“Style, friend, style!”
– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
We thought we’d solved the conundrum of the Thanksgiving Christmas Party. Not so! One final hitch of the sartorial variety awaited us.
Monday evening Jeff burst in the door after work and exclaimed, “Get up, get dressed, we have to find a tuxedo!”
To explain, I was dressed to go to the gym, not undressed. I’d also had a very long day with some fun but extremely labor intensive freelance projects that had cropped up at the last minute and had barely just plopped down on the sofa for a rest before tackling the next stage of one of them. But I popped up and threw on some real clothes to dash out the door with him a few minutes later. I’ve mentioned before that odd requests without context are fairly standard operating procedure for us.
It turns out that clarification had been given only that afternoon to the dress code on the invitation for the event. Originally it had been one of those modern, unhelpful directions that don’t actually tell you what you’re supposed to wear. “Dress to impress.” It had been confirmed, at this late stage, that it meant, “Black tie,” and normal suits weren’t going to cut it.
So, off we went to hire a tux, just hoping we got to the only store open past 5pm (almost the whole of London shuts down after typical business hours, something I usually don’t mind at all) while it was still open. The Tube is a time crapshoot. As it turns out we fell in the door mere minutes before the hire department closed for the evening. Me with messy hair and both of us a bit winded. I was sure they would demand why a couple of wheezy plebes like us needed evening clothes but luckily we got the thing ordered just in the nick of time (two customers were turned away after us) and with no questions asked.