We just finished eating sea urchin for the first time, and the wine is beginning to have a warming effect. We step out the door, and the air is cold enough to numb our teeth. But we don’t care. The night is ours, we say, and the kids are safe with mom-mom and pop-pop. We step out into the cold, shirking our parental responsibilities, and walk north on Passyunk, our feet to lead us where they will.
Thirteen blocks later, with numb toes, we find ourselves across the street from Philly Aids Thrift. It doesn’t look inviting from the outside, with its bright florescent lights shining on mannequins, scantily dressed in Valentine’s Red. I don’t want to go in, but I concede, desiring to warm up. Besides, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for six years (or more). It’s time.
I browse upstairs, but find nothing of interest. The hipster t-shirts (to my surprise) are too small, the pants too big, and the dress shirts too tattered. I resign myself to another six years in wardrobal purgatory. Rachel is having more success, though, and as she tries things on in the fitting room, I browse through obscure books and precariously piled kitchenware, hoping against hope to find that perfectly balanced mug for my morning brew.
Having no success, I venture back to the fitting rooms. There are some suits and blazers hanging outside. I own a suit, and I hate it, I think to myself. I should’ve taken it to the thrift store long ago. The color is not me, and it’s oversized – wretched suit.
I try on a few of the jackets, not even bothering with the pants. I have a small frame, and they are all too broad at the shoulders. With diminishing hope, and for the sake of passing time, I continue. I move on to the blazers, trying on one after another. The last one. Hmm. This one feels cozy, I think, as I look into the wall mirror. Not too big. The arms just the right length. A Gray Blazer – just for me. I peep my head around Rachel’s dressing room curtain. ‘Eh?’ I grunt. And she loves it. Success.
If the suit makes the man, then I am now half a man.