On Not Being Very Helpful

Apparently, my wife has some kind of event tomorrow she needs to look fabulous for, so we went through our usual ritual of her modeling a variety of outfits and soliciting my opinion of their relative merits.  This is hard for me for a couple of reasons.  First, I have no fashion sense (I was an engineer for god sakes).  Second, I have terrible visual memory.   I absolutely dread going to the eye doctor because I can't do those "which is clearer, A or B" tests.  The moment I see B, my mind totally purges what A looked like.  I have the same problem with helping my wife.  If I say I like an outfit, she'll ask if its better than the green outfit I saw a while back.  She might as well ask me the name of my 2nd grade PE teacher. 

Anyway, at the end I eventually say -- yeah, that's definitely the one.  Which is something I learned from golf.

Golf is the most mental of all games.  I can prove that in a simple way - in what other professional sport is every athlete accompanied by a paid psychologist (called a "caddy")?  Caddies will often discuss A or B choices with their golfers.  The golfer might say he wants to hit a soft 7-iron and the caddy will reply that he favors a hard-8.  Anyway, once a good caddy realizes his player has decided on the soft-7, he is supposed to go into support mode:  "That's it.  That's exactly the right club.  Put a good swing on it."

My error tonight was relating this golf caddy analogy to my wife during our discussion of whether she should wear the bustier and the fishnet stockings or the leather outfit with the bare midriff (just kidding, these were unfortunately not the choices I was presented with).  When I finally told her that she definitely had the right outfit, that she had made the right choice, etc., she seems to have lost some confidence in my opinion.  The bright side is that this may be yet another victory for the learned-male-helplessness task-avoidance strategy.


  1. Joe:

    I have a similar problem. But perhaps not as bad. I can make it through two visual comparison. So what I do is say A is good. B is better than B so now it's B. When I look at C i go for a snap decision as to it or B. A's already history.

  2. Anna:

    I'm an engineer, too, and a female at that. If something is not within the realm of any of my immediate interests, it's like it doesn't even exist. I'm so bad at noticing things that I didn't notice my grad advisor's secretary was pregnant (and I saw her almost every day) until one day when she was standing sideways to me as I was walking down the hall. I then committed another faux pas when I unthinkingly asked, "Are you pregnant?" She just laughed and said, "Yes, and I'm due in two weeks!"

    I'm hopeless when it comes to fashion, and it has to be really bad when my husband (a physician) has a better sense of which clothes I should wear than I do. I guess I'm lucky (and my spouse, too) that I'm not the male in the partnership because then I'll be in the same pickle as you.

  3. Craig:

    You should take pictures of each outfit, post them here, and let us vote. It will save you the indecision, and the consensus of a large reader pool will ensure she makes the right choice.