Gone are the days when your Mum would buy your pants for you, now buying underwear involves a panic stricken trip to the shop and even then you might come back empty handed.
So I need some new pants. Ideally they would have a comfortable wide gusset. Soft, yet strongly elasticated. It’s never been easy for me to buy pants. My mum used to buy my underwear, but ever since she passed, I’ve been going into this place in Victoria, central London. Back in the traumatic summer of 2000, after months of trying to work out how I would summon up the courage to buy my own pants, I discovered this place. I liked the way they kept their pants in a discrete little corner aisle. Suddenly, the world seemed an easier place for me. Yeah, I was still grieving, but my grieving would continue in new pants. Grieving is so much easier in new pants.
Now, a decade on, I returned to this shop to find that suddenly, they’re keeping their pants behind the till. So now you got to queue up and ask for them in front of other customers. What’s the idea behind that? What was wrong with the way things were? Was there some big in-store meeting and under ‘Any Other Business’ someone raised the possibility of transferring the pants from that corner aisle to behind the till? Did they hope this idea would get them noticed by the manager and thus kick-start their retail career? I find this staggering.
Of course, they’ve got to put the prettiest girl on the till. The guy in front of me, he asks for a pack of pants. The female cashier, all lip-gloss and long nails, asks him what size. “Medium,” he replies. She gives him a dismissive look that suggests she had him pegged down as a ‘small’. Suddenly, she has to get this stepladder out and everyone is treated to this spectacle of her going up the ladder to fetch this man’s latest pants. Come on, that’s just wrong. I can’t do that. I just dropped out of the queue, as did a couple of other guys. I went home knowing I must now find a new place to buy my pants from.
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