I fall into the 99 percent of the human population who look better wearing some sort of garment. As for the rarified minority who look better naked, you needn’t wonder if you’re among their ranks. There are modeling scouts and porn producers on constant lookout for those people. If one of these representatives has not approached you, it’s safe to say you’re not in the club, and you should probably cover yourself.

But back to my husband’s clothes. The constant influx of new cardigans, t-shirts, and trousers eventually outgrew the bedroom closet, then the extra dresser, and finally the laundry room. A new plan emerged. Measurements were gathered. Trips to IKEA were made.

Now his underused home office has been transformed into a dressing room. Because he’s worked for the company for 10 years, virtually his entire wardrobe is the same brand. It looks like a men’s boutique that only sells clothing in one size. Not a very solid business model, but it’s visually quite appealing.

Our friends are jealous of Preppy’s dressing room. Hell, I envy the damn thing, and I buy most of my clothing at Plato’s Closet and Value Village. You could set fire to half my wardrobe and only do a hundred dollars’ worth of damage: I have no need of a dedicated space.  And yet I covet the luxury and all it implies.

Joan Crawford had a dressing room. Debbie Reynolds has a dressing room. A dressing room says, “I have an image to uphold. In order to meet the world’s expectations, I require square footage.” I find it compelling that I am married to a man who can defensibly make this assertion.

I got an email recently from a reader who reminded me of a column I wrote, in which I stated that Preppy and I were on a two-year plan to leave Atlanta and move on to the next adventure. The column was written in March 2011, which I could scarcely believe. Where exactly does the time go? The reader asked whether we were still on track with plans to depart. I’d completely forgotten we’d intended to do so, because I don’t read my old columns and tend to forget things that happen in the real world.

Does the fact that our feet have only sunk deeper into Georgia clay in the last two years mean that I’m a liar, a failure, or a lying failure? Should we have thrown caution to the wind and run off in search of something better? I put a great deal of thought into this, and reached a definitive conclusion.


There might be something better out there, some new locale which would have sent our lives in unimagined directions. There may still be such a destination; only time will tell. But in the last two years, without making any grand declarations, we decided to take on the challenges directly in front of us — I got better at my job, Preppy got better at his, and we became better for each other. That kept us plenty busy.

I created the best work of my life in the last two years. The dog learned both “sit” and “lie down.” Preppy became the sort of VIP who requires a dressing room. Whether there’s something better elsewhere is not what enthralls us these days. We’re too busy finding out how much better things can get right where we are.


Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life.” Find out more at www.topherpayne.com

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