As part of the pre-pre-ceremony for the wedding we’re having a second engagement party this Monday (in fact it so precedes the event it’s happening over a year prior). I set out four days ago to buy a new suit for the occasion to bring my total number of suits to a sum that allows me to refer to them as suits as opposed to the sole suit I know own. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds. I’m not a large man by any means, but I felt, after taking a quick survey of men on the street this afternoon, that I’m not freakishly small either. I like to think of myself as comfortably resting on the western, leftward slope of the height bell curve with most of my fellow Euro-Americans east/right of me, but plenty of our newest Americans from regions of the world fraught with malnutrition to keep me company on the western slope. Yet a thorough search of men’s clothing stores north of canal street turned up not one suit under $1,000 that would fit me, and not one suit that I would pay more than $10 to own. Every single coat-pant combo that I could buy was too big. Evidentially, if you’re my size you have to have suits made for you driving the price into quadruple digits. I started off going to small cheap chains like H&M or Banana Republic and they had nothing. I moved up to Macy’s, Brooks Brothers, and Bloomingdale’s, stores with several floors of men’s formal wear, and they had not one suit I could buy.
I believe this suit-less-ness could be no clearer indication that the Corporate Bastard is not just trying to homogenize us in look and thought but also in body shape. If you’re not 6 feet tall then you have to try and get married in jeans resulting in a jilting at the alter for your slovenliness so your lady can go procreate with someone who can produce kids that fit into mass produced clothing. Friends suggested that it was probably a supply and demand thing with the actual cause having to do with the prevalence of 6 foot men with money and the effect being the big suits, until I relayed this exchange: I go into Barney’s and ask the suit guy if he has any 36-short sized suits. He asked what I’d like to spend. I say $400 (a little bit of an overestimation). He tells me they have nothing in the store at that price. They have literally 2 floors of suits. I grab the first price tag I see and it reads: SALE $348. I bring this to the suit guy’s attention and he says, “well, I meant, we have nothing in your price range in your size”. I ask why not, and he says, “we simply don’t carry clothing that small, maybe you could go to the gym and bulk up a little.” Judging by the tenor of his voice, I estimate he was 20 percent joking and 80 percent giving sincere advice. That translates to 80 percent of his head so lost in exploring the cavernous folds of his own arse that it seems reasonable to him to suggest that I might alter my entire body shape to buy his clothing.
In the end I found a shop near where I work. It’s the last store going south on Broadway far past where most people look. Every shopper there other than myself was a Latino man over the age of 70. And I bought a funky, pimpin’, cigar smoking, salsa drumming, badass suit. Price = not $400.