No ironing required

I did something on Saturday that I did often before COVID-19, but haven’t done at all since: I ironed my shirts.

I haven’t found a shirt for sale in the US in 20 years that didn’t swear its fabric requires no ironing. Yet they all look at least slightly rumpled fresh from the dryer. I prefer to look crisp. So I iron.

I sort of enjoy ironing, for much the same reason I sort of enjoy washing dishes. There’s a quiet meditativeness to these simple, menial tasks.

When I’m out in the world, when I spend my days in the office, I like to look good. I dress a little nicer than the situation requires. I take care in choosing my clothes, and I take good care of the clothes I choose.

I’ve felt differently about it while I’ve worked from home. In my videoconference meetings, people see me only from about the chest up. When I’m not in meetings, the only people who see me are my family on their way to the kitchen. I don’t see the point in wearing clothes I’ll have to iron.

All summer I wore untucked polos and shorts. Now that it’s getting cold, I’ve been buying rugby shirts and crewneck sweaters to wear with jeans.

However, about ten shirts still needed to be ironed from before the pandemic. And a half-dozen more shirts needed to be ironed from date nights with my wife. It felt like old times on Saturday when I broke out the ironing board and my good German iron.

Old times aren’t coming back. We can’t predict yet how things will be different in the post-pandemic world, but different they will be. But when this is all over, I hope I’ll need to wear my nice, crisp, button-down shirts again.