TMiddy usually knows things - for example, what time the football is starting, or that there's no such word as "refrigidation." I know I can always ask him, say, what day of the week is it? and he'll have a definitive answer.
But very occasionally he is uncertain. When we received the invitation for my nephew's upcoming wedding in Monterrey, Mexico, we were both a little confused. Firstly, it's in Spanish, and I'm not starting Spanish classes until next week. (All I can manage right now is an order for patatas bravas, and an impersonation of my Puerto Rican doctor back in New York.)
Secondly, it uses the word FORMAL. Formal in New Zealand and formal everywhere else - except southern California, maybe - is quite different. Formal in New Zealand means you've remembered to put on some shoes, though you may not be planning to keep them on for long.
Formal at a wedding in Monterrey, we understand, means black tie and ball gowns. It means red-carpet wear. This should be no problem for TMiddy, as he has a smart Armani tux from back in the olden days, before the Internet was invented, when he was known as Tom Moody and went to the Oscars. (He ran the marketing campaign for A ROOM WITH A VIEW.)
But still, TM was unsure. We are Godparents of the Rings at this wedding, and have to stand up during the church service to be seen by all. Important, he said, to make a sartorial splash.
His first thought was this: although he's from El Norte, maybe TM should take the opportunity to represent/promote New Zealand?
Or maybe not. Then he thought: Monterrey isn't that far from New Orleans, and might be warm in December. Maybe roll out some Jazz Fest gear?
I vetoed this. One day, all of TM's Jazz Fest T-shirts will meet with some terrible accident e.g. burning. It will be a sad day for tie-dye.
At the very least, I suggested, he should wear his tux jacket.
Though maybe not with the yellow Beatles T-shirt, even if it does have my birthday printed on it.
Seeing that T-shirt reminded us of the lovely yellow bow that my sister hid in my luggage this May. She'd been trying to fob it off as a "prize" at Martha's bridal shower, and I'd told her it was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. Imagine my surprise when I unpacked back in the UK, and found it stuffed into one of my boots.
TM has taken quite a shine to this yellow bow, arguing that it can make any outfit dressy, even if the weather is warm.
And if the weather is cold, all he needs to do is throw on some jeans, a pair of slippers, and my velvet evening coat:
See? Instantly formal.
I don't know. He may just have to settle for a tux, white shirt, black tie, cufflinks ensemble. He doesn't want anyone to be distracted from his planned Godfather of the Rings dance, the choreography for which remains top-secret.
Don't forget to check in over at Everybody Needs Two or Three Friends, and to read my Tweets from the Man Booker Prize ceremony on October 15th - I'll be tweeting that night as @nzlistener. I've just found out that my alter ego, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will be there as well. The two of us in the same room? Watch that space.