Monday, 8 October 2007

Clothes

When a button comes off one of my shirts it's invariably the one at the bottom. I could tuck my shirt in but there's enough for my waistband to contend with already, so if I want to avoid the impression that I am wearing a nappy or some other kind of anti-incontinence aid I have to staple or pin the bottom of my shirt. The result is, in part, the cause of my scruffiness. I also seem to have something of a big neck. I'm no goitered rugby player but I don't think I possess a shirt that does up at the collar. Wedding photos have me as the only one with an apparently loose tie even though at the time I felt choked.

It's hard to determine all the other factors that contribute to my inability to look smart but it's something I have been aware of since a very young age: even in my school photos I am the only one without his tie done up properly. My mum won't thank me for saying this but it may in part be due to the budgetary limitations that were par for the course in the 1970s. Many of my clothes were hand-me-downs or, if they were shop bought, had to last a lot longer than the stuff kids have in their wardrobes now. I recall complaining bitterly that the trousers my mum or nan had made for me (out of this weird 'bobbly' blue material) didn't have flies in them. Instead they had an elasticated waistband which necessitated pulling the trousers down every visit to the toilet. I think that's one of the reasons why I don't drink enough water today. I have recently got out of the habit of getting my arse out in urinals though.

Underwear was always a big problem. My son wouldn't even entertain the idea of wearing 'pants' and he would laugh in my face if I presented him with underwear that had some kind of childish motif on them. I didn't get much choice it has to be said. I tried not to make it an issue until, aged 11, I asked my mum if I could have some new underwear. "They'll do you for another couple of years," she said as I waved some moth eaten, nylon yellow cacks with a little blue anchor on the front. "But it says age 3-5 in the label."

Don't get me wrong: I'm not going for a hard done by sympathy vote here. It's how it was back then. The necessary prudence had a two-fold effect on me as I got older. With my son I tend to buy him everything he wants: clothes are cheaper by a long way- not only relatively but also in many instances pound for pound. If I had a time machine I'd take dozens of pairs of Primark socks and pants back to the 70s and make a killing. Actually, that might not be my priority but it'd be worth having up my tattered sleeve. With me, though, I tend to baulk at spending more than a fiver for a T shirt and 40 quid for a pair of trousers still feels extortionate (I am assured by many that this is cheap but still can't believe it).

The other weird thing is that people who were my current age then were always impeccably smart. My grandad wore a tie out to picnics and I doubt he ever got so much as a drop of salad cream on it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't it be "whom I'd known" rather than "who I'd known"? Just wanted to assert my pedantry. (Am I the C you refer to?)

Matt said...

sigh... yes, technically it should and, of course, I am glad you spotted it. And yes.

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar_quiz/who_1.asp

Anonymous said...

Got 15/20 in the quiz so I guess my pedantry is slightly misplaced. Thanks for being so gracious though. Just realised that I posted the original comment against the wrong blog entry; so much for getting things right . . .

Matt said...

yeah I noticed. didn't say anything though

Matt said...

I got 16. stupid quiz anyway. if you say whom people think you're a tosser. and that goes a long way when it comes to fighting pedantic urges

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