Monday, October 10, 2005

just my size

I have an interview tomorrow. My first, real live, in-person, could turn into a well-paying job interview. Tomorrow.

And since it's at the Columbia U. Business School, I was advised to wear a suit. Only thing, all two of my suits (from my old working at a school, needing to look dressy days) are down in storage in S Carolina. Why did I make the conscious decision to pack them up and leave them there? Who knows, but something tells me it's cuz, oh, I haven't worn a suit in like five years and wasn't expecting to be looking at jobs where I'd need one. Isn't the world supposed to be business casual these days?

So I started out on the quest to find a suit. Shopping is not something I'm particularly interested in or any good at. I prefer going with someone with an opinion and is bossy enough to tell me what looks good and what to buy. Like getting a haircut, it's a situation where I would love to hand over all the decisions to someone I trust and let them do whatever they wish. I know with some I have a reputation for being bossy, but let me tell ya: if you want to be my stylist, I'll let you push me around whenever you want. Just make me look good.

P is not the best of shopping companions. He has his own aesthetic and knows what he likes but couldn't give a damn what anyone else is wearing and gets fed up with having to slink through the racks of Filene's Basement just as fast I do. So, unlike him, I asked someone who seemed to know what they were doing to help speed up the painful struggle.

The sales associate, let's call him Rob, was probably in his late 40s, early 50s and he knew what he was doing. He started explaining to me about athletic cuts, wide shoulders (which I supposedly have) and button placement. Tailoring and the fact that I have a "swimmer's build" (flattery of course helps sell I'm sure) was making the search for a suit that much harder. See I'm really a 38S and wear 32" waist pants. Maybe the most popular, gay generic size every created. Only 6 or so suits actually fit my specfications and then we were dealing with pleated pants, weird colored pinstripes or $700 price tags (at a bargain place!).

Finally he got me to try on a black suit with purple pinstripes. Yes, it sounds horrible but, as stated earlier, I'm a salesman's dream since I can be talked into anything if I trust that you're not some scoundrel trying to get me to look bad. The suit did fit and looked nice and was cheap (less than $200) so off I went to the fitting rooms.

Rob pulled up my pants (seems I was wearing them too low), flattened out creases, rearranged pockets. I'm always impressed how some people have no problems touching another man's (or woman's) body, tugging and arranging without any embarrassment for the other's personal space. But still, I couldn't resist: "I look like an undertaker." A few more assurances, but nothing too pushy, and Rob left.

As soon as he did, "No," Patricio said. "No way."
I think we were both thinking it. I had somehow become Rob's son and he was pampering me like David did Arthur (the creepy guy who had a "thing" with Ruth) on "Six Feet Under." Maybe it's been too much of the show (we finished the final disc of season 4 a few days ago) or the fact that the suit really did make me look like a boy in man's clothing, but there was no way I could live with this look -- flattery and good handling be damned. So, I quickly changed, put the suit back and got out of there, but not before Rob gave me his card (with personal email) and the number to his personal tailor, "in case you need it."

We headed downtown to Century 21, a big ol' store filled everyday with people looking for a designer bargain -- hell, in other words. No luck. I was informed here as well that my size was the most popular size and when suits came in sometimes guys who couldn't even wear them snatched them up sight unseen because they knew someone would want it.

Finally we ended up at 59th and Lexington, or the corner of Zara/H&M/ Bloomingdale's/Banana Republic (opening soon). I check out the wares. See $800 suits, $1800 suits and then something that catches my eye: a nicely cut, charcoal gray suit at Zara. Now I'm familiar with the store; it's the Banana of Europe and there was one a block from our Barcelona flat. But did I think I'd buy a suit at one? No. But I did. It fit right, looked sharp and is versatile enough to be worn outside of funerals or really depressing weddings.

Now, if I get a follow-up interview who knows what I'll do. Maybe by then I can find one of those guys that all wear my size and see if they'll let me borrow their threads for a few hours. I mean, it couldn't hurt. Not as much as going through all that shopping again.


At 1:05 AM, Blogger Guillem said...

You're living in NYC and end up buying a suit at ZARA? I'm speechless.

Good luck with that interview!

At 10:38 AM, Blogger a said...

Good luck!!!!!

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

I expected you to say that. Really, I did.

And thanks. The interview went quite well. Do I dare write about it?

Nah, too boring.

At 6:28 AM, Blogger j.huff said...

Congrats on the interview.

BTW - that's my coat size too. My waist is around 30 though - it's incredibly difficult to find shorts/pants at times... :)

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Jerry, if your "generic waist" has been getting you down, I recommend a mild weight-gain product called Effexor. It's over-the-counter, but I know many doctors prescribe it with no hassle--at the drop of a hat, even! There are a few side effects, but nothing to be alarmed about. In fact, many users report improved mood and increased feelings of well-being. Now, how about that! Who wouldn't like to look healthier with a few added pounds, and feel better, too?

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Jerry said...

you just too damn skinny then mr. huff! But there's plenty of 30 inch waists on the sale racks usually -- I remember that from my svelte days.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger klahd said...

Next time you want to go suit shopping. Let me know in advance. I love clothing stores and will have no problem telling you what to do.

BTW, all you need is two suits, a sport coat and two pairs of dress slacks.


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