That escalated (not so) quickly…

I hate weddings. Or well, I mostly hate wearing a suit. Weddings in the sense that two people declare their love for each other, I find alright. I’m a married man myself. Obviously, I didn’t wear a suit that day. For the most part of my life I have lived suitless, and I liked it that way. Then, one of Heike’s best friends got married a couple of years ago. Immediately, I felt the horrible need to find excuses not to go. Panic all over. The idea alone of wearing a suit freaked me out. Since Heike was one of the witnesses, she of course spent some extra attention to dressing nicely. Which meant that I had to look good by association. There was just no way that I could bullshit myself out of this one.

This wedding, I think, was in September 2017. Heike spent the whole summer finding a good dress. It was a good dress! Then it was my turn to buy this bloody suit. Heike joined me, because what do I know? It turned out that neither did she. First, we bought a nice white shirt, and that’s wear I already saw that it was going to be horrible. The shirt alone cost more than Heike’s dress. (It was a fancy shirt, and not to brag, but it looked pretty good on me.) I didn’t have proper pants, or whatever these fancy jackets are called. I ended up spending three or four times the amount Heike spent on a dress on my suit, belt, and shoes. Fuck! Well. At least you have these things for life. I figured I could also wear it at my PhD defense. (I found out later that my university had a white tie dress code for PhD defenses, and so I had a suit for no reason, except to feed the clothing moths.)

In four years, I wore the suit once. My Chinese colleague Wei asked me to be his side kick at his PhD defense (a typical Dutch thing at PhD defenses). He defended at a different university than I, and this university accepted my suit just fine. My other Chinese colleague, Haikun, asked me to be her sidekick as well, but she defended at my university, so that’s when I rented my first white tie tuxedo.

Three years long my own cheap, but way too expensive suit was untouched by me. It hung there, waiting for better times. One wedding, aside from my own, is all that happened in my social circle for decades. This year, people are all going crazy. Suddenly, everyone is marrying. One wedding this year, three next year. My God.

In November, we will have a wedding party, again, from one of Heike’s friends. This time, I was prepared! Or so I thought.

This evening, I dusted off the suit, and shirt. I thought it would be good to try it on, and I’m somewhat glad and disappointed at the same time. My shirt was tight as hell. I fit in, but it wasn’t looking slick anymore. Maybe with the jacket on it would be better? The jacket would barely fit, and it certainly felt horrible to wear it. The pants, maybe? Who was I kidding? These were tight-ass pants, quite literally. I could get it on, but barely. I think walking a flight of stairs would result in torn pants. Nothing fit. Nothing!

Two years of a German diet, the relative constraints of the pandemic (e.g., I gave up climbing and bouldering, and rarely cycle or walk these days), the mostly sessile job, the kids limiting our hikes… I have gone full dadbod… I stood on the scale just now and realized I am 13 kilos heavier than I was at the first wedding only four years ago. Where did all of that come from, and why did I hardly notice?

I was a bit shocked. It means I will have to focus on my lifestyle more, which I will do from now. However it means more than that. Worst of all, it means that I will have to buy a second suit, just before I plan to lose weight. Argh!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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