It’s not often that I find myself in a situation where I need to get dressed up these days.
I work in an elementary school where, at worst, the dress code is business casual. I attend a church that is very “come as you are.” If I were to show up in a suit, I’d draw some pretty strange looks.
There are a couple of suits in my closet. They just hang there. Rarely looked upon and worn only once in a blue moon.
Sadly, an occasion came up in recent days that saw me breaking out the old black suit.
When I pulled it off the hanger, I looked at it and felt a twinge of concern. Because it dawned on me that this suit is now 13 years old. I bought this suit in 2006 because I needed something appropriate to wear to my father’s funeral. Here I was in 2019, again, needing something appropriate to wear to a funeral.
But to say that I’ve put on some weight since 2006 would be a bit of an understatement. I mean, I’ve put on weight. I’ve lost weight. And I’ve put it back on.
Knowing that it’s been a while since I tried this suit on, I was a little afraid that it absolutely would not fit and I would have nothing appropriate to wear. But I looked at the label inside the pants and my fears were somewhat relieved. The number that indicated waste size was the same number of the pair of jeans I comfortably wear on casual Fridays, as well as the khaki pants that I alternate between throughout the rest of the work week. Good sign, right?
Except the makers of this suit must count differently than the people who make pants for Old Navy. Getting the pants up to my waste was no issue. Guess I haven’t packed on any pounds in my legs. The challenge came when it was time to button the pants. Let me tell ya, the struggle was real.
I think I got a bit of a taste of what women in 18th century France had to endure when being laced up in corsets that were three sizes too small. I can’t actually confirm it, but my internal organs may have shifted a bit. For a moment, I was almost certain that I’d punctured my gall bladder.
My will and my upper body strength overpowered my gut and I successfully got the pants buttoned. I knew once I had them buttoned, though, that I would not be able to use the bathroom until I was prepared to remove the pants for good. I just had to get through the funeral.
Then came the shirt. Technically, this white shirt that I chose to wear with my black suit did not come with the suit itself. It was a separate purchase. I’ve probably been through several white shirts over the years. Again, no real issues with getting the shirt on or buttoned… right up until I got to that top button at the neck. You know, the one that needs to close in order to properly wear a necktie? Yeah, that one.
I thought the button on my pants was a struggle. No… At least, with that one, I can suck in my gut and rearrange my kidneys. How do you suck in at the neck? Somehow, I managed to get that top button closed, a feat I can only attribute to an act of God. Been a while since I tied a tie, but I managed to get that done without much bloodshed.
Now we come to the suit jacket. You know how, traditionally, guys will wear a jacket with one button closed while standing, then unbutton while sitting? There was no way this jacket was going to button closed when I was standing. No way. Later, when a friend of mine was able to button his jacket as we stood at the end of the service, I just looked at him and muttered, “Show off!”
If ever there has been a moment that showed me how badly I need to trim down and get into some kind of better shape, it was the moment I fully assembled that suit. I felt like someone had tried to squeeze too much ground up meat into a too small sausage casing.
The building I’m moving into in a couple months has a fitness center. And a movie theater. I need to make a promise to myself that I’ll utilize the fitness center more than I utilize the movie theater. And… you know… eat a salad every now and then. Instead of all the pizza.