If you think the MOG (Mother of the Groom) is dealt a bad hand, consider the FOG (Father of the Groom). If the MOG is insignificant, the FOG is practically invisible.
I have a particular FOG in mind, whose son will tie the knot next spring. Already, Jim (FOG) is traumatized just anticipating this momentous occasion. He regaled his tale of woe over coffee at Starbucks.
"The future bride and groom are hitting up both families for money, having tossed the traditional division of costs out the window," he said. "Emily Post might frown, but I'm told that's common these days. MOGS and FOGS are expected to share the expenses."
"My condolences," I said.
"That's not the worst of it," Jim added. "After I get through doling out the bucks, there are other issues to contend with."
"Such as?" I asked, waiting to be enlightened.
"The dress code for one. I am particularly interested in which color and style couture would be most appropriate for a FOG."
"Well," I teased. "You might consider going completely wild and get yourself a see-through tux."
"Really?" Jim pondered my suggestion with amusement.
"As long as you wear correct FOG underwear you might be able to carry it off," I said. "Or not. But there are many directions in which you can go ... tuxedo wise."
What I didn't tell Jim is that the only ones who can carry off the tuxedo look are 1) maître d's. 2) Fred Astaire or 3) penguins.
Jim elaborated further. "My earliest memory of a tux was my Uncle Max, a podiatrist, whom, on the side, also had dealings in the cement business ... if you catch my drift? Max looked like a hit man for the mob. The roll under his breast pocket was so big you could hide a revolver inside it, which, if you knew Uncle Max, might have been the case."
"Nice family," I said.
"Above all, I want to look cool," Jim told me. "So people will think I know the score even if I don't. I want to knock 'em dead."
"FOG-fabulosity is important," I agreed.
"I have exactly the tux that will do the job," he said. "It's been a while since I've worn it, but I think it's exactly the look I'm after. I'd like your opinion."
"Bring it on," I said.
The next day, Jim tried on the tux, and made his grand FOG entrance looking like ... well, not exactly a maitre d' or Fred Astaire. But, in some sort of inexplicable way, he did resemble a penguin en route to a black tie affair.
Allow me to digress: Jim is more the jeans and sweater type of guy, who enjoys sitting in front of the TV watching football. He's most at home tossing nachos and salsa dip into his mouth than imported champagne and caviar.
"Is it me or not?" he asked. "I don't want to give off the wrong FOG image. When you have little to offer, the least you can do is look presentable."
What could I say? The truth was, Jim's tuxedo didn't exactly fit his body, which was no surprise because he told me later it was the same one he had worn to his senior prom 35 years earlier. The pants were too short, and jacket sleeves barely covered his elbows. The lapels were so shiny I could apply makeup in their reflection. The back end didn't match the front, and as for the cummerbund, he hooked it up the same way I do my bra, but he forgot to turn it around. Frankly, it looked as if he was wearing the attachment to a screen door.
"What do you think?" he pressed.
"Interesting fashion statement. But I don't think you're quite there yet."
The good news is, he still has several months to perfect his look and avoid being an irreparable example of a FOG fashion faux pas.
Jim announced last week that the problem has been solved. "Max said I could wear his tux. And he's throwing in the purple paisley handkerchief and his patent leather elevator shoes. We wear the same size. He also said I can borrow his gold chain, his diamond pinky ring, and the iridescent black bow tie with the rhinestones. I'm well on my way to FOG greatness."
"As long as he removes the revolver," I said.
Jim further informed me that his 20-year-old daughter is between boyfriends right now. "Nonetheless," he said, "when she finds Mr. Right, I'm offering her $5,000 in small, unmarked bills to elope immediately."
I imagine that Uncle Max might be able to lend a hand here ... if you catch my drift.