These Handsome Young Men

I’m teleported back in time 200 years to the warmth of Morse code and folded letters as I walk in the door—I can almost see the haberdasheries and cobblestone paths that crowd the outside world through the windows as I turn back to close it—because here I am safely in the past; beautiful suits line the walls of this small room and three preposterously handsome men in green and grey and black turn to welcome me in.

I am here for my first tailor-made suit.

Shaking their hands in turn, still stunned by the industrial beauty of these young men, and now, as they offer me an espresso, I am suddenly/extremely/painfully aware of the golf pants I’m wearing from Target (my god these pants are so comfortable though — the big secret of men’s fashion was golf pants all along, who knew?).

These handsome boys are here to tell me how to see fabrics and textiles — see this, how the fabric almost bends in the light? Or this one, where the gray is only visible in the flannel when a photograph is taken? — and they handsomely ask me questions about the big day. Where am I from? Where am I getting married? What color? How many pieces in the suit?

England, I tell them. San Francisco City Hall. Green. Three.

Ah! One of them turns on his polished heel and briefly disappears. (The leather on this couch is so comfortable, it must’ve been the chair that James Buchanan lounged on after signing the Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860.) The handsome young man returns from the back and says, ah, this flannel is from the United Kingdom. That would be a nice touch, eh?

I point at a few fabrics I like, and the handsome men excitedly stick pins into them for safekeeping. We agree on a date for measurements and I shake their hands as confidently as I can muster before stepping outside where the 21st century is ready and waiting to knock me flat on my ass. The noise and the bluster! The concrete shapes! Cars, cars, cars!

Across the street is a little cafe, perfect for recovering from two centuries of time travel and a safe space for caffeinated work.