Often before I leave the house, I ask Other how I look. It’s not that I’m vain. It’s just that I try to avoid clothing malfunctions and truly infelicitous pairings and accidents of negligence like pants put on backward or shirts put on inside out—not that Other is especially observant about these particular things.
Here’s the thing: He almost always says I look fine—and then produces an addendum that makes it transparently clear that I don’t at all. For example, yesterday he told me I looked fine—if I didn’t mind looking like a lesbian gardener (I was wearing green culottes, a black T-shirt and a blue hoodie). Somehow I knew this was not a good look, even though neither of us has anything against lesbians and we both like gardening. Another evaluation: “You look fine—if you don’t mind looking like a copy editor.” Somehow I DO mind looking like a copy editor, even though that’s what I am (and what he is too).
How does he come up with these damning assessments?