Posts Tagged ‘Manitoba’



To me, there just aren’t enough opportunities to wear a tux anymore. Back when I was young, these opportunities were practically a weekly occurrence. So, it was worth owning one. But since these chances have become rare, I now rent my tux.

I always go to the same guy. He knows me. I don’t see him for two years, and I walk in the door, and he immediately knows my size. ‘Mr. Gingras’, he says, ‘you look like you haven’t been eating….you’ve lost a few pounds! Let me see….last time you were a size….’and he goes on to figure out what I need. He has no computer. He just KNOWS. This is a talent that truly amazes me.

Of course, it wasn’t always this easy. In fact, it makes me think of an occasion that I’d like to share with you, a story about the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ to end all malfunctions. As usual, it is not for the faint of heart. So please…..put away your drinks and snacks, in case you spray someone unexpectedly when you read what is to follow.

Having a great tailor is not something anyone should take for granted. In 1987, as I was preparing to leave the Arctic and move to Sturgeon Falls, I had to make a pit stop in northern Manitoba for a wedding. And not just any wedding. This was my best friend’s wedding. And, for the first time in my life, I was in the wedding party!

Oh, I was nervous, to be sure. For a young man of 24, being in the wedding party is about as good as it gets. It’s almost like being a rock star. A rock star without all the good stuff….but a rock star, just the same. And, when one is in a wedding party, and one is a male, one wears a tuxedo. And thus begins our epic adventure.

My problem, you see, was that I was still IN the Arctic when they were renting said tuxes. And so, I had to mail in my measurements. Now, someone had to help me take these measurements. I’m at a remote station, hundreds of miles from any other semblance of civilization, and we’re all guys. Now someone has to touch me to measure me. You can see the problem here.

Let’s just say that, in a Utopian Society, this situation would not be in the least uncomfortable. I, however, was not IN a Utopian Society. My co-workers run the gamut when it comes to personalities. And, as happened to be the case, these personalities were not of the type that I wanted to touch me. In most cases, I didn’t even want them in the same room as me. But, through some fierce negotiations and delicate maneuvering, we got it done.

Or so I thought.

I arrived at my friend’s place the night before the wedding in my brand new truck. I was walking on a cloud, it seems, as I was finally free of the frozen tundra for good. Life was grand. I was finally a rock star. Now, when I mentioned Northern Manitoba before, I should have mentioned how remote this place is. Let’s just say, there’s no corner store. There’s not even really a corner. A ‘wild night’ consists of tipping over a cow and drinking a 40 of Rye. A really ‘wild night’ involve the Rye, and something else completely unsanitary and unholy with the tipped-over cow.

I want it on record that I never had a ‘really wild night’. Just sayin’.

And so….the wardrobe malfunction. The tuxes arrive from Winnipeg the morning of the wedding. It’s only May, but it’s 35 degrees Celsius outside… and it’s an outdoor wedding. We meet in the basement to try on our tuxes. And here, ladies and gentlemen, is why it is VITAL to have a good tailor. Everything fit perfectly. Everything….except the jacket. The jacket was at least four sizes too small. I fought valiantly to put it on, and when it was, I looked like I was about to try to fly away. My arms wouldn’t go down all the way. Not only would it not button in the front, the jacket front barely passed my nipples (sorry…just using he nipple as a measurement reference).

You can imagine the looks I got as I ‘flew’ down the aisle with the bridesmaid I was with. It’s a good thing I didn’t trip and fall, because it would have been like watching a turtle try to turn itself off its back. We stood in the hot sun, the poor bridesmaids frontal cleavage bearing to brunt of the sun’s abuse, me looking like an obese penguin with an attitude.

We got through it. I drank a LOT that night, and managed not to harass any cows. We’re still friends, and through the magic of Facebook, we can still look back on this and laugh.