Dressed to Kill

Sunday January 15th. Morning.

The concepts of "same" and "different" seem quite simple and self-evident - until you try to translate them into Arabic.

I wonder if the same is true of "dapper" and "scruffy"? I hate dressing up - as far as I'm concerned, the function of clothes is to regulate your body temperature. But in Turkey, choice of clothes is a statement of deep personal identity. The three generally available identities are:

(1) Westernised, struggling financially, and hard working. Artificially faded jeans, with an extra layer of dust and real fading, with some kind of fleece logoed in english letters.

(2) Devout muslim and fond of money. Beige saudi-style thorp, red and white shumak, fist length beard with sideburns but no moustache.

(3) Urban professional dressed to kill. Any form of office work clothes deemed fashionable anywhere in the world, anytime in the last 40 years, in any combination. Including turquoise shoes, hot pink dress jeans, and violet silk-lined jackets. These are the ones with a moustache, but no beard or sideburns.

I have to pretend to be (3). But I shave to do it.

Another thing I hate is being dragged around shopping centers by someone who knows exactly what they want and won't stop harassing serving staff until they get it.

A third thing I hate is getting strangled or exposed by clothes which don't fit me because my body shape doesn't exist in the standard high-street ranges.

So, I now have a respectable set of work clothes. And here's where being anti-fashion-conscious is useful, because that shirt with the big blue checker pattern, that tie with the multi-grey stripes, those black micro-courderoy trousers, and those three-tone shoes...would elsewhere mark me out as either Greek middle-class, or a time traveler from 1973 London.

This airport is brought to you by Skoda, making cars that never achieve takeoff velocity since 1895.

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