The last time I shopped for clothes was a couple of years ago. Early this fall I discovered that all my dress shirts were fraying around the collar. Many of my long dress pants had either emergency mending, or were hugging my mid section really hard or had patches in secret unmentionable places only a wife knows. My wife finally broke me down. I had to go shopping for good looking work clothes. I do not exactly have a phobia about shopping but what I experienced was enough to make me have one.
I shopped all day at the mall. What I learnt was a sharp lesson in vulgarities of human anatomy and physiology. I tried on perhaps two dozen long pants of varying sizes, styles, and cuts. Some of the latest really hot chic fashion long pants made a humiliating air bag in front of you know where when I tried them on. None of them fit me. The pair of pants that fit had to have the bottom shortened which was going to take a week. All in all it was a painful exercise. T o add insult to the pain, the department stores also have a rule that you can only take a limit of five pairs only into the small booth to try them on.
After my head had cooled down after my long, trying, and frustrating day, I reflected on my fate. It occurred to me that standard size long pants do not fit me because my anatomy does not really fit the profile of the average man my age. After being alive for more than a good third of a century and some, a man can no longer wear size thirty-two.
Numerous years of consuming foods of various challenging quantities and texture begin to take their toll. All those Thanksgiving dinners, summer grills and picnics to commemorate birthdays, religious holidays and patriotic national days begin to show. Men in their short lives ingest drinks that are green, white, golden, black, with a high and low viscosity; some of them mind altering and others thirst-quenching. All of this eating, drinking and constant merry making generates a spare tire and a half somewhere in the middle of the man’s waist. Standard size clothes therefore can never adequately accommodate the spare tire.
When my dad was my age, his spare tire made him look as though he was seven and a half months pregnant. He was at the time a willing victim of the various delicious entrees my mother prepared and different types of mind altering adult beverage with high viscosity he was in the habit of consuming called chibuku in Zambia. At that time, his favourite coat fit him perfectly around the shoulders and arms but he could never button it shut.
I am not exactly in this same type of predicament but very close to it. My spare tire looks like I am barely four months pregnant going on to five. My height is not quite average and my legs are rather skinny or let’s say slender for my frame. Which clothes manufacturer is going to cater to men like me and many others I encountered during my failed clothes shopping spree? As I tried my twenty-sixth pair of pants in the department store that day, I came out of the booth to look in the long mirror. At the same time, out came a man shorter than me. He had a spare tire that made him six months pregnant. The long pants fit him around the waist, they were bunched and crinkled around the knees and the bottoms of the pants were piled around his feet. I could not even guess what size those pants were.
His wife said: “They fit you nicely, honey.”
The man and my eyes met and he had this smirk-grin on his face that seemed to say that he and I were in the same boat. I sometimes wish there was someone out there willing to make some easy money. I would soon rather send my worn out long pants that fit me perfectly to a manufacturer who would make me new duplicates of the same pants. I would rather do this than go through the pain of clothes shopping.