The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, October 12, 2006

When Bad Things Happen to Good (and not so good) Yarn

I have a new theory, one developed through tireless thrift store research (i.e, I ran by Value Village on my usual yarn crawl and noticed something that struck me funny. You’ll be pleased to know that I did not acquire any more sweaters to unravel, but we won’t discuss the assortment of wonderful old aluminum and some new bamboo knitting needles I found for .69 a pair, or the two huge stitch holders that I wished I’d had when trying to get all of the back of Bianca on one holder….but I may be digressing a bit.) See, it all starts with men’s sweaters, and my feeling that the world might be a whole lot easier on the eye if men would just learn to say a few necessary things. Follow along with me.

I have never been with a man who purchased sweaters for himself. Not a one. My dad has never bought a sweater in his life, but he owns probably a dozen. Mr. K, as you know, doesn’t own sweaters. And yet, when you go to the thrift store, there are dozens of men’s sweaters which only leaves one possibility: their female loved ones are purchasing the sweaters for them. With me so far? Great. Now, here’s the next part: this display of thrift store sweaters is almost always awe-inspiring in its sheer ugliness. From purple and green acrylic swirls (no, I’m not kidding) to the retina-burning fair isle in shades of blue and orange, made in wool so scratchy you could scour pots with it(seriously, Folks—do you think I could make this stuff up??), it’s a quite dazzling display of fashion “don’t”s and “please, for the love of God, don’t!”s. And I simply refuse to believe that all of the women in all of these men’s lives could possibly be that lacking in taste. Which leads me to one conclusion (and the heart of my theory):

There are a whole passle of women out there, gleefully wrapping the worst sweaters in the history of wool, and giving them lovingly to the men who’ve wronged them, secure in the knowledge that said men will do nearly anything (except apologize, leave the seat down, or pick up their laundry) to make things right—including wearing a neon acrylic monstrosity every time she asks about it until either the relationship ends, or he has learned how to make a convincing “Oh my God—did my beautiful sweater accidentally make it into the Goodwill pile??” face.

Men, it doesn’t have to be like this. Practice a few of the following phrases. If you can’t do it for your significant other, do it for the sheep. You know they’re embarrassed for you.

“I’m sorry, Honey, you were right.”
“Of course those pants don’t make your butt look big—are you nuts? You look amazing!!”
“I think your hair looks great, but go ahead and take some more time if you’re not happy with it. I don’t mind a bit.”
“Yeah, I think I will stop for directions.”
“Leftovers? Awesome—it was so good yesterday!”
“Here, you take the remote.”
“Not every movie has to have a car chase or an explosion to be good. Let’s watch the movie you picked.”
“Oh, I guess she’s okay….if you’re into the 20-something blonde type. Personally, I’d much rather have a real woman like you.”
“What am I thinking about? Mostly how lucky I am to have you.”
“I was thinking of getting you a new blender for Christmas….but that doesn’t seem very romantic. What do YOU want?”
“You had a hard day at work? You tell me about it…I’ll just listen without trying to fix it.”
“Still sexy to me? Are you kidding? You’re more sexy now than the first time I saw you.”
“Don’t worry, Honey. I’ll find my keys. I’m the one who lost them.”
“I noticed the laundry was getting full, so I put a load in. I’ll fold it when it’s all done.”
“Of course I remember. Our anniversary is on (insert CORRECT date here). And I’m already looking forward to a romantic evening with you.”
“Which shoes with that dress? Well, the black ones make your legs look really long and sexy.” (Really, anything other than “I don’t know”, "Who cares, just put something on", or “They look the same to me” is a step up here.)
“Let’s leave now so we can be sure to get there on time.” (My heart beats faster just reading that one.)
“Why don’t we make dinner together?”
“Isn’t it my turn to (walk the dog, change the baby, mow the lawn, or any other less desirable task)?”
“I’m so glad you’re mine.” (Mr. K can melt me with that one, I swear—and I’m pretty darned glad he’s mine, too. Awwwww……)

See guys? Very doable. And the payoff is that you’ll only have to wear quality knitwear going forward. It’s gotta be worth that—I’ve seen the crap you’ve been wearing.

Before I forget, thanks again to all of you interested in the care package exchange. It’s definitely a go. Jill wanted to know what was happening next, so here’s my plan of attack:

Next Friday is the deadline to join our little care party. On that day, I’ll e-mail all of you (so you gotta get me those e-mail addresses) with the name of your gift-ee. I’ll also include their blog address if they have one, and their mailing address. I realize now that I forgot to ask you to send me those…which makes me wonder just how I thought you’d be able to e-mail each other packages. (My mom says I’m smart, but I’m starting to think she’s just being nice.) That same day (next Friday, one week from tomorrow) I’ll also post a questionnaire on my blog regarding likes, dislikes, etc. and I’ll put my own answers in it. Copy it, paste it into your blog, and change my answers to yours. If you don’t have a blog, copy it into your e-mail, change the answers, and send it to me. I’ll get it to your gift-or. Please try to get that done sooner than later so your gift-or has plenty of time to shop for you (more time = better presents, People). From then on, just have fun. Make your care package and mail it to your gift-ee no later than American Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November). If you have a blog, please post a photo of the goodies you get, just ‘cause we’re all so darned nosy. If you don’t, either send me a photo I can post or at least write me something about it. I’ll put it on my blog and you can be my guest blogger for that day.

Sound good? Oh, and if you get Angie (see my comments on my last post), she'd like some extra arms.....perhaps you can find her some.


  • At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Hey Angie, I've got your extra arms (they just seem to be attached to me).

    Can you imagine...all men (hetero anyway, well, hell, all of them) learning those phrases...and *using* them...really quality handknits wouldn't be the only thing they'd be getting.....

  • At 11:41 PM, Anonymous angie cox said…

    Those for me? ..oh gee .That was a really hilarious post as I too haunt charity shops and wonder who the heck bought their man that ! Mine simply will not give in to the Kaffe I have wanted to knit him.So he has sweaters ,mostly from Gap's sale and in navy or grey cotton rib for the most part .He does love Ganseys but I can't face so much plain knitting yet !

  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    You've finally solved the sweater issue! Great thinking!

  • At 7:07 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    And here I was, thinking that Ugly Sweaters are designed by Terminally Cranky People who [if designing for women] hate women [the same people who design boots for women with no calves] or [if designing for men] just broke up with one.


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