The 31 Inch Irish Dilemma

So I’m back from ten days in Ireland. I could say a whole deal about that, and I might even say some of it shortly. But I thought I’d start with this one.

Buying men’s clothes in Ireland is a pain in the arse. I went to Listowel, the closest big town to my parent’s house, and attempted to buy jeans (taking advantage, as you do, of the crashed Irish economy). This was a mistake.

I saw about eight or nine clothes shops in Listowel. Only one of them had men’s clothes. The others sold women’s clothes only and had names like “Young Trend” and “Infinite Style” and “Mortifying Blouse”. I made those names up. But you see where I’m going.

The explanation I was given for this by my family is that men in country towns in Ireland don’t buy clothes for themselves, and when they do, they don’t think about it much. I’m not sure who does buy their clothes. Santa, maybe. Or sartorial leprechauns. It’s an open question.

Anyway, I ventured into the clothes shop in question (and I’d like to link to it but they have no website). It wasn’t a goldmine, let me say up front. It was very much a cheap-suit-and-sweater kind of establishment. The kind of place a greasy country politician might shop. I anyway had a look through the trousers on offer. Where I made an astounding discovery.

Men’s trousers in Ireland come in even sizes only. As in 30, 32, 34 inches. 31 inches doesn’t exist. I asked the man who owned the shop and he told me so. You just don’t get them. In fact he’d never even thought about it. It’s just the way it is.

I confirmed this in several shops in Dublin. Size 31, despite existing in every other country I’ve shopped for clothes in, doesn’t exist anywhere in Ireland. Even for pricey brands like Wrangler and Diesel and the like. Not there, and never has been.

I was advised to buy a 32 and wear a belt. Lovely.

I wonder when this was decided in Ireland. And I wonder why Irish retailers are unaware that odd sizes exist in the world at large. Maybe it’s some kind of conspiracy to prevent men wearing jeans that fit them. I suspect the Catholic church are involved somehow.

And yes, I bought a 32 and wore a belt. Happy?

/ paddy