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Thursday, 29 May 2008

'Every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.' ZZ Top

Well I haven't been here for a while. It's like your house when you return to it after two weeks holiday and it has that strange smell when you enter for the first time and just before you fling open the windows to let some fresh air in. Sort of fusty and with the hint of another smell - this is actually what your house smells like to strangers just as, when you go to another house, it too smells odd. Anyway no mail in the porch, no free newspapers stuck in the letter box, no dead flies on all the window sills and no huge spiders in the bath glaring at you.

I thought I'd come back to the blog. The thrill of working 3.5 days a week has, frankly, worn off and so I feel it's time once again to return to the ramblings of Eyes on the Prize. No full time job despite my every creative attempt in finding a full time position (the stories I could tell, and may very well do if you are unlucky) but the bills are being paid and we dared book a weeks holiday in July. Got to be better than this time last year.

I'm not one of the world's greatest dressers.
I have never liked suits and ties and could quite happily exist in T shirts and jeans until the end of my days.

I think my aversion to suits stems from the dress code at my school.

You see I went to a Public School, a minor one in the scheme of things, but Public all the same. In my defence I had passed the 11+ and won a County Scholarship to attend said august place and that is where is all started. That and being marked as 'dead meat' by all the boys I used to know in primary school and who now regarded me as target practice for whatever they had in their hands as I passed them to and from school. Being a dayboy I had to run the gauntlet of the mean streets of the small town the school was located in to get home, and we all know how mean they can be. Well reasonably mean. Sometimes a little mean and there was often litter too. Anyway the school code stated that boys had to wear a proscribed uniform to be bought from the school outfitters also located in the same town. This, of course, was duly ignored by the rich and this was my first lesson in capitalism. My mother and father struggled, I know, to afford the uniform which included a mandatory school cap (which HAD to be worn until the third form if you were OUTSIDE school). Well, this cap had a peak that was so long it required scaffolding to support it - and, being tall for my age, meant that it was as instantly recognisable as a policeman's helmet in a crowd. Therefore it became 'Target 1' for the lads about town that now hated me with the intensity of a burning star. Then you could wear, if you wanted, a straw boater in the summer term. Well not having a death wish, Grievous Bodily Harm being bad enough most days, I pleaded successfully for Ma and Pa not to buy me any such thing. What we did with the peaks on the caps was to soak them in water and then they would curl up like a Turkish slipper - yes we must have looked stupid but it seemed enough to calm the blood lust of the townies who then just called us bad names as we passed. Of course the fact that I soon aligned myself to Ian at school who was built like The Incredible Hulk and who could grow luxurious sideburns at 12 probably helped a little as well.

What the parents of the boys who paid to attend the school did (and somehow, in a strangely inverted world that made them, in their eyes somehow superior to those of us who actually had the brains to justify being there) was go to a bespoke tailor in London and have their uniforms made for them. Yes made-to-measure at 11 years old. I had then, as now an odd shaped body - short legs but a long torso and the school tailor could not cope with sizes outside the norm. My Mum did her valiant best to turn up the trousers but, let's face it Mum, this wasn't a core skill was it? So the hems would come down regularly and there would much mirth from those with Savile Row suits but with IQs that were similar to the number of buttons they had sewn on the jacket. So I had 6 years of this then cast off the uniform for the freedom of own clothes at university. I think we will pass over quickly the fad for wearing clogs (bloody clogs in a hilly university town?), flared jeans with flares so big they resembled a two man tent, tie and dye T shirts and cheesecloth shirts. And those are the less embarrassing items of clothing that I am prepared to mention in public.

Of course being in work means that I have to wear a suit from time to time, like yesterday, and two very nice Austin Reed suits I have as well - but really my heart is in jeans and T shirts and, even when I go to the office, it's still very casual stuff. And just what would be wrong with a clip-on tie? Of course Mrs EotP objects from time to time and dares point out that I actually look scruffy - but what is to object to with £3 jeans and £1.50 T shirts from Tesco anyway? So I do have to buy some clothes and have them vetted by her. However what is weird is the person I know who works for a very large PLC and lives nearby - he wears his suit and tie when working at home. 'Can't wear anything casual if I'm at home as it doesn't feel right' he claims.

OK so moving on quickly. It is, of course, all so very different for woman and clothes for most females occupy far more temporal and physical space than they do for me. One drawer and two hangers in the wardrobe and I'm done. But when Mrs EotP wore a pair of linen trousers to work the other day (the hot day, you remember it before the rains came again) her colleague posed the question 'Is it time for linen trousers yet?'

There's a time for certain clothes?

How does one know these things or is it a woman thing passed down through the ages without us menfolk knowing or hearing about it? I can't say, but it perplexed Mrs EotP that's for sure. Clearly some subliminal messaging going on here that is not fully understood even at womanfolk level. However Mrs EotP has fought back and bought a linen blouse today. Whether it is an acceptable date or not.

Sending her out to work has hardened her heart. But I'm still in my jeans and T shirt and now the sun has come out again maybe it's the time for shorts.