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4:21pm on Saturday, 8th January, 2011:

Present Paucity


As it's my birthday a couple of days from now, my wife decided that I ought to go to Colchester this afternoon to buy myself some presents from her.

I do actually need some things. I need a new overcoat and I need a new jacket for work. Notice I said "do" there; I didn't manage to get either, despite wandering around Colchester town centre for two hours and being predisposed to man-shop the first thing I saw that would do.

The particular kind of overcoat I wanted I wasn't holding out much hope I'd find anyway. I like one that does all the way up to the top and is made of something that can fend off a shower by means other than absorbing it. My current coat fits the bill, but it's navy blue, old and the buttons have come off the shoulder flaps.

As for the jacket, well I was expecting to find something suitable but I didn't. I wanted something the same kind of style as the jacket of a siut, but not part of a suit and made of a thicker material. A copy of my current black corduroy jacket would be ideal, except without holes worn through where I keep my keys, without crumpledness from too many times in the washing machine, and without the little snick it has on it that was probably caused by an attack by a tiger or something. Oh, I wanted it a bit thicker so I could be warmer in winter, too.

Anyway, they didn't have anything suitable at Marks & Spencer where I usually get my jackets, nor at any of the other shops I tried. There are three times as many shops for women as there are for men, and the shops that cater for both have three times the amount of floor space for women than they have for men, so my choice was limited. However, men don't have so many different varieties of clothes, so in theory that shouldn't have mattered. Lots of people wear jackets, especially university lecturers who have to do so in order that people can tell at a glance from their shabby, mismatched style that they're university lecturers. One of my colleagues still regularly wears a red-grey jacket he used to wear when I was an undergraduate.

Jackets are like handbags for men. I keep things in my pockets that I'm going to need, like money, credit cards, keys, business cards, pens, notebooks, driving licence, memory stick, universal tool, bits of paper I mean to throw out next time I find a bin, ... If I didn't have a jacket, I'd have to carry that around in my trouser pockets, which would make it hard to sit down. I have several other winter jackets, but I lost weight and they don't all fit any more. Maybe I should eat more cake?

Oh well, no presents from my wife for me on Monday...

Tsk, I should have tried Oxfam, I bet they have lots of old men's jackets.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).