In September I reach my thirty-eighth year. By then, I believe I will have completed my transition into becoming a bloke, in the blokely sense of the meaning. I say bloke, because although I’d like to be a ‘chap’, I don’t have the hair nor moustache-growing ability to become a true chap. For the epitome of chap, check out the Gentleman Rhymer.
I’ve always liked certain things such as expensive, hand-made shoes made from calf leather, decent suits and shirts, good Gin, Whiskeys, Ales but I’ve never had the confidence, nor the money to actually go out and get what I want.
Then I had a promotion, which gave me a boost in my confidence, self-respect and pay.
Prior to the interview, I had purchased a lovely black three-piece suit from Moss Bros., one of their Blazer range. Along with a red handkerchief it made me feel right. People could – and did- take the piss but to be honest, rather than take umbrage, I actually found I couldn’t give a fig for it.
This suit made me feel good. It made me look bloody amazing, and it got me the job. Laugh all you want people, it worked.
Having got the promotion, I thought I deserved to go out and splash the cash a bit. Being a father of two and a doting husband, I find it much easier to spend money on my family rather than myself. I might buy the odd bottle of good whiskey and the latest Battlefield game for the Xbox, but that’s about it as far as truly ‘splashing’ goes when it comes to treating myself.
Not this time. I’d spotted a pair of Loake- Tan ‘Chester’ gibson brogues at Debenhams, and went straight down there on Father’s Day; two days after finding out I’d been successful. Having bought the Loakes, I realised that I needed to get a suit that complimented them.
One quick walk to Moss Bros. later and I had an amazing Ted Baker Endurance suit in beige, the perfect match for the shoes. I also bought a Rotary on a whim, with a lovely brown leather strap. Not once did I have buyer’s remorse. I felt amazing. The shoes moulded to my feet like slippers, the suit was heavy in all the right places and yet felt like I’d put on a body glove. It all felt so good.
Now, when I go to work, I’m the best-dressed bloke in my area. People still take the mickey about my waistcoat when I wear it, but I really couldn’t care. I’ve gone from dressing for my previous role – jeans and shirt – to dressing for my current role and above. The world truly is my oyster and I’m determined to keep succeeding in all areas, whilst looking and feeling good.
When I’m out with the family, rather than putting on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I put on my linen chinos and a shirt (did I mention that Sainsbury’s do an excellent line in decently priced, but quality shirts and trousers?).
The change has been so radical that I even rotate my shoes so that no pair takes too much of a battering, and I polish them as often as I can. I’ve even taken up ironing to ensure my shirts are sharp enough to cut the dull wit of my detractors.
Not only do I now dress better, the dressing better has improved my confidence. Previously I wasn’t one for going out. I used to love clubbing – hardcore, techno, ambient etc – but once I started to get settled down into married life, I lost the will to go out. Trawling around numerous pubs annoys the hell out of me. Find one and settle down for a good night of talking, don’t wander around from place-to-place for no good reason other than to burn some calories. I would even say that I went so far as to avoid going out whenever possible.
Last night saw me happily ensconced in Harry’s Grill Bar with a friend, tucking into my first Rib-eye steak and enjoying a bottle – between us I hasten to add – of ‘The Exhibitionist’, a very tasty Merlot indeed! It got to the point where we were going to say ‘stuff Harry Potter’ and stay in the restaurant. In hindsight, that might well have been a better idea as the film itself was somewhat ‘meh’.
I had so much fun, that I’m even considering starting up the Exonian Steak Club, to meet in Harry’s and other salubrious steak-cooking restaurants (although Harry’s is bloody fabulous). There truly is nothing better than having good food, good wine (and ale) and good company in a place where conversation is suitably muted and you know no-one is going to kick-off because you happened to glance at them. I might sound old before my time but, as I sip my Manstree Vineyard 2009 Mayval dry vintage, I can say with hand-on-heart that I don’t care.
I honestly can’t wait to see where my transformation will take me, but I’m fairly certain hitting forty will see me get my first tailored suit. I do wonder whether I’ll be seeing some tweed at some point. I hope so.