I walked into the store, dressed in my usual above average apparel, stopping just a few steps inside the door. I waited. I put my hands in my pocket, looking as relaxed as possible. I scanned the well-appointed boutique, eyeing the gentlemen who prided themselves on their ability to make a man feel special. Not a single one approached me. I hadn't made my intentions clear enough for them to engage. My station right at the front of the store didn't signal commitment. I loved this sort of verbal-less exchange. In the short time i'd stood there, every single one of them had sized up my seriousness at indulging in a purchase and the size of the purchase simply by the quality of my shoes, the cut of my pants and the stitch on my lapels. What they hadn't discerned out of these visual cues was that i wasn't there with the goal of getting the perfect suit boxed up and sent on my way. I was there to be served. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the emporium, engaging the entire staff, regaling them with stories, building a camraderie with them as they fit me with suit after suit, even complimenting my tastes (as if i chose the designs myself).
Once in awhile, i will leave with one of those suits (of course negotiated for a price more to my liking), but most times, i leave with just a single tie. I don't need the threads. I do however need the catering to.
I love being fitted for a suit. I get tingles that run up and down the back of my neck when i am the center of someone's consultation. Sitting in the chair as i get my shoes shined, i just melt, closing my eyes and sizzling with euphoria. The same sensation massages my head when i get a hair cut. I am perhaps the only person who isn't interred and elderly that picks up the phone when the caller ID indicates that it's a telemarketer on the other end. I listen to their pitches, i ask them questions, i inquire about their careers, prying them out of the narrow script they've been trained to follow. It becomes their pleasure to entertain me with their pitch, meanwhile, i'm secretly lavishing this personal attention.
It doesn't just have to involve me as the sole focus. You may also pamper my girl and i get the same thrill. Just the other day, we were at her corsetier. She was being fit for a new underbust s-shaped corset*. I sat in a chair and watched him tug the muslin over her midsection, taking out pins and notching them at spots to get the right action from the temporary boning. He would hold up swaths of different patterned fabrics, demonstrating color combinations he thought would please her. He completed what he needed to do for the corset fitting, and was going to move to the next item, but i stopped him before he removed the mock-up from her body. I wanted him to proceed with it still on. He pulled out the custom latex armbinder (that i had designed), with attached boned bustier, and slipped this up her two arms clasped behind her back. He laced it until her elbows met in the middle, then buckled the dozen straps further anchoring her immobilized appendages to her body. I got up and walked around her, examining the device. I pointed at certain areas where i felt a few inches could be lost, other areas where the contour of her beautifully gloved hands could be more pronounced. He made notes as i finished my inspection, taking dictation of my wishes. I've commissioned many things from him, and the attainment of the objects matches the pleasure i derive from him serving me only because what he crafted ultimately symbolizes my specific desires.
These types of exchanges happen on a daily basis, entering into negotiations and fulfilling contracts. Every time i find myself in one of them i think the following:
"You are looking to get something from me, when all i'm looking for is to get served."
*(not pictured on his site)