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I need a suit…

June 7, 2017

After 40 years of reacting to, and opposing establishment corruption that is leaving so much of the world on the brink of collapse – I feel a little-bit like a sellout walking into a men’s suit store.

We all wear our uniforms, and “the suit” – for my entire lifetime – has been the uniform of the Oppressor.

Worn by the politician, the highly-placed bureaucrat, the banker.

You know the kind of men what I mean.

But just as a young black man takes back the word Nigger, or young feminists repossess Bitch, I reclaim the suit for the Knights of the Round Table.

I reclaim it for the ideals of style, culture, tradition; the bedroom.

A man’s wedding suit is nothing, if not about ideals. Marriage. Romance. Family routines. Community.

To walk hand-in-hand with your lover. Your best friend. To see eternity in a smile, to feel safe together in a very large and too often dark world.

To celebrate with friends and family and other odd assortments of people who have come together to congratulate you.

The occasion demands a reclamation!

~~~~~~~~~~

Image result for tom's menswear torontoTom’s Place for Men’s Suits, on Baldwin Street, in the heart of Kensington Market in Toronto is like walking into a time warp – of the very best kind.

My salesman, about 65 years old and of Portuguese background, has been a clothier all of his life. He is meticulous, generous, cultured, a man who understands craftsmanship.

He knows how to get you to buy just beyond your budget, yet leaving you feeling like you got a good deal.

“Look at this one. It’s a classic. It’s a masterpiece. Think Cary Grant. It’s $895, but it’s your wedding – I’ve been married 48 years – can you believe that? – and you work with youth – that’s good work – for you I’ll give it to you for $675. No, $650.

“Deal!”

~~~~~~~~~~

Of course there is that other suit, as well. The one we are all too familiar with. The one that comes in green, often of a camouflage design.

That particular suit comes with medals you can pin on your chest – for heroism, patriotism, honor! Most often worn by men with a taste for war and pillage. Dangerous men, of which our history books are full.

Five million people die every year – under the thumbs of these men, in our world filled with hate, intolerance, fear.

But let’s not digress on such a happy occasion. Today is about soft cotton shirts and silk ties. Proper measurements and discussing different cuts.

We agree that professional hockey players don’t know how to wear a suit. They always walk in front of a camera like they are off to their first high school prom. Professional soccer players, on the other hand – especially the Argentines and the Spaniards – know how to wear a suit. Suave. Cool. Self possessed.

Bureaucrats tend to wear a suit like they’re wearing a tee-shirt. The men who look puffy, scratch themselves more than most men, play a lot of video games.

There are the Bay Street Bankers, hive men of the 80 story bank tower. So me of those men come to Tom’s, but most find the neighborhood too riff-raffy, and so they go to Harry Rosen’s in Yorkville instead. Or Moore’s.

There are the politicians in suits. The salesmen. The doctors who wear suits.

The used car salesman.

The saddest suit of all.

In my daily work life, I’m so glad I don’t generally have to wear a suit.

The suit is great for special occasions. But God, everyday? Uhg!

Uniforms, by their very definition, are about conformity, bureaucracy, totalitarian tendencies.

My mom says I’ll be judged by the kind of friends I keep.

My father-in-law, also here with me to get a new suit, tells our antiquated gentleman seller of suits that he wants a suit he can use for his daughter’s wedding, as well as for the many funerals he knows are coming up in his future. Including his own.

He tells the salesman (as he looks at himself in the mirror) he wants a suit he can be buried in.

~~~~~~~~~~

My humble gorilla act of suit reclamation, I know, will not succeed, or even be able to impact, in any significant way, how and why men wear suits.

There have always been those who like to enforce a dress code on others.

But for the day we will disregard these types of men, and the kinds of suits they wear, and we aspire to our higher angels – to a well-made and well-sold suit –

worn as a declaration of love, friendship, and family.

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