright colors and pastels are de riguer (sp?) here in Los Angeles so be sure to pack them if you get a gig out here!

Oh, and Dave, total non sequitur (sp?), don't know if you saw it in the news up there but there was a squib in the LA Times about how they've found a gene that people with Down's have that seems to protect them from cancer. And this might help us cure some kinds of cancers for everyone. So if it weren't for the existence of people with Down's...just another way making the world inclusive for people with disabilities enriches everyone's lives...

Anonymous said...

Aw heck; at school the other week, there were no less than 2 students and 2 staff members wearing bright orange shirts! (all male) Must be an "in" color this year.

It's summer! People wear bright colors! So be it!

Hey, I need to take a shower (just got off work at the garden center job), and then I'll pull out my Insanely Colorful Hula Girl shirt. (I'm so far behind in life, I've still not yet switched out my winter and summer clothes.)


CJ said...

I hate the fashion police and I love bright colors.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Its a fact - bright colour attracts attention. So whose attention do you want to attract - Joe's? or the busybody little old lady? My money is on Joe - and he apparently likes colourful shirts, and he especially likes them on you.


JP said...

If dark colors were truly magically slimming, I'd be dressed in black 24/7! I'm also a fat woman (and fat is a word that we need to re-claim - it's just an adjective, after all!), and I've never had anyone tell me that I look like I've lost 100 lbs when I wear black from head to toe. I have, however, had people tell me that purple makes my eyes look greener, and that green makes my hair look redder! Wear what makes you happy, Dave. Life is too short - celebrate it while you can by wearing a full spectrum of colors (but, perhaps not all at the same time!).

Saying that I love YOU would be untrue, as I only know you from your writings and your appearances. However, I can say that I love the you that you choose to share with your audience. Thank you for being one of the bright colors in my life!

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of Eleanor Roosevelt and she once wrote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Please don't allow self-appointed fashion police into your head. That woman was beyond rude and way out of line. I am certain you are handsome as hell in orange.