Shame and devastation at the kilt hire shop

Shame and devastation at the kilt hire shop

8th January 2018 0 By David Walker

Thank you for the amazing feedback on the first installment of my blog: The week I spent £107 on takeaways. In it, I alluded to an intervention from a stranger that led to me ending my perpetual weight gain once and for all. I’ll tell you all about that encounter next Monday – but first I need you to understand my where my head was after a trip to the kilt hire shop, which took place a couple of days prior to that intervention.

Let me take you back to the end of August 2016, a few days before an event I was due to attend. It was a fundraising dinner for a local football team and the dress code was black tie so I’d need to go into town to hire a kilt. This suited me perfectly because at that point I had very few clothes that actually fitted – and none of them were formal. I hadn’t owned a suit for about 4 years.

My weight had steadily crept up for as long as I can remember. When I was young I used to be as skinny as a rake but once I hit my teenage years – and had access to free sweets and sugary drinks in Mum’s shop – I started to pile on the pounds.

This continued into my twenties and thirties and despite a few half-decent attempts to lose weight, I’d always put the weight back on – and more.

But I never had any issues at the kiltmakers. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? An 8-yard kilt is an 8-yard kilt and it just wraps around you, doesn’t it?

The kilt wasn’t the issue. It was the shirt and the waistcoat.

I hadn’t bought clothes in a “normal” shop for years but I’d never had any problems when it came to hiring a Highland dress outfit. Until now. I’d finally reached the point where even they couldn’t help me.

I remember the crushing embarrassment when my neck was measured and I was told that they didn’t have a shirt big enough. And the gut-wrenching feeling when I tried on the biggest waistcoat in the shop and it wouldn’t button up.

Jacobite shirt

Jacobite shirt

Now, it’s one thing to experience that moment alone in the Next changing rooms when the largest sized shirt won’t fit – something that happened to me back in 2012 – but I’ll never forget the utter shame that washed over my entire body when the wee bespectacled lady in the kiltmakers took a step back, slowly put her measuring tape back around her neck and told me that I was too big.

There was an awkward silence.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away. I wanted to be anywhere but there. Perhaps she was judging me. Or perhaps she felt pity. Or perhaps I was imagining all of that. All I know is that I was devastated.

Instead of a normal shirt with a collar, I tried on the largest Jacobite shirt they had. I managed to get into it, just and no more. Like when you can’t be bothered emptying your kitchen bin and you keep stuffing more and more in until you think the sides are going to split.

I was standing in the middle of the shop like an over-stuffed bin.

To make matters worse I suddenly became conscious that a Jacobite shirt doesn’t strictly qualify as “black tie” – but I didn’t really have many options left; the ball was only 2 days away.

Continue reading: The Twirl That Broke the Camel’s Back.