Thursday, May 18, 2006

The story of Gap and my very English dilemna

Gap is a strangely interesting shop to me. For starters I never know whether to call it "The Gap" or just "Gap". I have settled on just "Gap" for now, but I am open to persuasion. Also I take a great liking to some of their clothes yet I can't stand others. This is unusual for me. I don't go for the preppy American look that many Gap garments are aimed at but there are other things that have a lot more British "cool" about them and they are great.

Now by Sri Lankan standards I am about average height. Most of my friends here in the UK will laugh in disbelief at this but it's true that I have cousins in Sri Lanka whom I tower over. However, by Western standards, I am a short arse. So short that my legs almost don't reach the ground, so short that when I walk towards you I don't actually get any bigger.

All of which may give you some idea why I have a soft spot for any jeans that are made in "short" leg lengths. I happily spend many hours browsing through the jeans section in Gap where they sell jeans in about 7 different styles, all of which are available in short lengths. On top of that most of these styles are now available in a variety of "washes" because some spotty kid of a marketeer at Gap thought it would be a great idea to offer any wash from brand new to the 10 year old look. I can picture the meeting at the marketing department of Gap now:

"But Tarquin this idea of yours to sell a huge range at premium prices, every jean available in all the different sizes and washes, I mean who's gonna buy them?

Well Wojtek, I think there are a few middle class people in the UK with a bit of disposable income who have got nothing better to do than write blogs and buy loads of expensive consumer items"

And that's where I come in.

I've now got a wardrobe full of Gap jeans. I am working towards ownership of every style in every wash but I know that I have to apply myself to achieve this formidable and worthwhile goal.

It will take me years to buy so many pairs of jeans, smuggle them into my house and then into my wardrobe, then discard the bag and receipt without my wife realising. Then, at some point, I have to wear them for the first time without giving the game away, which is not easy either. It does strike me that there is something fundamentally wrong with the concept of these "5 and 10 year old looking jeans" when I wear them for the first time and she says "I see you've got new jeans then". For fuck's sake, there's something wrong there isn't there. I know it's not her powers of observation that are particularly developed as I could come home in a pink dress and she probably wouldn't notice sometimes. It must be some sort of women's intuition, I guess they can't help it.

So anyway, I'm in Gap on Sunday trying on another new pair in the changing room. It was quite early so there weren't many other people in the shop and I heard a chap in the next but one cubicle talking to one of the assistants and asking for a different colour shirt or something. I thought to myself "that sounds like Mark"(a friend, as opposed to just any bloke called Mark).

But I wasn't absolutely sure and this is what caused my huge dilemna. I didn't want to shout to him in case it was a stranger who might mistake my friendly shout as some sort of gay approach. The likelihood of this happening was increased significantly by 2 factors. The first one was my state of undress, or more accurately the fact that I was without trousers. The second was the fact that I was wearing Ray Ban Aviators as I was still recovering from my very recent eye operation.

With my rugged good looks, Ray Bans and no trousers I figured that an approach to a possible stranger in the Gap changing rooms was not a good idea. A handlebar moustache would have completed the look but I wasn't worried about that small detail. So I figured the safest option was to get dressed and hang around near the exit from the changing area for a while trying to look nonchalant and browsing through some of those stripey preppy American type shirts that I wouldn't wear in a million years. All this while making sure that I could see the chap clearly when he had finished his trying on.

Sure enough, he came out and it was Mark. Phew! We had a chat, went for a coffee and all was sweet as.

It was a dilemna that could only have happened in England. If I was one of those loud Americans I would have just shouted at him and no one would have been bothered about it, least of all me. If I was in Colombo I would have shouted in Singlish, he would have replied and the chances are that, even if he wasn't who I thought, we still would have been related or gone to school together or had some connection. If I was in the Netherlands we probably both would have been gay and it wouldn't have been a problem anyway.

But this is England. We don't do that sort of thing here.


Limabean said...

Just as a note of interest, I hope you know that GAP stands for "Gay And Proud"

savi3 said...

for real??? lolz.. never knew that !!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Savi3 - I've heard it before but I don't believe it for a nanosecond. Or for less than that actually!

Anonymous said...

GAP actually stands for Great American Public!