August 23rd, 2006

Baby and me

Mystery: The Art of Shopping

by Young Geoffrey Dow

Shopping, as is well-known, is the Art by which wealthy Westerners in the early 20th Century most oftem entertain themselves.

As Woman gains ascendancy in an age where Man's influence wanes - the Hunter, become anachronism; the Gatherer, become Queen - it behooved me to make another effort to "get with the times" (as might have been said by someone hip 20 or 30 years ago - leave it be).

More than one acquaintances has suggested Shopping as a means of both distracting myself from my new-found singledom and of providing myself a high that, for once, involves neither a still nor an underground greenhouse.

"Buy yourself some nice clothes!" rang the chorus and so it was, today - after many false starts - I found myself entring the remarkably unprepossing doors of historic The Hudson Bay store at the corner of streets Queen and Bay.

Immediately upon ascent of a short flight of stairs, I found myself made small amongst endless displays of a curious undergament known as "jockey shorts", or just "jockeys".

Jockeys seem a most peculiar undergarment, excessive. Not only do they clearly do the job (though I confess to wondering at its necessity, outside of a playing field), providing a snug pouch into which one's manhood may be comfortably cocooned, but they also fully cover not only the buttocks but also a goodly stretch of thigh in the bargain.

Having grown up swimming naked, even a pair of Speedos strikes me as too much coverage; and having gone bareback lo several decades now, I attempted to move swiftly past the briefs.

But I found myself distracted, indeed stopped, by rack upon wrack of bath-robes and pyjamas.

Now, it is true I no longer have a pair of pyjamas, but it is still summer and I do have a rather nice robe I call my own, since it is my own, a gift from my Sainted Mother.

With an effort of will, I pulled myself from the display of night-clothes and moved on, in pursuit of my intended prey. (And here perhaps, is where my failure began; for is not the true pleasure in Shopping to be found in the search, and not in the finding?

I did not search. I barely noticed the hoisery displayed between myself and the Men's Casual department. And there I found myself at sea.

Pants, pants, everywhere!
But nary a pair
To try on.

I was overwhelmed. I looked at Dockers (so many Dockers, so many kinds of them!), and - well, and at other brands; the names escape me 5 hours later - checked sizes and sort of checked styles.

For perhaps 10 minutes, I wandered about, clearly a lost soul, a threadbare man overcome by the richness of unworn garments around him.

I did not try on a single pair of pants. I gave up on shirts after after idly picking up no more than 2 or 3 of them. "Large?" I muttered bitterly, "What the hell does that mean? What's the fucking neck size! That would tell me something!"

And so at length, I found The Bay's egress. Sweaty and bitchy, I crossed Queen to await a crowded streetcar.

Naturally, as I waited, it began to rain.