TIA: ‘You Didn’t Have to Do All That’

One of my father’s best friends died recently. His funeral was last month.

The funeral parlor required masks and probably didn’t allow drinking, so my father and the deceased’s inner circle of friends were drinking in the parking lot.

“You didn’t have to do all that,” my father said as soon as I arrived, referring to my suit.

To be clear, I looked sharp in a tailored, medium-gray suit with powder-blue pinstripes, white shirt, red tie, white pocket square with cognac-brown Oxford shoes. The crowd was more casual. Almost business casual.

The only other people in suits were the funeral parlor employees, and maybe the son. A sport coat with a dress shirt was popular. Some, including my father, had a shirt and tie, but no coat. But most popular was a polo shirt and chinos.

On the other end of the spectrum, a few wore t-shirts with jeans or shorts. I believe there was even an instance or two of “jorts,” but not in the trendy way that’s making a comeback. They were long cargo jorts, maybe with a chain attaching to the wallet. One group dressed as such stood outside for most of the service, but smoking cigarettes as opposed to drinking.

Some people wore polos in order to don St. Louis Blues gear. The deceased was a diehard Blues fan who had been quoted as saying he just wanted to see the Blues win a Stanley Cup before he died. In fact, much of what I said in my Blues article was informed by him. Even if whatever I learned about the team came from my father or brother, it probably originated with him. There was A LOT of Blues gear.

Being overdressed made me a little uncomfortable, but all my father’s friends treated me with reverence. Boomers know how dress codes have evolved, and they probably aren’t proud to claim their contribution to American culture. If funerals are business casual now, they know they can’t blame Millennials or Generation X. And Exhibit A was me.

I don’t remember the last time I attended a funeral in the States. Are funerals business casual now? Maybe in Missouri. In Latin America it’s not even a question. The only people who wouldn’t wear a suit to a funeral are those who don’t even own one. Poverty funerals.

I got home and told my wife I was the only person in a suit, and that my suit was occasionally the subject of the group’s conversation. My father’s best friend would occasionally belt out, “Colin, you like a lawyer!”

I’m from here, I told her. This is my tierra. I don’t know my own culture. TIA.

RIP Dennis

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