Made To Wear Mackintoshes.When I met my girlfriend (later to be my wife) in the late 1960's, my main outerwear was a pullover type anorak. My girlfriend used to wear a more normal zip-up anorak, sometimes with the hood up. As the weather got colder (we met in the late summer) she would insist that I wore my hood up, and later that I wore a nylon mac over the anorak. Within months I was going to visit her on my bike, in rubberised cotton trousers over ordinary trousers and wellington boots, my anorak and nylon mac, with my face covered in a wool scarf. By the time we got married some three years later, I was wearing a gaberdine mac instead of the nylon one, always buttoned to the neck, over my anorak for most of the year.
For going to work I had to wear another gaberdine mac, like my cycling mac it was bought from an army surplus store, and was an American double breasted coat, top buttoned and belted always. My wife would check each morning that I was fully buttoned up, and would always fasten my top button for me as I always left it undone. Once she had done that, of course, it meant that I had to wear the coat fully top buttoned to work, home again, and if I went out at any point during the day.
At weekends we would often go walking somewhere, usually by the sea if possible, and would always dress in our anoraks and macs. My wife took to wearing her old school gaberdine mac for these trips and sometimes wore the hood up over her anorak hood. Except in summer we always wore wellingtons, and I always had to wear my rubberised trousers - though my wife rarely wore overtrousers except when it was actually raining.
Some years after our marriage we moved to another part of England, following my job. My wife was not very happy with the move at first, though she admitted later that it had been a good thing. When we first moved, she took her revenge by pushing my mac wearing to a new level. Two or three times a week she would send me out in the evening to the local library or on some other errand, and as usual would hold my mac for me to put on. Although it was summer I still had to wear my tie, a jumper and my jacket for work under a gaberdine mac. The same was true for the evenings, except when I went to the library. She had managed to join the library about a mile from home, and had persuaded the librarian that she needed various fairly obscure books for a research project. She said that her husband would collect them, and actually managed to get the library lady to invite me into the office, take my coat off and have a cup of tea while she checked to find the book. Sometimes it was not there, so my trip was wasted, but the idea was to send me out as much as possible in my fully buttoned mac, often with a vinyl or nylon overmac over my arm. It was quite a warm dry summer and so rain was not expected. If I had annoyed her for some reason, her revenge was sweet. She would take me into the hall, take her own school gaberdine mac and unbutton the hood before holding it out for me to put on instead onf my jacket. She would then button it up (left had side, ladies style) and belt it before holding my own gaberdine to put on. I think on those occasions she must have phoned the library lady beforehand to brief her, as when I arrived I would be ushered into the office, told to take my coat off, and then she would say "Oh, you're wearing an extra one. You'd better take that one off too or you won't feel the benefit of it when you go out!" When it was time to leave she would say something like "Oh you're wearing two coats tonight aren't you. Which one goes first? Oh yes, the brown one. Gosh, isn't it warm? It looks like a school one. Is it your old school one? It's an unusual colour for a boys school, isn't it." Each time I told her it wasn't mine but my wife's, but she seemd to "forget" each time.
Shortly after that I got my first motorbike, for travelling to work on and my wife was very dominant about what i wore to ride that - but that's another story.
Macjames 61-65, M 2 Responses 2 Oct 26, 2010