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“Yes, Mr. Tutworth, those trousers do fit you nicely. No, sir, I don’t think they make your bum look big.” Julian Delaney bit his tongue and turned his back to the portly shopper. Various comments floated through his mind, but he’d never voice any of them aloud.
He faced the same scenario about once a week. A size forty-four man, requesting size forty apparel. People thought women were in denial when they shopped. Men are the worst! Julian handled it with tact and discretion. He’d slip the item he knew would fit through the cracked-open dressing room door and wait for the customer to come out. Then he’d watch the man parade about in front of the mirror. Julian schmoozed, laying on the compliments thick.
It’s all a matter of knowing what the customers want and giving it to them. The skill had made him one of the most popular haberdashers at Henri’s, a chic menswear store in Chicago. The men loved him.
Julian loved men, in general. He’d known he was gay as far back as he could remember, and hadn’t suffered negatively for it. His parents were cool, his sister and friends equally receptive. He lived a good life, a little on the boring side sometimes, but that was fine with him.
“What do you think?” Tutworth held a navy necktie against the white shirt and blue trousers he’d tried on.
Julian shoved his long, brown bangs out of his eyes and reached for a different tie. The same blue colour, this one had a thin white stripe. “I like the stripe.”
Tutworth raised an eyebrow. “Your hair is short and neat on the sides and in back. Why on earth would you wear the front in your eyes like that?” Offering a sly grin in response, Julian shrugged. “My stylist tells me it’s all the rage. What can I do? I’m a natural born fashion plate.”
The robust man’s chest shook with laughter. “You’re a beanpole, but I guess that probably is the fashion.” He grabbed the striped tie and studied his reflection in the mirror. “I’ll take them both. Can you have the slacks tailored by the weekend?”
“Absolutely.” Julian collected the ties. “Susan has your measurements. You go ahead and change. Leave the clothes in there. I’ll write up your ticket then come back and gather up everything.”
“Thanks, Jules.” Tutworth nodded and returned to the dressing room.