Uxorious is a strange and rather ugly word to describe a man who loves his wife. Its root is the Latin word 'uxor' (wife). Where it is used at all in modern English it may take a slightly pejorative tone, implying a slightly cringe-worthy devoted love. Or it may be misused entirely. In his book Levels of Life Julian Barnes says “I bridle at the misuse of the adjective ’uxorious’. If we don’t look out, it will come to describe ‘a man who has many wives’, or even (that dubious phrase) ‘a lover of women’. It doesn’t mean this. It describes – and always will, whatever future dictionaries may permit – a man who loves his wife.”
My father was an uxorious man, devoted to my mother. He delighted in buying her clothes and was quite dapper on his own account. It therefore follows that when, in his later years, he gave me a sum of money for my birthday or Christmas present, I generally spent it on clothes. Since his death I have missed the ritual of the birthday card with a cheque and the self indulgent shopping spree. So I have a new birthday ritual, which is to go out on that shopping spree anyway with my own money to buy something that I think of as being from him.
I am lucky to have an uxorious husband who takes pleasure in buying me clothes for my birthday too, so this year I have indulged in two lovely pieces of fair-trade clothing:
From my Pa, a block-printed tunic dress by Accacia from Chandni Chowk, which pleases the natural dye geek in me by having a swing ticket enumerating the dyes used (alizarin, indigo, madder, cassis, iron, pomegranate, turmeric)
And from Steve this rather lovely summery retro-styled number from People Tree.