I bought a tuxedo about five years ago, and I have worn it a grand total of one time.
I must admit that I look good in it. I don't look good very often, so I need to get in to my tux now and again. To be honest, I look for black-tie events. Unfortunately, in five years, there has only been one. I'm not sure what that says about my life.
Now that I think about it, I am not sure why I bought the darn thing.
Opportunity knocked on my tux's door last week when Cheryl and I were invited to the annual fundraiser for Pallotti High School. Pallotti is a small Catholic High School several towns away. It just so happens that my brother Jeff is in his first full year as principal and president of the school.
Before I go on, don't you just love "getting invited" to fundraisers. Let's face it, you are not getting invited because the host wants you to attend the fundraiser. They want you... and your wallet... to attend. You could be an axe murderer with a big checkbook, and you are in. In fact, I think that I met an axe murderer while in line to get a drink. It may work out for me though... I slipped him my card, advised him that he should put his axe away and call me on Monday.
On a side note, I bet the axe murderer is typing on his wife's blog about the fundraiser he attended on behalf of Pallotti High School on Saturday, and he is writing that "you could be a lawyer with a big checkbook and you're in... In fact, while I was in line to get a drink, some shyster slipped me his card, told me to put away my axe and to call him on Monday."
Anyway, back to my tux....
My sister-in-law, Theresa, advised that this was a black-tie affair. You remember Theresa; she is my arch nemesis. Anyway, the prospect of a black-tie affair was very exciting because, as I mentioned earlier, I look good in my tux. My only concern was what would Cheryl wear? Sometimes, I worry if she can keep up with me in my full tuxedo mode. I got over that quickly and decided that, for this one night, I would focus on the two of us... just my tuxedo and me!
Alas, my brother called and dashed all of my hopes and dreams. He advised that although he was going to rent... that is right, I said rent... a tux, most people were going to be in suits. SUITS! I wear a suit every day. I am tired of wearing suits. I wear suits so often that my secretaries know all of my ensembles. It is the talk of the office whenever I buy a new tie. I am bored with suits.
I confronted my sister-in-law about her faulty information regarding the attire. She pointed out that at last year's fundraiser, some folks wore suits and some folks wore jeans.
JEANS! DID YOU SAY JEANS?
Yes, but let me finish, she continued. This year they are doing a Hollywood theme and they are trying to make it more of a formal affair. You should wear your tux.
All I heard was jeans. The tux was out. You see, my desire to look good... have I mentioned that I look good in a tux?... was outweighed by my fear of standing out in the crowd as the only goofball wearing a tux in a room full of cowboys.
On the day of the "big event" (I purposely put big event in lower case with quotes because I no longer was excited to attend) Matthew had a double-header so we were running a bit late. That is when I got the text from my brother.
Wear your tux. Your friend Dave is here, and he is wearing his.
I was very wary about this new information. I laid both my tux and a dark suit on my bed and pondered. I can't go wrong with the suit. However, I could look like an idiot in a tux.
All of my 7th grade insecurities flooded my brain. Who am I kidding... 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade insecurities flooded my brain. Surprisingly, I was awful insecure back then. Perhaps some of that has spilled over into my adult life... Nah! I don't see it!
You know, when you only wear something once every five or six years, you forget stuff.
Little stuff like... a tuxedo shirt needs cufflinks... and... it requires additional black buttons to hide the ordinary plastic buttons. The supplemental buttons and the cufflinks had been carefully put away five years ago in a special place so I would remember where they were. You know that place, don't you? It is special and would never be forgotten. After a twenty-minute search, Cheryl found them right where I had left them.
Then we had to get on the internet to find out how, exactly, do you wear this thing? Do you wear the bow tie with the vest, or can you wear the necktie with the vest... and if not, where is my cummerbund? At my age, you wouldn't think that I would need to research how to wear clothes, but you would be wrong. FYI... I went with the vest and the necktie and guess what... I looked good!
Better than I remembered five years ago, I might add.
Cheryl wore something, I think. I really wasn't paying attention to her.
My mother accompanied us and on the drive over, I asked her...
Mom, with no other siblings around, just among the three of us (the four of us, if you count my tux), wouldn't you admit that I am your most attractive child? Go ahead, you can say. We won't tell the others.
Surprisingly, she hesitated and then said in her sweet little Grandma voice... Noooo, I wouldn't say that.
Ouch, Mom, I must admit, that kind of hurts a little bit!
Another pause... No no, it really doesn't have to... It shouldn't hurt.
She is old and she can't hear, she can't see and she is crazy.
Undaunted, I went into the BIG AFFAIR (notice the caps) with supreme confidence. Then I saw Dave in the ugliest tuxedo that I have ever seen. It was beige... with a green tie. No vest. No cummerbund. No cuff links. No stupid little black buttons.
Why, that is no tuxedo, that is a suit! Dave was wearing a run-of-the-mill beige suit. He looked good... but not tuxedo good!
Cheryl pointed out that Dave's brother-in-law was wearing a tuxedo. Big deal, he's the vice principal at the school. She pointed out another gentleman in a tuxedo. Big deal, he was the emcee. She pointed out another... deejay. And yet another... waiter. Then she pointed out my brother and commented, Wow! That tuxedo looks good on him; he should buy it and wear it every day; he looks so good!
On the heels of my mother's slight, I found Cheryl's comments to be a bit offensive and was going to give her a hard time. But, before I could say anything, some guy came over to me and handed me his empty beer bottle and asked if I could fetch him another cold one.
My tuxedo and I were not having a good time.
I confronted my brother and he said that he had never sent me a text about what Dave was wearing.
THERESA! I should have guessed.
She purposely sabotaged my entire night. She probably even manipulated my mother and that's why dear ol' mom wouldn't give me my props. Theresa denied any wrongdoing and she honestly thought Dave was wearing a tux. Apparently, like my mother, Theresa is old, can't hear, can't see and she is crazy.
Well, like most stories, this one has a silver lining. Pallotti raised a lot of money... but that is not the silver lining.
No... the silver lining was... I looked good!