Today, I rented my graduation tux.
As I was waiting to be served, the older serious-looking man in front of me was paying. The sales assistant said, “If you ever want to rent from us again, just give us a call, we keep all your measurements on file. We’re anal about record keeping. We keep records of everything.” The sales assistant then panicked that maybe he’d made the tux rental shop sound like it was the CIA or Wikileaks or something. He paused, and then said in a high-pitched, worried-sounding voice. “We keep records of everything except tax.” Then he did a fake laugh. But it didn’t take long for him to panic again. Had he suggested that the shop didn’t pay its taxes? So he said, in a frantic tone “I was only joking about the tax. We keep tax records too.” He did another nervous fake laugh and said “But we keep customers’ measurements. That’s all that will be in the record with your name.” The customer said thanks and left, having not contributed a single thing to the shop assistant’s epic conversation with himself.
I found it hard not to laugh, but the poor shop assistant was blushing too hard for me to signal that I’d heard his neurotic unravelling.
He started to take my measurements. My waist was 64 inches. He got the biggest pair of trousers in the shop. They’re 57 inches and they fit me as well as anything does, but with quite a bit of belly squeezing out over the top, like a pie that’s burst open in the oven. While he was marking the place on my legs to take my hem up to, the assistantasked me what I thought about something that had happened (or possibly was going to happen) in the Champions’ League. I told him I’d never really been interested in soccer. Then he did that thing that sporty men do. He ignored what I’d said and he started ranting about the Champions’ League. It’s like straight men have a broken bit in their brains. I have no problem with someone asking me about sport. None at all. But if I say that I’m not interested, why can’t men respond normally? Why can’t they ask why not? Or explain what they think is so great about soccer? Or change the subject? Those are three polite alternatives. Instead, they almost invariably pretend that you didn’t express a lack of interest and plough on with the conversation. It really is very strange.
Anyway, the tux wasn’t as dear as I expected. And I only have to wear it for an hour or two.