“WHY are you giving that to me?” Yer Man asked, looking horrified, “I mean, you’re coming with me aren’t you?”
We had a 20 per cent discount coupon for a suit shop near us and naturally I had thought that would be Yer Man’s department, that he’d trot off and fit himself out for the wedding but looking at his panicked expression, I realised I had got it terribly wrong.
“What if I get the wrong suit?” he fretted “I mean, I don’t even know what the groom is supposed to wear for a wedding, how would I know that?”
Taking him by the hand I dragged him into the sitting room where I pointed meaningfully at our mantlepiece.
It was positively groaning with wedding invitations – 17 in total actually – that we had been invited to, and participated in, over the past three years. Yer Man was Best Man for one, and MC for another and had also done several readings. He’s practically bloody Franc at this stage.
Seventeen weddings. In three years. All bar one of them in Ireland. All traditional. All featuring a number of men in matching suits. How hard could it be?
He turned pleading eyes on me – “Don’t make me go in there alone,” he cried dramatically, flinging himself on me. It turns out it is not only the bride who worries about what she’ll look like on the Big Day. Or who worries about the shop assistant coming into the dressing room. Men are people too you know.
Heaving a sigh I reluctantly agreed to go with him, warning him however that I’d be taking a backseat. He was to do all the choosing, all the work, I’d just be a back-up, in case of a cravat emergency or something.
“That’s grand,” he breathed, relieved “just once I’m not on my own. I probably won’t need you at all.”
Half an hour later we entered the suit shop, impressed by the neat rails of beautifully cut garments in all hues, complete with matching waistcoats, ties, hankies and even a jaunty top hat or two.
Yer Man strode manfully up to the desk and announced that he wanted to try on some suits for his upcoming wedding, chop chop, and be quick about it.
The shop assistant smiled winningly, blithley ignoring the chop chop part, and asked when the wedding was booked for.
Yer Man turned to me, panicked. The Shop Dude asked me a question, his frantic eyebrows wiggled at me, I wasn’t expecting questions, what do I say? WHAT DO I SAY?
“April 2011,” I sighed, seeing the way this was going to go.
And what colour scheme have you decided on, the Shop Dude asked.
“Blue!” Yer Man announced, all proud of himself.
“Lilac, actually,” I said mildly.
“That’s what I meant! I meant lilac!” Yer Man shouted placing a shaking hand to his temple.
And were you thinking of a waistcoat at all, or had you any other ideas… the Shop Dude trailed off as Yer Man’s legs gave way beneath him.
It was just too much for him. To date his clothes shopping experience has extended to going into a shop, picking up a few pairs of jeans in his waist and leg size, picking up a few shirts and tees in a medium and going to the till. Nobody had actually asked him anything before, nobody had mentioned anything about chest size in inches and measuring tapes and while we’re on the subject, what the fuck is a cravat? Whatever it was, he thought feverishly, it sounded painful and he wasn’t wearing it.
Handing a glass of water to Yer Man, the Shop Dude turned to me and discreetly began showing me a selection of suits that he thought might be appropriate.
He brought a shortlist over to Yer Man, keeping up the pretence, and presented them to him one by one. Swallowing hard Yer Man bravely chose a simple black suit, with a regular length jacket, earning an approving nod from the assistant.
And, not to panic you or anything Sir, but would you like a white or ivory waistcoat…
Yer Man stood up, pale, but determined and without even looking at me, answered firmly “Ivory, definitely ivory,” waving the Shop Dude off to find the right shade in the stockroom.
“Did I get that right?” Yer Man asked clutching desperately at my hand, the minute the assitant had left. “It is ivory isn’t it? For the love of God tell me it’s ivory, quick, before he comes back!”
I assured him he was correct then sent him off to try on the whole ensemble in the dressing room. The Shop Dude added a lilac hanky and cravat and the look was complete.
Yer Man looked only gorgeous so he did and he was chuffed with himself.
“I look like a groom,” he marvelled, all smiles now that the making-decisions part was over with, preening and turning in front of the mirror. “And a cravat is only a fancy word for a wider tie,” he told me wisely, like I had been the one who had a problem with it.
Rolling our eyes at each other, the Shop Dude and I left Yer Man grinning at himself in the mirror and finished off the paperwork.
So the suits are booked and Yer Man enjoyed himself so much he’s planning another shopping trip shortly.
I may have created a monster.