Every couple of years Mrs Crox comes out with it and says that I’m a scruffy herbert, and I’d look so much nicer … so much sexier … in decent clothes, especially a suit. Now, I used to have a couple of really nice designer-yet-off-the-peg suits, but they’ve long been recycled into industrial draught excluders. And it so happens that I am experiencing an ongoing crisis of entrouserment, in that almost all my trousers have got paint/putty/glue/sawdust/chickenshit/miscellaneous biological stains/other (delete as applicable) ingrained into them; have seams/buttons/flies much repaired and repatched; or have shrunk, especially in the midlands. The subject of suits came up in the course of havering over a job application (see post below) and although I decided in the end not to apply for the job, the thought of suits remained.
The task, then, was to measure myself. And so, equipped with a tape measure and those few clothes that still fitted, I discovered that I have a 52″ chest, a 48″ waist and a 32″ inside leg. A frame, indeed, that one might call ‘Olympian’ (though Crox Minor refers to it in public as ‘Gargantuan’).
My first visit was to ASBO ASDA which is really good for clothes – plentiful, cheap, and well-made, and often in sizes for the more prominent male. This is why, I expect, that in America it’s called ‘Whale Mart’. Sadly, it was not to be. The suits, though dead cheap, didn’t quite aspire to covering my stupendous deportment. The jackets went up to a pigeon-chested 48″, and the entrouserments – well, let’s not go there. I did come out of ASDA with a couple of XXXL T-shirts and a pair of underpants with pictures of Superman on them, which I guess is a kind of consolation prize, but the Quest for Suits remained unfulfilled. At the checkout I opined to the salesperson that I’d have to shop for suits at Mr Fat Bastard, but this jocund japery was met by a stony silence.
That’s when Mrs Crox suggested Debenhams, a deportment department store which has furnished the Crox wardrobe in the past. A couple of clicks and I was on their website, which advertised suits for the larger gentleman. So it was that Mrs Crox and I found ourselves at the Norwich branch of the store. A 52″ jacket in dark charcoal with a subtle yet stylish pinstripe was a perfect fit, but the 48″ trousers were too baggy. “Perhaps you’d like to try a smaller size?” suggested the helpful assistant – the nicest thing anyone’s said to me for ages. The 46″ trousers fitted me like a ferret – the salesperson said he thought I looked great. “I bet you say that to all the boys” was my riposte. I bought the jacket and not one but two pairs of trousers. Given that the Debenhams Big+Tall range is called ‘Centaur’, I felt that two pairs of trousers had to be a working minimum.
Mrs Crox pronounces the results satisfactory, though Crox Minor said that I looked like Cobra Bubbles, the secret agent in Lilo and Stitch.
I also bought a couple of shirts. Now, when I go into the office on Monday wearing my swanky new duds, people are sure to ask me whether I’m going to a job interview. “You might say that,” I’ll respond – “but I could not possibly comment”.