No-size-fits-all: A struggle to find attire suitable for mayor’s wedding

I am what my grandfather would call, not unkindly, a bastard size.

I’m 6 feet tall, which isn’t abnormal, but my legs are so short they barely make it to the ground. I buy pants with a 30-inch inseam. Anything longer and the cuffs trail behind me like the train of a wedding dress.

The rest of me doesn’t need to be discussed other than to say there are no stores adequately stocked to outfit me. If you’re waiting for me to say I’m fat, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m just put together wrong.

My size became an issue because I’ve been invited to my city’s mayor’s wedding later this month and I thought it advisable to purchase a new suit.

Is that necessary? Not entirely. The invitation’s Frequently Asked Questions appendix, thoughtfully emailed out by hizzoner and hizz fiance, assured me, the guest, that, while they were certain I’d look great no matter what (even in my Grateful Dead shirt and battered jeans), I might feel, how to say, more comfortable in a sharp, dark suit, appropriate for an evening ceremony.

I hurried off to Nordstrom, where a tailor sized me up and expressed faux disappointment that they didn’t carry my bastard size. This is the store’s fault. Its suit jackets were what they call slim fit. The fit is tapered, but tapered more or less the opposite way I’m tapered.

I tried a couple of other stores, including one that could have tailored a suit to my size, but for a couple thousand dollars. I want to look nice for my mayor’s wedding, but I’m not going to spend more than $2,000 for something I’m just going to throw away after the champagne toast.

In shame and disappointment, I went to one of those clothiers that specialize in apparel for bastard-sized men. A salesman the size of the Oklahoma Sooners’ entire O-line offered to help me.

It was a great shop for my self-image. I felt like a frail, tiny ballerina as the salesman frantically rifled through the racks to find jackets and slacks small enough to fit me, the tiniest customer who ever minced into the store.

Eventually, he found a portion of a suit for me, minus the pants, but it’s an evening ceremony. Does everyone wear pants to an evening ceremony? He special-ordered the wee slacks, which should arrive any minute now.

“I hope you like the suit,” said the salesman, putting a $90 tie in its own little plastic bag.

I didn’t. I didn’t like the suit. I don’t ever feel comfortable in a suit. I feel like I’m trying to sell you something you don’t want. Maybe the salesman in the bastard-size store could pick up on my extreme lack of enthusiasm regarding suits. Maybe he felt like a guy trying to sell me something I didn’t want.

At any rate, I’ll be glad when this wedding is over and the mayor and his fiancee can go ahead with their lives, and I can go back to mine.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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