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The Missing 34s

I decided on a whim to treat myself to a pair of pants just before going home. So off I went to the department store at Rob to scout the different brands.

I’m a self-confessed cheapskate. The psychological resistance level for a pair of pants that I seldom allow myself to breach – else I go home filled with self-recriminations – is 800 pesos.

So my first stop were the Dansen stalls, where the last couple of pair I bought, I thought, had pretty well-sewn buttons. I don’t wear a belt, so you see how crucial well-sewn buttons are to my salvation from public embarrassment.

Unfortunately, there were no new colors available, so off I went to scout the other stalls. In a short while, I espied some Khakis that I thought I really liked. One was a pale shade of grey-green and the other a delicious cream.

Perfect!!! Would you please find size 34s for me, please?

Yah have to understand, I was a size 31 until I was about 35 or 36 years. I cried a river of silent tears before I got myself to accept that I had become a size 32…

Even these days, when I ask for 34s, I hopefully ask the shop assistants to bring along 33s on the off-chance that they will feel right in the fitting rooms. Of course, they never do…

So back to the Khakis… “There are no 34s,” the young assistant told me, “would you like to try the 36?”


That came out spontaneously, although I grinned at the assistant – insolent fool! – so he would not guess that I wanted to slit his throat…

Before long, a second assistant came along to see what the fuss was all about. Would you be so kind, I asked, to run inside to the stock room and see if there were any 34s left of the colors I liked?

He came back shaking his head and, oblivious to the exchange I previously had with the first assistant, asked if I would like to try the 36…

I slapped him ten times with the look I gave him, but eventually succumbed to the humor of the situation. If only the silly bastards knew what I would give to fit into a 32 again!!!

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