Bears in suits

I can’t remember the last time I wore a tie with a suit. Maybe Melbourne Cup last year? The rare occasions I wear a suit these days it’s generally with a nice shirt, but no tie, which is becoming quite normal. Today though in preparation for an important meeting I figured I had to dress to impress and so on went the tie. Then I looked in the mirror and thought fuck, how times have changed.

I’ve always looked good in a suit. I know it, but I’ve had enough people telling me it over the years that it was never in doubt. I had the build, the look, more than anything else, the utter ease in wearing a well cut suit. Those days are gone. Beautiful suit, lovely shirt, my favourite tie, a cool pair of shoes and it should be the perfect combo. Nup. I looked in the mirror and wondered who that guy was looking back at me. I looked like one of those guys who look uncomfortable in a suit as if they never wear them. You know the type. I looked like a bloody linebacker squeezing into Versace; for the first time I figured that if I’m not already then I’m coming the proverbial bear of a man. Not happy.

Earlier I’d put on a lovely Paul Smith shirt and taken it off again because it was skin tight around my biceps. I’d changed into another shirt with bigger arms thinking already that it wasn’t a good sign. I don’t want to be this big – not that I am really, but too big for anything off the rack. Then there’s my beard these days, which is really only a half beard as much hipster as anything else. Except when I look in the mirror it looks much more rugged than hipster in combination with a suit. I looked like I should be chopping down trees.

As it happened it was no big deal. Had a very good meeting and emerged onto the street with the sun streaming down. I felt buoyant. The sun was a delight. This is life, isn’t it? I wandered down a laneway speaking on the phone. Then I stopped at a small cafe lining up to get a takeaway latte – such a Melbourne ritual. While I waited I realised how much I had missed something as simple as this. Life is really made up of small rituals, but my life has been so variable lately that few rituals have been allowed to develop. The coffee ritual is deep, abiding, and almost universal across the city. Joining in again I remembered how it was and felt again part of the common weal. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing.

Hopefully it’ll be a while again before I need wear a tie, but I was glad for a while to be part of the team again.

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