Mr. Pela's account of his declasse shopping experiences did tug at my heartstrings. Not, it must be admitted, to any great degree -- but after all, the degree of pathos which one can extract from the subject of haberdashery is limited.
I decided, therefore, to satisfy his longing for supercilious affront by writing a scenario, which I hope meets with his approval.
* * *
(Pela enters upscale men's clothier.)
Young Clerk (spotting Pela): The service entrance is at the rear of the building.
Pela: I'm not a tradesman. I'm here to buy clothes.
Young Clerk (giving Pela the once-over with a practiced eye): No soliciting.
Pela: You ARE an insolent monkey, aren't you? I demand to see the manager. At once.
Young Clerk (barely stifling laughter): The manager? I'm afraid he's busy at the moment.
Pela: Doing what?
Young Clerk: Managing.
Pela (reddening): I'm quite serious. Get the manager out here -- now.
Young Clerk: I might be able to get you the senior sales person. Just a moment. (Disappears behind a curtain.)
(A distinguished, elderly man in a three-piece suit, with a measuring tape draped round his neck, emerges from behind the curtain after an interval.)
Senior Salesperson (speaking through a frozen grin of the sort worn by someone who has sat in a spot of wet paint, and is mortified lest it become known and he is made the butt of public jest): May I help you, sir?
Pela: Is this a haberdashers or the monkey park at the zoo?
Senior Salesperson (smile freezing by 20 degrees): The last time I checked, sir, it was the former.
Pela: Very well, then. Your clerk seemed unsure. I'm looking for a pair of slacks.
Senior Salesperson (full of false obsequiousness): I'm afraid there has been a misunderstanding, sir.
Senior Salesperson (almost apologetically): You see, we're actually a bespoke tailor, catering to gentlemen of means. We don't do off-the-rack. (Gives Pela's khakis another look while superciliously raising one eyebrow a sixteenth of an inch.) And we don't sell safari-wear. You might try Banana Republic across the way. (Gives a smirk which says: "I am given to undertand that THEY sell to anyone.")
Pela: Do you mean to tell me that I don't meet your standards?
(At this point, the Young Clerk reappears from behind the curtain and mercifully intervenes.) Young Clerk (regarding Pela like someone caught pocketing the silverware at a dinner party): Can I help?
Senior Salesperson: Perhaps you can supply this gentleman with the name of that new downtown shop, which caters to persons of his...taste. I can't for the life of me seem to recall it. You know...the one named by that blasted Wolfgang Puck.
Young Clerk (thinking furiously for several moments): Oh! You must mean SYKH. (Young Clerk pronounces this as "chic".)
Young Clerk: It's an acronym. You know, a word that...oh, never mind. It stands for "Snarky Young Khaki-wearing Homosexual".
Pela: You interest me strangely. Give me the address.
(Thirty minutes later, Pela walks into the SYKH Boutique. Steely Dan's "Gaucho" is playing over the sound-system.)
Thin Young Man: Look what the cat dragged in!
Pela: Can it be that you are addressing me, callow youth?
Thin Young Man (looking at Pela's salmon colored polo-shirt and no longer immaculately creased khakis): We're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. Can I interest you in something with Mechlin Lace at the collar and cuffs?