This week I’m going to a wedding in Jernsey, an island just off the coast of France near where I live. It’s been a while since I went to a fancy do, so I did the usual thing, which is to get my suit out of the wardrobe about a week beforehand and try it on.
I got a new shirt and tie, so I put those on and they look nice. The suit has a waistcoat – I like waistcoats – so I put that on, and it’s smashing. The jacket is also looking very swish. The trousers, on the other hand, are a cause of concern. They have three fastenings at the top and it’s a good job they do, because they are so tight that a single button would not have handled the strain.
I breathe in and I heave and I pull and eventually get them fastened, and then I attempt to sit down, an activity I rapidly have to abort due to the discomfort involved and the extreme risk it poses to my perfectly innocent trousers.
I contemplate attending a wedding at which I have to politely decline all opportunities to sit down and where I have to avoid eating anything all day long. I decide this is not a world I want to live in.
On Saturday I take the trousers to work with me, and in my lunchbreak head out to a tailoring and clothing alterations place nearby where the man has a look, explains that there’s enough extra in the waistline to let them out by about four centimetres, and gets this job done in the time it takes me to find a working cashpoint and come back with the money. I try them on and find this modest change is ideal – the trousers are now well fitted but with plenty of room to breathe, to sit, and to insert a three-course dinner. Problem solved.
I return to work and relate these events to one of my colleagues. Oh yes, she says, I think everyone’s going through a bit of that these days. She and her husband went to a wedding just last week, one that had been postponed since Spring 2020, and the pre-pandemic suit her husband had bought in February of that year no longer fit properly. He had to have the trousers adjusted in exactly the same way to fit his post-lockdown waistline.
It’s the lockdowns, she said. We all did less exercise and ate more food. It gets to us all. I laughed with her and agreed. It gets to us all.
In my head was a different thought. It’s not lockdown. I only bought this suit six months ago and it fitted then. It’s not lockdown, it’s just too many biscuits.
But I’m not saying that to anyone. They can never know.