I wore the infamous plaid trousers today. It’s true that they never fail to attract attention, but aside from the unsolicited compliments (and giggles) from strangers, I am experiencing a general engagement with the man and woman on the street that I thought existed only in bad American comedies where entire communities know each other by first name. On days that I wear The Trousers the engagement level goes up, but it’s happening more and more, regardless of what I happen to be sporting.
Yesterday, on the way to the cobblers, a middle-aged fellow (whom I knew not) greeted me with the words ‘Hello there my brother!’, and I tipped my hat. On the way back from the cobblers – no shoes in hand, there was a mix up with the date – I bumped into the same chap, who declared: ‘We meet again!’. I told him that the third time was a charm, and went on my way. Today, heading back to the cobblers in The Trousers, a woman actually interrupted her telephone conversation in order to stop me in the street and make her favourable opinion known. On the way back – shoes perfectly mended – an elderly gentleman called after me as I passed him: ‘Good morning Sir!’, he said. ‘Hello’, I replied. ‘Beautiful weather today!’, he went on. So congenial. So friendly. What the bloody hell is going on?
I’m not complaining. It’s simply that years of contrary experiences lead me to be suspicious. I must be on film: my own personal Truman Show.
Discarding paranoia, I can only conclude that dressing well is attracting positive attention. I don’t think it’s me who has changed so much as it is the public’s attitude to smartness that has altered. There is a glut of stylish shows on the television; a raft of societies and clubs for men who are attempting to reinvigorate the connections among looking good, feeling good, and being good: it is all clearly having an effect. If Joe Public looks me up and down and determines that here is a man to whom I should say ‘hello’, I for one welcome the change.
Or is this fantasy?
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