Sunday, 22 January 2012

I bought the Senior Cat

two shirts yesterday. This is a major event and, I decided, worthy of comment.
The Senior Cat (aka my father) dislikes buying clothes. I dislike buying clothes. His one idea about buying clothes is not to buy anything until the old one quite literally falls to pieces. No, I lie. The other idea is that you buy the same thing as you bought before - if you can.
When he retired my father no longer needed to wear a collar and tie to work. (Soon after that most teachers - at least in state schools - did not wear a collar and tie to work.) My mother muttered things and put aside his best shirts for "wearing out" and the rest of his shirts for the other sort wearing out. He still has most of those.
Those shirts are thin. They are patched. They have odd buttons. He claims he can still wear them. He refuses to give them up. After all they "only a few years old". He only retired in the early 1980s!
Yesterday he was going to an 80th birthday party. He came out dressed - in a "house shirt". One of those not quite ready for the garden/shed but not a "going out" shirt. I gently told him this. He wanted to know what was wrong with the shirt. I pointed out the deficiencies - odd buttons and a stain on the front that I had not been able to shift. The stain is not that obvious but it is there. The shirt looks tired even without that.
Grumbling he went and took it off. I prowled after him and suggested a shirt. There are just two short-sleeved shirts I think are suitable for expeditions outside the house.
When he had gone I threw caution to the four winds and, despite the heat, pedalled off to the one place that might have a shirt at a reasonable price. I was aware it was a little late in the season for shirt hunting but he is off to Sydney on Tuesday and I want him to be presentable.
I prowled through the male clothing section of the "variety store". There were a great many knit tops. He does not wear knit tops. There were some cheap cowboy looking shirts. He would not wear those. A conservative open neck sports shirt seems to be a thing of the past - at least in that sort of shop. I prowled into the aisle with "business shirts". These days they come in pink, purple, lilac check and khaki as well as white and blue. Most of them have button down collars - another thing he refuses to contemplate.
There were shirts with long sleeves everywhere. Then I found one with short sleeves. Of course it was the wrong size.
Another woman was going through the shirts as well. We exchanged sizes and I found one in the size she was looking for. She put it in her trolley with barely a glance at it. I understood the feeling. At last I found a white one with short sleeves which was the right size.
"Do you want white or blue?" the woman asked me holding out a second shirt. This one was blue.
"Both," I told her, "Then the torture will be over for a while."
She laughed and I held out a second shirt to her as well.
"Both - any my torture will be over for a while too."
I left her shopping for other things and went to stand in the long queue. It was, I contemplated, marginally less painful than trying to find a shirt for myself. I bought two for far less than I would be required to pay for one shirt for myself. His will probably still be in style in twenty years time. Anything I bought for myself would probably be out of fashion in a year. Is it any wonder I hate buying clothes for myself?


widdershins said...

fashion - smashoin ... wear what you want, and be damned to what 'they' say!

Anonymous said...

I like your father - I follow the same principle about buying clothes - except that the items that I bought ten years ago, if they are still around, are of poorer quality and twice the price -

catdownunder said...

Ah Anonymous (is that you Roger by any chance?) all I can do is sympathise madly!