Pete’s Forward

Forward: My mom and I walked into the C&R Clothiers on Clairmont Mesa Boulevard in San Diego. I was a Sophomore in College and she was down visiting. In addition to the usual meaningful conversations, walks on the beach, and graciously accepted fancy meals, she was to intervene on my naive student life in a new way that day.
“Can I help you?”
“Uh, yea. I have to, uh… I need to buy a suit.” He smiled, more friendly than condescendingly, looked at me, then my mom.
“What is the occasion?”
“My sister is getting married.” He quickly exchanged some words with my mom about price ranges. I had been doing the talking; yet, it was clear who was in control of the situation. He led us over to wall rack.
“So,” addressing me again,” “This will basically be the only suit you will ever own. You will wear it to your sisters wedding, to job interviews, to funerals?”
Mom and I both chuckled at his rhetorical question.
It was a reasonably priced single breasted two piece. Black with faint gray pin stripes. The all purpose model. Scores of specific questions came at me regarding the tailoring.
“Would you like cuffed pant legs?”
“Uh… No.” He winced a little and looked at my mom for help. They didn’t want me to look like a square and it was clear I didn’t know the fashion. “OK. Cuffs are fine.” As he wrote down some final measurements and Mom began to open her purse, I was allowed to roam free in order to pick out a tie. The one I liked was a burgundy red with a pattern of small and sufficiently spaced blue and white diamonds. Mom was “shocked,” that I would choose for myself, “such a conservative tie.”

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