I’m familiar with this lament, of course – we’ve been on enough cruises for it to be a common occurrence. However, I’ve never heard myself utter them. As the male in the household it’s always been my role to be sympathetic and supportive on those occasions (generally pre-cruise) when my much-loved wife needed to “try on last year’s dresses”. The sympathy would come as yet another dress was flung into the corner, and the encouragement would be when a different dress would be declared as being perhaps not totally unwearable. But this year there’s been a certain amount of role reversal going on.
It all began with the realisation that Azura has “Smart, jacket required” evenings. On previous cruises I’ve worn a blue linen jacket with white stripes, but at some point this last winter this was thrown out – it had got too baggy and ratty. (Linen, you see.) So obviously a new jacket was required. Then when starting to lay out clothes for packing I finally admitted that my dress shirts had gone yellow with age – although I haven’t worn them often, they were ten years old.
Off we went on a shopping trip to MeadowHell. Could I find a decent jacket? No. In fact the situation got worse. I’d put on the trousers and shirt that I used to wear with the old linen jacket, and on observing myself in M&S’s mirrors, I had to admit that they no longer cut the mustard – ‘shapeless’ and ‘baggy’ were two adjectives that could be fairly applied. So that meant that I needed shirts, jacket, and now trousers.
There then followed the sort of shopping trip that I’ve experienced with Val – racing around from shop to shop, not finding anything, and all the time being aware of the two clocks ticking – a) the mall was closing in about 30 minutes, and b) there was barely a week to the cruise. Finally we found a jacket – blue with white stripes, in fact – but not in my size. Perhaps we could buy it on-line? – it was a designer label (OK, not a label I’d ever heard of , but hey! designer label ….) and it was 50% off, which meant that it just about came in at the top of my budget. So back home to hit the internet where we found that the jacket was available in my size, and was duly ordered.
Thereafter things went swimmingly. A further trip to MeadowHell ensured a few days later; we collected the jacket; and then, with the jacket to match against, a couple of pairs of trousers were quickly found. And then two new dress shirts as well, with a 50% reduction on the second because I was buying two. I have to say, there was a considerable feeling of satisfaction when we exited the mall carrying all that shopping – I begin to see why the ladies do it so much.
So I now have ‘something to wear’. However, it has begin to dawn on Val that because she spent all last weekend chasing around with me, she hasn’t done the “trying on last year’s dresses” thing yet; and since we leave in a few days, there’s no time to remedy the situation if (!) any of last year’s dresses are found wanting. Never mind, she’s said: there are all those shops on Azura. Ah, yes, so there are; and three sea days at the start of the cruise in which to hit them. Perhaps I’ll retire to the Glasshouse while she’s shopping, and offer encouragement from there…