64: One Size Fits All

64: One Size Fits All

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

One Size Fits All

His clothes fit him so ill, and constrain him so much, that he seems rather their prisoner than their proprietor.

~Philip Dormer Stanhope

It was a month before the wedding. I was standing in the middle of the tailor’s shop, wearing my tuxedo shirt and boxer shorts, trying to retain my composure as the tailor and his assistants wrapped their measuring tapes around my arms, my legs, and everywhere else imaginable. As the tailor took a stranglehold on my neck with his measuring tape, I tried to concentrate on Ann, my beautiful bride-to-be.

Getting to this point in our relationship had been a challenge, and not because we weren’t head over heels in love with each other. We were, but getting to the altar had meant promising that we’d have the beautiful, perfect wedding ceremony she’d never had. Her last marriage had begun with a quick wedding without much family and far short of the dream of exchanging vows in a beautiful church or garden surrounded by loved ones. I’d promised her we’d have a wedding with family, flowers, and all the love she’d dreamed about since she was a young girl. And so I found myself being yanked and pulled by a gang of tailors who would have made good torturers for the Marquis de Sade.

“I have my two brothers coming to be measured for their tuxedos,” I reminded the tailor. “We need to be in black, and we have to match.” He nodded at me and measured the cuff of my sleeve, frowning at the fact that my arms were longer than the usual client.

“Have them here for their fittings by Monday,” he said, waiting until I’d pulled up some trousers so he could measure the break in the cuffs. “Make sure they show up, or I cannot guarantee their tuxedos will be ready in time for your wedding.” He made a note in his appointment book that read “Fit all Buentello tuxedos for same wedding.”

Satisfied things were going smoothly, I finished up and raced off to check on the garden grotto we’d rented for the ceremony. Over the next few weeks, one detail after another fell into place. My brothers called to say they’d made their fittings. Two days before the ceremony, Larry, Carl and I walked into the tuxedo shop to pick up our suits.

The tailor gave us a proud smile as his assistants helped us into our tuxedos. I should say we tried to fumble our way into them. My brothers, who are much broader at the shoulders than I am, huffed and puffed, but there was no way they were going to fit their size 50 bodies into the size 40 jackets they were trying to put on. Me, I slipped into my tux with no problems. My suit was a perfect size 40, just like my brothers’ tuxedos were. I looked at the tailor, who checked through the instructions to his tailors who had done the final fittings. All of a sudden, he slapped his head in frustration.

“Stupid idiots!” he roared, waving his clipboard around in the air. “The note said measure all the Buentello family for the same wedding, not measure all the Buentello family the same!”

My brothers started laughing. And even though for a moment I felt like was going to have a breakdown because the tuxedos weren’t ready and there was no time left to fix things, I started laughing, too. I mean, nothing is as funny as watching a couple of big, burly guys laughing as their tuxedos are riding up their arms and legs.

But there was little time for us to be hysterical. After a frantic discussion with his assistants, the tailor disappeared behind a curtain. I heard a lot of grumbling and shouting, followed by the sounds of many hangers being shoved aside, boxes being torn open and thrown to the ground, and even the tearing of cloth. The tailor’s voice rose and fell with alternating tones of elation and frustration. My brothers stood around in their shirts and socks while I wondered if it might not be time to go to a blue jeans motif for the wedding.

Finally, the tailor emerged from behind the curtain. In each hand he held an immaculately pressed, expertly hemmed tuxedo that seemed cut to the exact specifications of each of my brothers. Larry and Carl eased themselves into their tuxedos and stood before the collection of mirrors, marveling at the perfect fit. The tailor measured an arm and a leg and nodded approvingly. I stood up from the chair I had collapsed into and admired the beautiful suits.

“There, you see?” the tailor said, hanging his measuring tape around his neck with satisfaction.

I nodded while I watched my brothers check out their suits in the mirrors. “Pretty nice tuxedos. They match the style and cut of mine perfectly. There’s only one problem.”

The tailor clucked at me. “And what is that?”

I picked up the tuxedo I had put on earlier. “Mine is black. Theirs are white.”

The tailor looked. He slapped his head. Yanking the tuxedos off my brothers, he turned and disappeared behind the curtain again. The shouting and banging continued.

Needless to say, we did manage to find three tuxedos that matched, at least a little. And though the fit wasn’t precise, my brothers and I look great in the wedding pictures — if you look at the ones with our hands behind our backs and that have people standing in front of us to hide the fact that our pants are about two inches too short. But you know what they say about weddings: It’s all about the bride anyway.

~John P. Buentello

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