Sunday, 22 January 2017

A unisexual plea for advice


Here's an innocent enough question: Why do the pockets of only corduroy trousers fall apart and get holes in?

Well it sounds like an innocent question, but already it is fraught with contention. On the one hand, it seems to be asking the advice of men, as it is only - or usually only - men who wear men's corduroy trousers. On the other hand, it could be asking the advice of women, as traditionally it is them with the sewing skills needed to repair them. See what I mean?

I have been having a little break from contention recently by writing boiled-down fiction, chapter by chapter, but I realised that the real world cannot be ignored for very long when the small change began to fall out of the bottom of my right trouser leg.

It began with 5p pieces, but quickly the denominations became higher as the hole grew larger. I have taken off those trousers for the last time, because H.I. is not the sort of woman who repairs trousers except under extreme duress, and I do not have the nessecary sewing skills. I just throw them away and buy another pair. If I took them to the Turkish tailors up the road, it would cost more than a replacement in a charity shop.

It is the keys that do the damage, but only in corduroy trousers. Women seldom have to deal with this problem because they use handbags, and if they do wear corduroy, they do not put everything they need to leave the house (and return to it later) in the pockets. All of H.I.'s trousers do not have pockets, and all of her handbags cost more than any loose change she has ever put in them.

As I write, my left pocket contains a wallet (made fat with credit cards rather than cash) and an iPhone. The right pocket contains about £3 in loose change, a folding knife which I use around five times a day for everything other than stabbing people, a packet of chewing gum, a pouch of tobacco, a cigarette lighter and a destructively large bunch of house, workshop and car keys. Before the age of ten it would have had a much kinder ball of string rather than keys.

Every couple of years I examine the key fob and find at least two keys for which I cannot remember any door which they might fit, so I take them off and put them somewhere safe for another couple of years, then I throw them away.

Whenever I go onto an airplane, I have to remember to leave the knife at home or have it confiscated, so I spend the whole holiday with dirty fingernails. The fight against terrorism is giving Britain a very bad name for personal cleanliness.

I refuse to use a manbag and I refuse to use a rucksack. Have you noticed that EVERYONE who uses a rucksack - no matter how small - completely loses all sense of personal space and the rules of ettiquette required to fill it?

39 comments:

  1. I've just remembered - 'corduroy' means 'the rope of kings' in Old French. NOT 'the rope of queens'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your trousers must be bulging

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With the way things are I had better do the Rosary

      Delete
  3. Like you I keep a penknife in my trouser pocket. Mine is permanently in my right hand pocket, and is a loose bladed Opinel. It reeks havoc with the linings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are all very familiar with your Opinel - usually sitting on the side of a plate...

      Delete
  4. Too many games of pocket billiards I reckon !!! XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of that. I should have guessed you would...

      Delete
  5. Loose change acts like pebbles in a dinosaur' s stomach
    I rest my case

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Before you rest it completely, explain both how the pebbles act in Dino's stomach and how you know about it.

      Delete
    2. He probably went there on holiday.

      Delete
  6. There are keyring hooks, but I prefer to fix the pockets rather than seeing keys dangling out of men's trousers.
    Greetings Maria x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try not to let anything dangle out of my trousers. It is easier in the Winter. I know people who have their phones attached to their belts!

      Delete
  7. When sewing a pocket of half corduroy and a lining I should think that the stitches are on a thick bit and then a thin bit and would so be only half secured. However, my husband solves the problem by never having any money change, notes or cards (unlike HMQ who I understand does carry a few fivers in her handbag)leaving it to me to cart around everything except a handkerchief and a puffer of TNT/Isocard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see who wears the trousers in your household.

      Delete
  8. Brilliant comments...thanks everyone for a good laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with Frances, the comments are great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Take take take, with no contributions, the both of you.

      Delete
    2. I'm fresh out of steam today, Tom. I couldn't muster the energy to think of a clever reply. Sorry!

      Delete
    3. I understand. I am not going to mention he who must not be named as the reason, but I understand.

      Delete
    4. Jennifer was typing so fast smoke was coming out of the keyboard and Cros's blog almost exploded under the pressure and he had to open the release valve

      Delete
  10. But this never happens to the pockets of your chinos, jeans, broadcloth suits? More to this puzzle than meets the eye, Sherlock. Should you be carrying all that stuff under your hat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can say authoritatively that it happens about 5 times quicker with corduroys than any other fabric. I have not worn jeans since 1976, but they always split at the knee long before the pockets went. I draw the line at hamburgers cooking under my hat.

      Delete
    2. The only thing I can say with authority about cords is that women's wear out faster than men's cords. I once returned a pair that developed holes after a month. The sales person said manufactures know women give their stuff to charity quickly, so don't make quality.The good stuff was in the men's department. I've bought men's cords ever since. And jeans for the other three seasons of the year.

      Delete
    3. American home stores always stock higher quality than we have here. I know that.

      Delete
  11. I think you have answered your own question when you list the contents of your pockets. Pockets are not haversacks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See Joanne's querie above. You are dodging the question, Weave.

      Delete
  12. Tom, since you like the young ladies, get a cool cross body murse (man purse). You'll have to use it to fight the ladies off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would sooner sprout a vagina on my forehead.

      Delete
  13. Get one of those belly pouch bags (don't know what they are called officially)!!! That and some orbital socks with sandals! Hehe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the U.S. they are called 'fanny bags' and in the U.K. they are called 'bum bags'. Ties in quite nicely with my response to Donna's suggestion above.

      Delete
  14. I wear a rambler/photographer type gilet in Spring through to Autumn.... and a Norfolk Slop in Winter....
    so no longer have the problem... but, my Mum taught me to use a sewing machine, a skill I thank her for as I suffer from Duck's Disease.... and regularly have to shorten me trooos! Pocket repair to me is a doddle... but the pockets on my cords seem to wear out without a large bunch of keys to help them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never heard of a gilet, a Norfolk Slop or Duck's Disease. I didn't know you could repair pockets with a sewing machine. My attempts at sewing are very similar to Dr Frankenstein's needlework.

      Delete
  15. Do they have grey or anthracite coloured cords?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure you could find some, Libby. I only ever wear brown. There is a certain sort of Englishman who wears yellow as a very overt signal of how he wishes to be seen in society. He is invariably tall and aged around 50-60, and the cords are usually worn with brogue shoes.

      Delete