1970’s Polyester, Part I

Get a leisure suit from J.C. Penney!

If there’s one thing we Boomers have in common, it was the fact that we likely donned clothing made of the chemical composition known as polyester circa 1973.

Once upon a time, feeling the urge for a career change, I fancied myself becoming a full-time freelance writer. But it’s a tough way to make a living. You spend as much time hustling up business as you do creating. Instead, I became a computer geek (at the age of forty, any of you Boomers who are contemplating a career change yourselves!).

Anyhow, I penned the following piece several years ago. It was published in a few regional magazines, so there’s a microscopic chance you may have seen it. It’s a perfect lead in to tomorrow’s column on the history of polyester.

Humor is in the eye of the beholder. Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I give myself a paper cut. Comedy is when you fall into a hole, and die.” Now, that’s funny!

Sometimes though, it is difficult to see the humor in certain situations.

Take my son, for example. He is six years old, and just beginning to take pride in his appearance. Translated, that means that he is no longer satisfied with cheap tennis shoes, but insists upon L.A.Gears that light up when you walk. Fortunately, both sets of grandparents are within a few miles, so that most of the name brand purchases are taken care of at no financial pain to me. My fashion conscious son went to a dress up occasion the other night with his pants on backwards. Yes, the zipper was in the back. I asked him if a little alarm didn’t go off somewhere when he reached down to zip his fly, and found himself reaching behind him. I didn’t get an answer. I also got absolutely no indication that he found anything about his dilemma the least bit funny.

I guess he inherited his sartorial tendencies from his father. My wife must allow plenty of time to get ready to go somewhere fancy. Why? Because she has to dress herself, her two children, and her husband.

I guess that I just don’t have good fashion sense. To me, clothing is something that society requires, sort of like license plates on the car. As far as I’m concerned, blue jeans, white socks, tennis shoes, and beer logo t-shirt should prove adequate for any social occasion. My wife, however, doesn’t agree.

Long coat suits never go out of style!

Occasions do arise where I am forced to wear a suit. Here is where I get lost. Did you realize that polyester is no longer in fashion?

When my wife and I got married eleven years ago, one of her first acts as Manager of Household Affairs was to open my closet and remove every piece of formal clothing that I owned and place them in a plastic bag. She displayed several interesting emotions that I noted while observing her mission. There was the most common one, dismay. Another one that came up frequently was hysterical laughter. Stupefied astonishment was also demonstrated. The one that made me nervous was when she simply stared at the tie that I wore for my high school senior picture with a blank expression that lasted about sixty seconds. Then, she roused herself and looked at me with another visage that seemed to imply a combination of pity, contempt, and possibly regret that she had gotten herself into a hopeless situation.

She held this look on me for what seemed like several minutes, and finally found it in herself to speak. “Did…you..pick this…..tie out…..yourself?

“Uh..yeah…why do you ask?” I uneasily replied.

I never got an answer. She picked up the bag of clothes and started for the door.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“Come with me”, she replied in a cold voice.

She threw the sack into the trunk of the car and pointed to the passenger side door. I very quickly jumped in.

She drove out of town a couple of miles and turned down a dirt road. Several twisting, winding curves later, she stopped in front of an open field. She shut off the engine, got out, and opened the trunk. She reached in and grabbed a shovel and gave it to me.

“I want a hole at least four feet deep, big enough for that sack to fit into.”

“But Honey”, I pleaded, “Can’t we just throw it into a dumpster?”

“Are you crazy? And risk someone finding them and maybe wearing them?” She had that…look. I quietly dug the hole.

Afterward, we drove straight to the mall. She took me into a clothing store. Thirty minutes later, I had a new set of dress clothes. “What kind of fabric is this?” I asked. “Is it something new?”

“It’s called wool, Dear. They get it from sheep.”

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