I caught Mr T wearing navy and electric blue striped socks the other day. I nearly fainted.
We were at a formal event, and my husband, who hikes up his trousers slightly before taking a seat and crossing his legs man-style - ankle resting on knee - showed off his Technicolor socks to full effect.
To understand the gravity of the situation, allow me to put it in context. He was wearing a black suit, one with a faint grey pinstripe barely discernible, paired with a crisp white shirt and metallic silver tie. The colours blue, navy, or their derivatives were nowhere on his person. Save for those conspicuous socks.
I was horrified. Why in the world was my husband breaking every fashion rule known to man? He knows I'm not easy-going about these things: his belt, shoes and watch strap must match. His collar stays must always be present. What in the world was he up to?
"I'm out of black socks," he shrugged, a little defensive.
"How can that be? Don't you have a drawer full of them?"
He nodded. I continued staring at him, willing him to explain. And finally, out of the side of his mouth, he muttered: "I guess my black socks are in the ... laundry?"
He had gone and done it: uttered that forbidden word, that elephant in the room that we never talk about, or, more accurately, that ridiculous high mound of dirty clothes in the corner of the bathroom that I have been actively ignoring, a hated pile spilling out of the hamper and threatening to overtake the bathtub.
I had forbidden him from mentioning the dreaded word. "I'm going to do the laundry. Eventually," I had assured him. "I don't want to hear about it, and no, I'm not teaching you to do the laundry, don't dare touch the dirty clothes."
He was doomed either way, with a fast dwindling wardrobe. Already, he was out of black socks.
I'm never usually lax about getting the laundry done. We do a couple of loads at the weekends; never overwhelming, not too big of a chore. Mr T helps fold. Our system worked for us. Or such was the case when we had a normal-sized washing machine that could wash a decent-sized load.
Our recent move into an apartment that came with appliances meant we had to get used to a new machine; one able to digest several kilos less of dirty clothes. A couple of undershirts, two pairs of socks and maybe a T-shirt or two translated into a full load. Doing laundry had become a daily must, if only to keep up.
So I let the clothes create their own area code in the bathroom. And Mr T, too kind to demand clean boxers, stayed silent, and seemed to go shopping a lot more than usual.
But there were limits, like seeing my husband break fashion rules. Something had to be done.
It took me four days and 10 loads to bring a semblance of normality back into our lives, our wardrobes and our hamper. And it took me less than an hour to head out to the mall and return with a gift for Mr T: 10 pairs of black socks, all for him. He had earned it.