April 15, 2010

Is This the Real Life?

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?

13 comments:

  1. I suggest getting in a boat and sailing east. If you hit a wall, you're in the Truman Show. If you hit England, have a pint for me.

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  2. I will test that next month, although not by boat, unless I'm interrupted by a volcano (a likely excuse, I am sure).

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  3. Hide the cameras: he's on to us!

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  4. those are some sharp trousers! great cut, too. i like to think if i saw a pair walking down the street, i'd say something.

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  5. I get the same reaction when I drive my Smart car.

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  6. Thank you Liam - the trousers are English designed, but Italian made, and I think that really tells in the cut. They work best with braces, of course.

    Smart car, eh? In America that is indeed an anomaly.

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  7. I confess to more than a bit of jealously with regard to those trousers. I don't blame people for stopping you while you wore them...they are quite remarkable. Bravo!

    BTG

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  8. I had a pair of those when I first qualified as a psychologist in the mid '90s. I some was given the monkier 'Rupert' (a reference to Rupert the bear), and my clients used to call me this. Good luck with the trousers sir, may they bring many a happy encounter to you!

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  9. Why thank you Bag Man. Not sure if anybody knows dear old Rupert on this side of the pond, but that may be to my advantage. I used to read Rupert books as a child, and you may have just alerted me to the reason I was attracted to these elaborate leggings in the first place. I suppose it takes a psychologist.

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  10. I was in Edinburgh for a conference recently and bought a fine pair of tartan trousers in Rothesay for the conference dinner. They were much admired that night, but on my return to southern England, I found that the Burra Mem looked at them as Jeeves looked at the white dinner jacket Bertie Wooster brought back from Biarritz. Who's in the right here?

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  11. You are, my dear Tom, but it's all a matter of perspective. Jeeves looked up to his betters and expected high standards from them. Most social commentators these days look down, and ridicule the finer things in life - taste, intellect, education, vigour. Which would we rather? I suspect the askance gazes you encountered were wrought by the latter spirit more than the former. But since we no longer face the prescriptive minefield of young 1930s gentlemen of independent wealth, those of us with taste ought to feel free to push the envelope of sartorial form. Dear old Bertie had no need of standing out. But the few of us who cling to matters traditional are perhaps served by so doing. Wear them with confidence, my friend!

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