Thursday, December 20, 2012


Anne Hathaway, you’re not alone. Let the tabloids shout and pout about a woman let down by her evening gown; it is us men who run the gauntlet of the dreaded malfunctioning wardrobe at every dead end and crossroad in our lives. So here’s one from the vault for the forgotten (until reminded) woes of being a man… feeling better already, Anne?

Brothers, this one’s for us. Our very own rant against sniggering women, thoughtless Mother Nature and the unimaginative tailor. You see, irrespective of whether you happen to be a Brad Pit or some dim loony wit, or anything in between, there are just three truths that rule your, and every other man’s life – death, taxes and the undone fly. That’s correct– the undone fly, because it doesn’t matter how cool you are and how dazzling your sartorial tastes might be, beware, for the undone fly is not a possibility but an inevitability… happens to the best of us. Like it did to Brad Pit at the ‘Benjamin (un)Button’ premiere. So if, or rather when, there’s that moment when you walked out of the office washroom and everybody looked at you as if you just stepped on a land-mine, and following their gaze all the way down you remember wishing you much rather had stepped on a land mine instead, take heart, for you’re in good company.

Why, not too long ago, I too had the unenviable opportunity of stepping on a bit of a private land mine myself. I’d walked in to office in a slick new suit and all along the corridor and past that aisle, I felt row upon row of eyes following me to my corner. That’s when you usually know a suit’s really worth what you paid for it. I stopped to chat with the two ladies who shared a cubicle round the corner, a rather elegant pair that didn’t waste their smiles on much, and yet here they were smiling and blushing in that giggly-giddy weak-kneed manner that one thought only a movie star could inspire… and so I lingered a little longer. Somehow, everything I happened to say seemed remarkably amusing to them. To be fair, encouraged by their giggles, I did make some lame jokes but when they erupted in a frenzied fit of snorting and laughter well before the punch-line, I knew something wasn’t quite right. When I mumbled if “ everything’s ok?”, the two women didn’t quite know how to bring up the delicate matter which had hitherto, obviously, escaped my attention.

After a bit of humming and hawing and a few more bashful sniggers, one of them managed to draw my attention to the off ending article. And here’s the other end of the problem… what, and how, do you do, when someone helpfully points out what shouldn’t be? Do you nonchalantly, while in mid sentence, pull up what had remained undone, and go back to whatever you were saying without breaking a sweat or worse, or do you instead apologize, turn appropriately red, look for a corner to dig a hole in and die a short death before zipping up and returning as if you just turned up for the day without any memory of all that just happened. I guess I ended up doing a bit of both, but later research suggested that I could’ve taken a leaf out of a certain Mr. Winston Churchill’s book, a man who has apparently had considerable experience in such matters.

Churchill, legends would have us believe, was prone to leaving matters ‘open-ended’, shall we say. And yet, when associates would point out his malfunctioning wardrobe to the British political icon, he always responded with a ready repartee. On one occasion amongst many, the venerable Brit was attending a party meeting when one of his MPs handed him a note that said ‘your fly is unbuttoned’, and without moving a muscle on that famous pout, Churchill scribbled back saying it didn’t matter for ‘after all, dead birds don’t fall out from their nests’. Dead birds might not fly but it takes a lot of wit and those things they play football and cricket with to do it, or rather, just say it, the way Churchill did. As for the rest of us, maybe we’re better off hoping and waiting for someone to attach one of those buzzers, the kind that goes off in modern cars if you aren’t wearing a seat belt, to the impertinent fly; or perhaps something like the auto popup mechanism from our ubiquitous toasters. The latter, I realize could have painful ramifications though, if matters aren’t timed to perfection. But add a sensor like the one on an elevator door, and voila, your wardrobe’s become embarrassment-proof.

But until then, all you can do is check for land mines whenever you see people looking at you as if you’re wearing the emperor’s new clothes. As for those of you who’ve helplessly sniggered but never figured what exactly to say when you spy a naughty fly, I did some online snooping for your sake… Take your pick and button up if…
  • Someone says ‘You’ve got windows in your laptop’
  • In Poland, someone insists that ‘the elevator’s gone down’.
  • In Spain someone says ‘Little Plane! Little Plane!’
  • In Denmark, someone says ‘Watch out for the birds (they might get the worms)
  • The Swedes inquire if you’ve been ‘partying with the girls’
  • In Australia they accuse you of ‘flying too low’
  • In The United States they ask you ‘Are you afraid of heights? (cause your fly apparently is)
But if all else fails, you could still save yourself the blushes by chucking the trousers and drawing on the strings of the ever faithful pajamas. Cheerio


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