As you all know, I got my bespoke suit recently. I’ve been wearing it everywhere since then, including today, when I went to class. And yes, I know I’ve been talking about my bespoke suit every chanceI get, but really…I can’t get over just how nice it is. Unbelievable comfort intertwined with a handsome and respectful image. But let me stop fawning over the object of my sartorial satisfaction and continue with my story.
Last night I actually got in bed early enough so that I wouldn’t be fighting the impossibly heavy eyelids that accompany sleep deprivation. As a result of my infinite wisdom, I was able to get to class early. I walk into the classroom and nod at Professor Kevin Smith, greeting him with a simple, “Professor.” He nods back and comments, “Wow. Presentation?” I told him, “Well, you know, tomorrow’s Halloween…I thought I would dress up today for fun.” He finds this deeply humorous and chuckles with one of those internal knowing nods, “Heh, hehe, that’s funny….”. He keeps eating this Halloween donut: it’s got orange icing and black and orange sprinkles. He takes a swig of some iced tea in a glass bottle as I sit down.There was a Hispanic kid sitting there already (plus a couple of kids and professor). I notice that this Hispanic kid was dressed up too. Three piece, like myself. Of course, his suit’s quality is questionable, as is his taste in ties. But hey, he’s still better dressed than 95% of the student population. My professor tells me he couldn’t dress up like that everyday. I proudly explain that I was wearing bespoke garments and that they’re the most comfortable clothing I own. His eyebrows raise, expressing, “Oh, I see.” I felt like going on and on about how every man should have a bespoke suit and how the average American has come to equate dressing up with discomfort, and the fact that bespoke clothing would remedy such discomfort and aversion towards suits. But this was neither the time nor place.Anna the Russian girl walks into the classroom. And funnily enough, she is dressed up too: casual business style. She’s wearing casual black pants, the matte Dockers type, with black stockings, black heels. Her black suit jacket could pass for office attire, but not in the boardroom. The large collar of her white shirt flared over her blazer, spicing up an outfit that was otherwise ordinary. She eyes me before sitting down in the seat next to the empty one to my right.
Professor Kevin Smith jokes, “I guess I didn’t get the memo…” Funny guy, I like him. Today he isn’t wearing his wedding band. “Now I feel underdressed for this class.” He smiles that warm funny smile of his.
The late stragglers file in one by one and I get looks from every one of them. Michael Andrews Bespoke did a fine job (I should really get paid for all the times I mention them…). It’s like when a woman puts on sexy lingerie: she feels different and acts differently, even though nobody can see it. Except, well, in my case you can what I’m wearing quite clearly.
The professor starts talking about the thesis we need to hand in, in spite of more than half of the students being late. Throughout the class I notice that Anna is looking at me. I wondered what she was thinking. As often as she looked at me, she checked her phone. A bold move, considering that we are sitting in the first row, with the professor not ten feet away from us. Anna shifts in her seat a bunch of times, and each time her perfume wafts towards me. It’s a decidedly feminine scent, and I realize that I had never actually had an olfactory fantasy before.
The time came for a much needed breakin thedouble period class. Anna rapidly leaves her seat, phone already opened up and dialing as she made her way to the door. I have to wake myself up, so I walk to the bathroom to wash my hands with cold water. And after I did that, I check myself out in the mirror. I feel disgusted at my vanity but am impressed (yet again) by my suit. I tighten up the sides of my slicked back hair and exit the facilities.
As I confidently swagger down the hallway, I see Anna by the doorway of our classroom. She’s talking on her phone. The bustling bodies block line of sight of our eyes, but when the avenue was clear our eyes locked ever so briefly. She averts her eyes toward the ground and looked away, hanging up her phone as she retreats inside the classroom.
I unbutton my suit jacket and sat down in my seat. The break wasn’t over yet, and the room is still slightly empty. A few quiet souls are pecking away at their cellphones and iPods. I turn to Anna.
“So what’s your excuse?”
“What, men get to dress up and women can’t?” she replies, eyeing my suit and exposed cufflink. I couldn’t tell if she was being defensive or just joking.
“I take it you enjoy dressing nicely,” I say to her.
“Yeah, I got tired of wearing jeans all the time.” This time I can tell she’s more relaxed.
“It’s a shame people don’t dress up more often.”
“Yeah, I know…” She seems a little wistful. “So why are you all dressed up in your fancy suit?”
“These are the most comfortable clothes I have. Besides, I believe in having respect for one’s appearance.”
“That’s pretty obvious, you even shined your shoes like crazy.” Apparently she noticed the mirror shine on my shoes. I nod in affirmation.
Students pile into the classroom, and I wonder how some of them managed to grab slices of pizza in the short ten minutes we had for a break. Class resumes. And so do Anna’s sidelong glances. After a while, Anna crossed her legs again and wrapped her arms around herself, trying to warm herself up in the cold classroom. That feminine scent makes its way through my nostrils as I inhale a deep breath in an attempt to wake myself up. It was a familiar smell, one that invites dimly lit romantic notions into my imagination. Somehow, it even evoked a sense of warmth.
The professor uses every last minute allotted to him, and soon I hear the sounds of a mass of students trying their best to discreetly yet hurriedly pack their things to get to their next class. I tucked my cahier notebook and Cross pen into my inside pocket and rose from my seat. Anna diverted her eyes again when I turned towards her.
“Did you know I’m psychic?” I ask her.
“So that’s why you dress like that…you have a show to perform in,” she jested with a smirk.
“You met a guy two weeks ago.”
Her eyes lit up and her jaw dropped as much as allowed while remaining ladylike. “…How did you know?”
“You enjoy a cultural connection with him: you are both Russian.” I waited for her silence and continued.
“You really like him, but there’s a couple of things you don’t like about him. One of the things on your mind recently is that you wish he had a better fashion sense.” I let the moment stew in befuddled amazement. She is speechless.
I give her a polite smile and exit.
On the way out, I heard her walking behind me. Her phone clacked open and she was connected with her new boyfriend. In gushing sugary tones tinged in a Russian accent, she asked her love, “Wutchoo doin’?” She giggled and started speaking in Russian. I made my way home. Waiting for my train in the subways, I realized this was one of those little punctuations in my life.