Let’s Not Get Too Formal


When some good friends got married more than thirty years ago, I found myself stuck with wearing a tuxedo. Yuck! I’d never worn one before. I’d never attended a prom and wouldn’t have worn one then anyhow, and I bought a nice suit to wear at my first wedding.

I’m definitely not a formal person in any sense of the word. I wear jeans seven days a week and put on something slightly dressier only for the most special of occasions. Like when our choir director makes us wear black slacks/skirts and white shirts/tops for the Christmas musical.

Guys are also supposed to wear Christmassy ties. But I partially, uh, skirt those requirements because I’m sitting off to the side playing bass guitar where I’m not really seen. I wear black slacks all right, but a white turtleneck. No tie.

As you can see, formality–especially regarding apparel–isn’t my thing.

So when my daughter got married five-and-a-half years ago, I had to deal with the second tux of my life. That meant I’d made it approximately twenty-five years since the first tux. Not too bad, I guess. People are so used to seeing me NOT dressed up that the compliments about how nice I looked flew in right and left. Maybe so, but that didn’t change my distaste for tuxes.

It’s been almost a year now since my third–and final, I hope–up close and personal encounter with a tux. Good friends Stan and Ashley were getting married, and Kathleen and I were both members of the wedding party. I couldn’t turn that down, even to avoid wearing a tux.

I got fitted for it–an almost painstaking procedure–but I either couldn’t pick the tux up until too close to the wedding for adjustments or simply failed to try it on.

Hmm. The pants were adjustable. Just one problem. At their tightest, they were still too big around the waist. The groom had the same problem. But he couldn’t keep his hands in his pockets most of the time to hold his pants up. I could and I did.

Almost immediately after the ceremony, I literally slipped those pants off–I didn’t even have to unfasten them–and put the jeans I’d worn to the venue back on. Although I was the only informally clad member of the wedding party when we were introduced at the reception, at least I didn’t have to keep my hands in my pockets any longer.

Kathleen and I agree about informality. And we agree it would be a waste to pay for coffins when we die, especially to be put in our dressiest clothes first. So initially we decided to be cremated after donating whatever of our organs might prove useful to somebody else. But why bother with cremation when we could donate our bodies to science?

Some of you may be horrified at the thought of our bodies being disposed of that way, but not us. We’ll be dead then. Our bodies, anyhow. Our souls will be in Heaven, where the condition of our earthly bodies won’t make a bit of difference.

Heaven is a perfect place. I have no doubt Kathleen and I will be wearing denim again. Eternally.

How do you feel about tuxedos or dressing up in general? I know some people actually enjoy it, while others are at least not opposed to it. How about sharing a comment?

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Best regards,

My Version of Formality

w5   w3   Singing   PastorPamUs

I didn’t wear jeans when I was a kid. I’m not sure any of my friends did, either. Even when I made it to high school and college, jeans weren’t cool yet. At least, if they were, I wasn’t.

I can’t recall when I started wearing jeans, but it was probably during the latter 1960s or early 1970s, when all kinds of colorful and informal clothes were the rage. I’ll never forget my plaid fringed vest or my matching multi-colored striped vest and bell bottom pants. But they weren’t jeans.

I do, however, recall a denim suit–very nice, very soft and smooth. If anything, though, it was too dressy.

I’ve never been what most people would consider a formal person.

I avoided ties when I was teaching, to the disgust of the supervisor who sat in on my classes periodically. Although forced to wear them when working at the Maryland Job Service office–the office manager wouldn’t even let me wear a turtleneck–I turned an image of a tie upside down and posted it on my website so it would move back and forth across the screen, but only during work hours on week days.

Or did that happen while I was at the International Mission Board before they finally loosened the dress code some and actually started having Casual Dress Fridays? Not that jeans were permitted then.

I’ve only worn a tux on three occasions–for weddings not my own. Rusty, Kristi, and Stan, I hope you appreciate it. I only wore a nice suit–I had to buy one because I didn’t already have one–for the wedding to my first wife. I’ll never cease to be thankful she didn’t insist on a tux.

My wedding to Kathleen was totally informal, though. As you can see from the first two pictures shown above, we wore jeans and denim shirts over t-shirts. That wedding took place in the social hall of our church during what was normally the Wednesday night Bible study. Nice and informal, but very meaningful. She and I sang a song I’d written for the occasion.

That was the “official” wedding.

Kathleen’s family couldn’t come to Richmond for the informal wedding, though, so we had a slightly dressier wedding in her mom’s Methodist church when we went for a visit at the end of that month–the right-hand two photos. But at least Kathleen didn’t make me wear a tie. She helped me pick out a really dressy looking pullover–she calls it a sweater; I don’t. We also both wore the wooden cross necklaces I’d made.

The only time I’ve worn a tie during the almost thirteen years we’ve been married was when our choir director insisted on it for the presentation of the Christmas musical, when we had too many additional singers to put everyone in a choir robe. I had to go out and buy a white shirt–and a Christmas-themed tie. I’ve been playing bass guitar in the musical ever since and get away with a white turtleneck.

No open caskets with me wearing a suit, either. Kathleen and I are both donating our bodies to science. Uh, not till the time comes, of course. If for some reason we’re not deemed suitable when they take a closer look at us, then we’ll function as organ donors. If there’s anything left of our bodies by then, cremation ought to work just great. Why spend buckets of money on something fancy a bunch of people will just throw dirt on?

We know our eternal future is with God in Heaven. No matter what happens to our earthly bodies, we believe He knows how to put us both back together in a more perfect way than either of us has ever known.

But in the meantime, we’ll keep wearing our jeans to church–and everywhere else. May formality like ours live forever!!!

What about you? Some people not only don’t mind dressing up, they even enjoy it. Which kind of person are you? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,