My beloved recently wore his tuxedo to an industry awards dinner. It was the first time he’d worn the suit in many a year. Fortunately it still fitted him and required just a light pressing to bring it back to life. Probably, the last time he’d worn it had been for the New Year’s Eve bash at the InterAlpen Hotel. This suit was an eventual replacement for one he’d lost many moons ago.
How can you lose a dinner jacket? Well, we’re not sure exactly how it happened. My beloved went to a black tie do with his dinner suit and only came back with the trousers. However, I can probably hazard a guess. This was his first major loss. Up until then it had just been the usual towels, swimming trunks and swimming goggles carelessly left behind at one of the UK’s many swimming baths after a training session or water-polo match.
Many moons ago, all-male black tie dinners were quite popular. When we first got married, my beloved couldn’t afford to buy a dinner suit and had his late father’s one altered to fit. It was a lovely double-breasted jacket and, in my opinion, he did look rather handsome in it. Generally at functions where he was obliged to wear it, I was with him. But (sadly) not on this particular occasion.
He left for the black tie event with the suit in one of those heavy plastic suit carriers which he hung up in the back of the car to make sure that the freshly pressed (by me) suit remained in pristine condition. He returned from the event and rehung the carrier in the wardrobe without saying a word! Several months later we were due to attend another black tie event, this time with my parents. The week beforehand, I checked the suit carrier to find out whether the suit would need pressing, spot cleaning or dry cleaning. There was no jacket, just the trousers. I checked the other hangers in the wardrobe but there was no sign of his dinner jacket.
When he returned, I questioned him about the jacket and he immediately began to look uncomfortable. My beloved cannot lie. It was clear he was aware he’d “lost” the jacket when he’d repacked the morning after the event and couldn’t find the jacket anywhere in his hotel bedroom. Of course, he didn’t think to enquire of his dinner companions if they could remember what he’d done with it or even ask the hotel staff if they’d found a lone jacket! Too late now to enquire of the hotel staff, even if he could remember the name of the hotel where he’d stayed. It must have been some event!
In our early days of married life we didn’t have much money and, consequently, I didn’t feel like busting the budget to replace the suit. Instead I opted for pairing the black trousers with a white dinner jacket, as none of the black ones in Marks & Spencer were of the same weight and colour as his trousers. To be honest this made him look more like one of the waiting staff – white gloves anyone? – than a guest, but he just had to grin and bear it. It was quite some time before I bought him a new dinner suit which I’m delighted to say he still has in his possession, not that there’s much call to wear them these days.
So, how did he lose it? The jacket was made from a heavy wool and was rather warm. I suspect that as soon as he was able to do so, probably after the port had been served, my beloved divested himself of his jacket and hung it on the back of his chair. Thereafter I’m sure the table probably headed for the bar and my beloved left his jacket behind. No doubt it was found by the hotel’s waiting staff who put it into lost property, fully expecting its owner to reclaim it the following day. Why my beloved didn’t bother to enquire of the hotel whether they’d found his jacket, only he knows. On the bright side, as far as I was aware there was nothing of import in any of the jacket pockets.
I was rightly annoyed with him because he’d made no attempt to find the jacket and, if he’d owned up about the loss sooner, I could’ve rung the hotel to reclaim it or at least tried to track it down. At worst I would’ve made a small claim on our household insurance for a replacement. As it was, three months down the line, none of these was now an option.