After being reliably informed that a man who is fashionably dressed will have women fall over him, one decides to correct one’s chronically single status, and sets out to become a contemporary metrosexual.
The desi cotton shirts I buy off the roadside shop at Puttenahalli are neither entirely white nor entirely classic, so I proceed to a famous mall looking for a famous brand. At the famous mall, the salesman peddling the famous brand gives me a feral grin, and puts forth a dazzling array of the whitest white shirts I have ever seen. I didn’t know there could be so many shades of white.
I point my shaking finger at one shining shirt, chosen at random. The feral salesman tells me that it costs Rs.2000/-. Two thousand bucks for a shirt?!
Stunned, I point at another shirt, thinking that surely it can’t be more expensive. But no, I’m wrong. It turns out that two thousand bucks is merely the starting point. This one costs a mind-boggling Rs. 5000/-. Five thousand Indian rupees for one single shirt. I haven’t spent that much money on all the shirts I’ve bought in my adult life. But then, I’m sternly informed, this shirt is made from pure Egyptian cotton. No wonder the Egyptians sent it to us. Seems to me even a Pharaoh can’t afford it.
One rushes on to the next item on the Fashionista list: Designer jeans. The cheerful nymphet at the jeans corner asks me which jeans I want – bootcut, straightcut, relaxed or skinny. I didn’t know jeans could relax and lose weight.
Then she asks me if I want stonewash, acidwash, vintage wash or dirty wash or if I want distressed jeans. Dirty wash? How does one wash something till it becomes dirty? And how do jeans get distressed? I am mystified.
I learn then that it is a privilege to wear jeans that are frayed and filthy, and that the technical term for these collectibles is ‘distressed’ jeans. And then, she asks if I want high-rise, low-rise or medium-rise. I ask her to elucidate. The nymphet tells me that the rise will determine how much of my gluteals will be exposed when I bend over. She is deeply offended when I ask her why on earth would I want to wear something with the intention of displaying my gluteals to the general public. So, after a heated debate, we agree upon a pair of straight-cut, high-rise, unwashed denim jeans. The price tag says that it will cost me just over Rs.4000/-. It is scant consolation that a pair of frayed and tattered bootcut jeans costs twice as much. I tell the nymphet I am too distressed to buy her jeans.
Fashion pundits are unanimous in their opinion that a man is judged by his shoes. My experience at the jeans corner tells me to expect another hefty dose of fashion-babble from the brawny chap waiting for me. And he does not disappoint, as he unleashes a barrage of scary names at me. Until I met this formidable merchant of modern footwear, I thought there were only two types of shoes – those that you wear to office, and those that you don’t. There were only three colors that I knew of – black, brown and white. And only two materials of construction – leather and canvas. That sort of thinking went out in the last century, I find out.
Now, there are shoes called Oxfords that are made in Italy, shoes called loafers that one wears to work, different shoes for jogging, running and walking, and moccasins that one wears at home to relax. I thought it was normal to take shoes off at home. The brawny salesman tells me it necessary to wear shoes with laces when I wear a formal suit and slip-on shoes when I’m suit-less. What if I decide to take my suit off in the middle of the day, I ask him. Do I need to change my shoes as well? Undeterred, he shows me his range of Oxfords, casuals and sheepskins. One pair of classic square Oxfords = Rs 2446/-, loafers for work = Rs. 3716/-, ergonomic running shoes with arch support = Rs 4200/-; sheepskin moccasins for relaxation = Rs. 2663/-. And then I ask him how come he’s wearing plain canvas shoes, and he tells me that if he could afford proper shoes, then why the heck would he be working in a shoe shop? Point taken.
Accessorize, we are advised by the fashion websites. Unable to afford any major clothing items, I tell myself that maybe I can pretend to be a metrosexual by sporting a couple of branded accessories that I can distract on-lookers with. No such luck.
Paco Rabanne Eau de toilette for men (a seductive fragrance that blends energy, charm & virility) = Rs 2999/-. Pretty expensive toilet water.
Tommy Hilfiger anti-perspirant deo for men (this masculine scent possesses a blend of tangy citrus, cranberry and lavender) = Rs. 2295/-. The anti-perspirant made me break out in a cold sweat.
Crocodile leather belt (top quality split calf leather with polyurethane coating, will last for years to come) = Rs.4000/-. If I buy the belt, I can’t afford trousers.
HIDesign men’s wallet (city slick and denim happy) = Rs. 1145/-. I’ll be left with no money to put into the wallet.
Ray-Ban sunglasses = Rs. 4600/-. My eyes pop out on seeing the price tag.
In sheer desperation, I seek out the innerwear department. I am being over-optimistic, I know, but I hope to flaunt some fashionable innerwear, in the unlikely event that I am required to remove my outerwear. High hopes indeed. Tommy Hilfiger men’s briefs (low-rise brief, 93% cotton, 7% elastane, prices may vary with size) = Rs.619/-. That is twice the price I pay for my trousers. Probably a good idea to avoid innerwear altogether.
Dashed and defeated, I go back to my usual roadside couturier, and pour out my woes to him. Not to worry, Saar, he says. He reaches into an inner shelf, and pulls out one branded item after another. Lei jeans= Rs.300/-; Tammy Hilfinger white shirt = Rs. 200/-; Adddidas casual shirt = Rs.250/-; Brute deo = Rs.150/-; Crockodile leather belt = Rs.175/-, and “Roy-Band” sunglasses = Rs.200/-. Total bill = Rs.1275/-. I ask him about shoes, and he tells me he can get me any brand I want. That is, any brand I want will be printed on the shoes. Flat price = Rs.550/-, non-negotiable.
Looks exactly like original labels, saar, he assures me with a nudge and a wink. No one will notice, Saar. Yeah, sure.
Watch out, ladies. Here I come!
Cheers … Srini.