Pants maketh the man.

Today, in no particular order, I lost the plot, my sense of humour and my underwear. Considering the circumstances, my mind is probably next. Doubt – the fifth commuting horseman of the apocalypse – had been my irritatingly smug riding buddy since I’d left the house this morning. Something was amiss or more precisely missing, but having stopped three times to confirm credit cards, security pass and lock-keys had failed to teleport from the sealed pocket in which I’d imprisoned them only minutes before, I didn’t know what it was.

It was almost a relief then – on opening the courier bag – to be confronted by an empty space where previously folded underwear had nestled. OK, I felt traumatised as only a victim of a panterectomy can, but at least the scratchless itch of doubt had finally been relieved.

My transformation from grungy mountain biker to corporate clone was somewhat compromised by what I’m euphemistically referring to as the ‘white space’ in the trouser department. I’d already pulled every stalling trick in the book to hide my “wandering aimlessly in the land of the pantless ones” to my fellow commuters in the shower room. We’d shared a lot these guys and I – rain, snow, ice, traffic accidents, and the cure for joggers nipple but even with this close bond, I couldn’t admit to such a basic and embarrassing error. It was hard enough to deal with the ,er, fallout and ignominy of a pantless day without the ridicule of my smug pant wearing chums.

However I have to admit to a certain feeling of liberation downstairs as the old fella swung from east to west unconstrained by M&S’s finest boxer shorts. And the problem with narrative imperative is that it really exists and rather than damp squibbing this tale through the purchase of emergency pants at 9:30am, I honestly had to sit through meetings stretching past lunchtime before any remedial action could be taken.

Quite important meetings as well. With my boss, boss’s boss and boss cubed in the room discussing the significance of both overspend and underachievement on a project, my contribution was that close to a joyous shout of “WHO GIVES A SHIT, I’VE GOT NO PANTS ON”. Thankfully the need to pay the mortgage reduced me to serious nods and the mildly unpleasant sensation of willie on suit.

Finally released at lunchtime – that’s all of me not just the star of this entry – I trawled Fleet Street for a low cost pant option. Jogging over a couple of zebra crossings – due to the psychotic nature of London Taxi drivers – I finally understood the principals of Simple Harmonic Motion. But not in a good way.

On presenting a pair of pants plus a hot spare on the counter of some shoddy clothing franchise, it was obvious she knew. Oh yeah she knew alright as it’s been a while since women of any age have stared at my crotch even though in this case it was more with amusement than anything else. I then entered the parallel universe of the subliminal conversation:

Me: “er, I’d like to buy these please” (please please I have no pants)

Her “Sure, Medium ok” (you look a little fatter than that. And more nervous)

Me: “Medium is absolutely fine” (want to look, hey WANT TO, day I’ve had, I’ll drop ‘em here and now and then who’ll be sorry”)

Her: If you say so (seen it all before. Probably bigger as well. How could you forget your pants, YOU LOSER”)

I left with just shreds of my dignity but more importantly grasping the solution to my woes. A clandestine visit to the gents, furtively clasping my hard won underwear, soon put paid to the “freedom of the trouser” being enjoyed by the old man who’d clearly relished his time away from all things restricting.

The cheapo boxers I’d purchased through a haze of sweat and embarrassment were scratchy and nasty but I really wasn’t complaining. Finally I could face the world without the prospect of some unauthorised extracurricular activity that had many possible endings none of which would have been even slightly good.

Did you know January the 23rd has been proven scientifically to be the worst day of the year. All that research money wasted when all they had to do was ask me. Things can only improve or failing that it’s vodka on the cornflakes.

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