Are You, Man?
A pretty-looking, small, effeminate man came into
the shop one day.I can usually tell at a glance, but even I wondered for
a moment... His name, he told me, was 'Roberto' and he wanted an evening
dress made. I was a little doubtful - I'd made dresses for girls, but
not for guys! Nowadays, anything goes, but in the Sixties it was all just
beginning, and the idea jarred a little. He explained what he wanted -
it wasn't going to be difficult - so i advised him how much fabric I would
require and he went on his way to buy the cloth. I was happy that my tailor
Otis was fairly unshockable and would not mind measuring for, and making,
We had just finished making some costumes for the girls at the local night
club, 'La Valbone'. Their message had been clear - the more cleavage,
the bigger the tip, so all our efforts for the last week was geared towards
pushing busts together, but only so far as not to show the nipples! I've
told you before - I loved my work!
I thought about my other tailors, Phillip, Petros, Simon and, especially,
Chris, and wondered how they would react to a man in a dress. I had to
laugh to myself - I was sure there'd be bloodshed.....
I designed the dress and Otis, as I had thought, took the measurements,
making no fuss at all. Why didn't I take the measurements? Because I didn't
want to! No way! There have to be some perks in being the boss, and that
is my number one!
A week later our little 'Roberto' returned. Unfortunately for him, he
chose to come on a Saturday and we were really busy. 'Ray', one of the
Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, was in the next fitting room. These
were fine for people up to about 6' but Ray was at least half a foot taller
- seriously tall! He looked down at our little 'Roberto' and, in the deepest
voice you have ever heard, enquired "What are you, man?" The
shop was laughing fit to drop. There was no malice - he just wasn't sure!
He'd seen this little man enter the fitting room and watched closely as
he put on his pantie girdle and white stockings. He loved the high heels
and was utterly taken with the long black wig. And now, a padded white
bra over his hairy black chest (maybe his next job was to shave the chest?).
He repeated the question "What are you, man?". By now, there
was no business being conducted in the shop whatsoever. 'Roberto' was
ignoring the question and was getting ready for his fitting. He now had
the dress on and was ready for the fitter. Ray was quick to realise that
he had a rapt, captive audience and, ever the showman, was giving a running
commentary on the events unfolding below him, finishing every line with
'What are you man'. True, it was my job to enter the room and carry out
the fitting, but that 'little devil' can come to any of us and it came
upon me in spades!
I rushed down to Chris ..."Oh, Chris - there's a young lady in fitting
room three who's a bit embarrassed and wants a fitting in the cubicle".