Good Old Shoes

The author's bad old shoes

For my graduation ceremony last week, I went full-formal. Male students, we were advised, should wear a white bow tie with a dark suit. Well, the specificity of the neckwear notwithstanding, a “dark suit” covers a multitude of garments.

But you know, graduation comes but seldom, and for a doctorate, is indeed the celebration of a significant achievement and investment of time. And since I am in possession of a tuxedo and since it was with me in Edinburgh, why not wear it? (The tux was first acquired for a gala I went to as an undergraduate in the company of my uncle, aunt, and not-yet-fiancé. It was a decommissioned rental job, and we determined that if I wore it three times, it covered the cost of the separate rentals, so why not? That one of those “times” was not yet specified but kind of hanging in the air like a descending hot air balloon makes the tux most significant for my now-wife.) (And how did it come to Edinburgh? We had been invited to dinner with a certain Lady So-and-So at the kirk, and the high-bond invitation indicated that gentlemen should wear a dinner jacket. My lexicon is not fully Britishised, so I had to check with my supervisor as to whether this really meant a tux; he said yes it did. Mine was senselessly squatting in a closet in Ottawa, so I hit the charity shops and got a 48-chest British-wool dinner jacket for seven mighty quid. That it was impossibly large for me was tempered by its obvious quality and inviting price, so I bought it and wore it, convinced that the low light of dinner would obscure its ill fit. The next time I was over in Canada, I made a point of returning with the tux, just on the off-chance another high-bond invitation should slip through the door-slot. Still waiting.) Continue reading