I’m tempted to refer to them as dear old friends. But I fear that would be an insult to all of my friends whom I’ve had for many years, yet who have aged beautifully. Because these other friends of mine, while long-lasting and comforting, have not aged well. They are ugly, worn and quite literally hanging on by a thread. We all have them. We love them, but we keep them in hiding, away from public, judgmental eyes. I’m referring of course to the oldest, rattiest articles of clothing in our closets. Otherwise known as The Comfort Club.
We women tend to blame the men in our lives for their vast collections of Comfort Club members. Ratty old stained jeans with holes in them, ugly stretched out shirts, and disgustingly dirty and bent baseball caps – items we come across in the laundry and threaten to throw away, stopping only because of the begging pleas from our men to just leave their Comfort Club alone. My husband, for example, has a vintage Life is Good T-shirt that is so old and faded, the image on the front is barely recognizable. The collar is threadbare, it hangs limply with no shape and the fabric has become thin and super soft. The other day we half-joked about sending a photo of the relic to the Life is Good company.
What our men don’t realize is we don’t have the heart to do away with their beloved antique items because – well, we secretly have them too. Come on, admit it, you each have CC friends who are way past their prime, but you just can’t part with them. I know I do. And if the men in our lives found them, they’d happily think they had just found their next perfect polishing rags.
My most ridiculous Comfort Club member in my possession is a pair of cotton shorts that have been my favorite for Lord knows how many years. The drawstring has pulled loose of the disintegrating waistband, held in place by maybe 2” of fabric that has not yet given up. They used to be black, now are that odd not-quite-black-not-quite-grey color. There are a couple of paint drop stains on them. Every time I wash them, I think “well, this is it, these shorts will come out in tatters.” And yet, they persist. Available for another evening for me to happily slide on at the end of a long day, or on a weekend when I’m only going to be in my own home or in my own backyard.
Similarly, I have a rather goofy pair of cotton pajama pants that are bright pink with white polka dots. I bought them from Victoria’s Secret back when I fit that store’s demographic, which means probably at least two decades ago. They still fit because the elastic waist is comfortably stretched and they were loose-fitting to begin with. Are they sexy? Not in the least. But they are my go-to night-time summer lounge wear. I’ll even pack them when I travel, as long as I’ll be in a hotel room by myself, or with my long-suffering husband who has been looking at those damn pants for as long as we’ve been together.
And then there are the favorite ol’ pals that hide out in my shoe collection. Next to the new, cute, trendy slides or heels or sneakers, there are a couple of pairs of sandals and flats that I just can’t get rid of, at least until they totally fall apart and I’m forced to give them up because they are WAY past the point and value of repair. The other day I got out my white sandals for the 1,853rd time. They look a bit dingy, but still have the perfect heel height. The cute little buckle on the top is not totally tarnished. They are a bit stretched out but as long as I grip with my toes when I walk, will stay on my feet. I still have them because I have yet to find a qualified replacement pair. And so I hope they hang on for another season, or until I can do serious, focused shopping in the “perfect and affordable shoes” stores that don’t exist.
Of course, hindsight is everything. If we only knew, when we first purchase an item, that it will become the long-term, forever relationship, don’t ever want to part with it member of the Comfort Club, then we’d buy at least three of the same item. But no. These are one-and-only’s. Mostly because they were purchased so very long ago that we have no recollection of where they came from, nor even what brand they are because any labels have long since worn off. They are special, and we try to make them last as long as possible.
So I guess after all, these Comfort Club Collections of oldies but goodies really are like truly good old friends. Irreplaceable, beloved, unique, full of stories, providing peace and comfort…and we always wish we could spend more time with them.