August 22, 2012

The Clothes that Make the Man Just Make Me Crazy

The Mister did not marry me for my domestic abilities. There are days when I wonder why he married me at all. If not for comic relief, I think he'd be looking for my replacement. Saying that I am less than enthusiastic about all things housewifely would be a gross understatement. After all, this is 2012, not the 1950s. I can't be expected to don pearls and a nice dress and act all subservient - if I did that, The Mister would think that I can comprehend and follow directions and expect obedience and other ridiculous stuff like cooked meals and folded laundry and shiny bathtubs. I'm here to tell you, it ain't happenin'. I can manage to successfully complete one of three tasks, which is pretty impressive - if I were a baseball player, I'd be preparing my speech for my induction at Cooperstown.

Anyway, the bossy fellow started a new job this week. Bright and early Monday morning, he walked into the living room all decked out in business-style attire. New dress pants, perfectly creased (not by me). Shoes carefully shined (also not by me). And a button-down shirt that displayed a garden variety of greasy stains across the midsection. He stands in front of me, awaiting my approval.

"Stained." His shirt was unacceptable. Dejected, he fetches another shirt from the bedroom closet and puts it on.


A third shirt, and a fourth...same result. He really should turn on the lights before dressing - unless I'm asleep. If that's the case, he should hone his ninja qualities and silently dress in the dark and depart.

I think it's important for me to note here that these shirts resided in the bedroom closet before I arrived on the scene, and I had absolutely nothing to do with The Mister's prowess at competitive food spillage. I may be a whiz with laundry, and know my way around a spray bottle of Shout, but try as I might, I am completely unable to remove stains that may have originated during the Clinton administration. 

The Mister returns with a long-sleeved dress shirt that was purchased within the last year. 

"Ah, much better." There were no stains gracing the fabric. The Mister looked perfectly presentable...and I felt like I was sending another child off to his first day of school. The Mister planned on shopping for new shirts on his way home from work so that he would not have to toil in soiled clothing.

He returned on Monday evening with four dress shirts - two long-sleeved, and two short-sleeved. He asked me if I would iron the white long-sleeved shirt. 

As The Boy is in school, and The Mister is now working, I have hours of unstructured time to fill. Ironing is not on any to-do list ever written by me, but I figured since he's bringing home the paycheck, the least I could do was make sure he's presentable and professional-looking. It's not like I'm agreeing to all that happy housewife nonsense.

Before I knew it, midnight rolled around and I remembered my promise. I had no trouble locating the iron and setting up the Martha Stewart ironing board. I guess there are some jobs you don't forget how to do, no matter how often you feign ignorance.

I glance at the shirt tag before setting the iron's temperature. 


I haven't been in Spanish class in almost 40 years, but I know the word cotton when I see it.

I didn't even know stores sold shirts that were 100% cotton in this century. The Mister, always happy to find a bargain, paid only $14 for each shirt...BECAUSE NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WANTS TO IRON DRESS SHIRTS SINCE PERMA-PRESS SHIRTS WERE INVENTED BACK WHEN I WAS A CHILD! Even the besmirched Clinton-era shirts were of the permanent press variety.

To prove my point, Wikipedia says this:

Advances in producing permanent press fabrics involved a series of agents that crosslink the cellulose-based fibers that comprise most clothing. Initial agents included formaldehyde. Starting in the 1940s a series of urea-formaldehydederivatives were introduced. Technical issues overcome included yellowing, odor, and the tendency of some agents to accelerate the degradation of fabrics by bleaches.[3][4] The technology advanced especially rapidly in the early 1990s.[5][6]

No wonder the shirts were only $14! Even with the iron on the 'Cotton' setting, I could not get all of the wrinkles out. Every time I re-positioned the shirt to iron further, new wrinkles appeared in the sections I had just ironed. I did the best I could and hoped that The Mister's eyesight would not be so sharp in the morning.

Was it wrong of me to wish that a vat of cold tomato sauce would assault the shirt during lunch?

Last night, the bewitching/ironing hour occurred again. The second shirt, also long-sleeved, has thin multi-colored stripes. It reminded me of a pajama shirt. I thought it should have been sold with a pair of slippers and a cocoa mug gift set.

Courtesy of
The Mister does not appreciate my reasoned opinion on his fashion sense. Those business types, they're so sensitive.

Ironing the second shirt (which also sported the ALGODON tag) was a bigger headache than the white shirt. I don't know where this particular manufacturer bought their cotton, but it was obviously a genetically-modified plant that featured superb wrinkling and puckering qualities, sort of like the Madras shirts my brother wore (and I ironed) in the 70s.

I have not looked at the tags on the other shirts - it's too disheartening to think about how many years of ironing I have to look forward to until The Mister retires. The only thing that  has pulled me out of my funk is Googling recipes that may cause these shirts will soon be NSFW*.

*Not Suitable for Work, which may get me some views from porn addicts blog readers who prefer "naughty" content.


  1. starch is your friend with those types of shirt starch and a spray bottle of water as they press easier and stay that way when you start with them damp.

  2. Run to the nearest thrift shop and buy permanent press replacements. He'll never know.

  3. I'm with glnroz. Years ago, I was informed that my ironing skills were "less than..." Since then, I iron nothing, not even my stuff! I also like the idea of replacing the shirts with like ones from a thrift shop, or merely adding to the collection. Great post! Congrats on the new job!

  4. Ok. It is obvious that the fix for this is not more ironing but going out and purchasing him the proper shirts!!

  5. " I can't be expected to don pearls and a nice dress and act all subservient"
    Too bad.... that would be really, really hot!

    I used to iron all my shirts and pants. The Air Force issued non-permanant-press-everything. Since leaving the service I have carefully chosen perm-press only apparel. I've never asked any of my many wives to iron for me, primarily because I assumed I was actually much better at it (through nine years of near-daily experience) than they would ever be.
    Over the last few years I've taken to ordering work shirts online at JC PENNY, eliminating the need to even go shopping for them. And of course I make sure the shirts are perm-press.
    I'm not bragging, just trying to make a point:
    You married poorly.

  6. hahahaha. can you even imagine being a wife in the 50's. I would have probably been just a much a rebel back then and I am now.

  7. As weird as this sounds, one of my favorite chores has always been ironing. There's something about being able to not have anyone bother you (no one in their right mind comes near an ironer, lest they be given their own turn!) and seeing the wrinkles disappear. Place the board in a breezy doorway and it's wonderful. For 100% cotton shirts, here's a little trick that makes ironing shirts fly. A light sprinkling of water, then put them in the refrigerator, overnight. Yup. Beautiful results. Every time. Good luck.

    If that doesn't make your day brighter, follow the advice above and get your butt to the Thrift shop for replacements and/or order online from Penny's. Remember: Tuesday is ironing day, if you want to be traditional! 8-) Come visit when you can.


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