Posted on 2018.12.31
Work brings him to town on the third Tuesday of every month. Unless I’ve taken myself off the schedule, he has booked me every single month for the past year.
He’s generous. Probably the most generous Client I’ve known. If someone asked me to describe him I would say he was sweet, extremely smart, generous, and decisive. He is the kind of man who is very clear about what he wants. Very.
He’s not pushy or loud about it either and his personality suits his line of work. As the owner of an engineering firm, he travels often to sites around the world, overseeing the assembly of large drilling sites for mining firms. He likes to joke that he’s either 10,000 feet in the air or a couple hundred feet underground. The third Tuesday of every month is when he comes to town to take meetings in the morning and spends the rest of the day recharging his batteries.
The first time we met, I remember thinking that this was going to be an odd date. Typically, our clients expect a certain level of style when seeing one of us. Polished. Real, but just on the edge of fantasy. Shiny and glamorous when the occasion calls for it. But never casual. Casual is for my days off, and friends will tell you that even my casual days involve wearing heels. But he specifically requested that I dress casually. I thought that maybe he was planning on taking me to a basketball game or something like that, but apparently our date would involve going to dinner. Looking at my outfit the only appropriate restaurant I could think we could go to would have been the neighbourhood pub. Meh. Whatever floats your boat, right?
We were meeting at the bar in his hotel. I say “his” because he stays in the same hotel, and in the same room, every time he visits. As I approached the table, doubt started to kick in because he was wearing a suit. Did we get the request wrong? Why am I dressed for a game and he’s dressed for a meeting? This didn’t seem right. We said hello and I whispered, “I apologize.”
“For what?” He asked.
Gesturing to my outfit I replied, “I think I’m underdressed for the occasion. You see I got a note that I was supposed to dress casually?”
“Oh. That. Yes. Well as a way to thank you for spending time with me today, I thought I’d give you a bit of a treat before dinner…”
My treat was shopping. Part of the date involved going to some boutiques in the area and picking out outfits for me to wear; one outfit for our date and one just as a thank you.
My mind raced through the possibilities, as I took note of the major fashion houses just around the corner, but again, I thought I was missing something. I was a little disappointed when I was told the request was casual wear because like I said, I truly love to dress up. Now, here was a man asking me what my fashion wishlist was. I wasn’t sure if he had a budget in mind but I figured I should start high and work my way down. I listed my favourites and he didn’t even flinch. While doing so, I took note of how he was dressed. The suit was bespoke. The watch looked old but well taken care of. The tie and pocket square were fine Italian silk. His haircut was fresh and his beard was definitely shaped by a barber. This was a man who paid attention to the details. With each store we discussed the specifics: the designer, the cut, colours, fabric choices, accessories. I wasn’t sure if he was quizzing me or if I was quizzing him, but I loved how he was able to apply engineering principles to dress design. I got so into the conversation that I almost forgot how we got here.
He looked at his watch and called the bartender over by name to settle our bill. I noticed that the tip was very generous. We headed out to stores we had discussed and I started shopping.
I usually prefer to shop alone, that way I can take my time picking pieces that will fit into my wardrobe easily. I may love to shop but I don’t like to shop for the sake of having a bunch of stuff. I asked about our dinner reservation and was told not to worry.
I picked out a few outfits and started to model them for him.With each outfit he would ask me what I liked or didn’t like about a piece, carefully weighing my answers. I asked what he preferred and “Choose what you would wear to dinner” was the only response.
Then I spotted it. The dress from their Fall collection. It was different than the one on the runway as it had been adapted for everyday wear. But it was perfect and exactly the kind of dress I would wear on a date. I slipped it on and came out to show him. He smiled softly while he took me in from head to toe. The smile faded as his eyes moved downwards and I followed his gaze.
“What about shoes?”
Looking down at my bare feet I realized that the shoes I was wearing wouldn’t be a good fit for this dress. I joked that my pedicure was fresh and that any restaurant would be happy to waive their “no shoes, no service” rule for us. We laughed and the sales associate recommended a pair that matched perfectly.
“Do you like it?”
The sales associate was confused at first when she realized that I was going to wear the outfit out of the store and even more confused when he insisted on shaking their hand – until they realized the tip that was being slipped to them as a thank you. I freshened up in the fitting room while he took care of the bill and we headed out to another store a few doors down that carried menswear as well. As I picked out another outfit and some accessories, I asked if he was going to treat himself to anything. Turns out he has a standing appointment with his tailor on the third Wednesday of every month. Of course he did. Outfits in hand, we made our way to dinner.
I had wanted to try the restaurant he took me to for dinner and it did not disappoint.
We spent the rest of the night discussing fashion, carefully reviewing my choices and admiring the construction of each piece. He was methodical about it, as if he were examining a machine he had built. You might think that his attention would make me feel like an object, but it had the opposite effect: I felt admired. Adored. This was a man who understood the value of time and effort, of paying attention to the details, and the value of quality. This was a man who enjoyed being a patron and was generous with his appreciation.
At the end of our date he asked me how I felt about making this a regular occurrence. Because he had so much going on, he preferred to schedule things in advance as much as possible. We made a deal: as long as I was available, we had a standing appointment on the third Tuesday of every month. Shopping, dinner, and very stimulating conversation about fashion. But people still wonder if I love my job.
On the third Wednesday of every month, I wake up and look at my closet…
Of course I do. Wouldn’t you?
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