It's been a very long time, thankfully, since anyone in a suit has knocked on my front door, and if ever anyone does again I'll do my very best to be friendly and civil. But it will be a struggle.
You see, I am prejudiced against men in suits. It is just one of the prejudices that accompany me every day, one of a set that shrouds me in a protective layer as I go about the day.
Unlike the prejudices of the older men of my youth and the high-ground group of today, which I wrote about last week, mine are entirely sensible.
I've owned three suits in my life, and the first two I wore on just a handful of occasions when, in my 20s and 30s, I felt that not to would be suggesting that I was flippant about the occasion, my role and my integrity. I hated wearing them, about as much as I hated wearing the three-piece burnt-orange monstrosity I'd hired for my wedding day. My wife believes still that I was the patsy for a practical joke.
The third suit I bought 20 years ago for an occasion I can't recall, and when I put it on an hour before the event I felt so uncomfortable I took it off and wore my shirt-and-tie work outfit instead.
Ten years ago the suit, still unworn, found a new life in a charity shop, probably as hard-wearing pyjamas for someone down on their luck.
These days suits are worn, according to my prejudice, as a claim to integrity by men whose need for such a claim is too desperate. He is generally trying to sell you something and the suit is meant to assure you that he'll look after you.
Oops, suits are worn these days also by African tyrants and footballers on domestic-assault charges.
Never, I say, sit down with anyone wearing a suit, avoid eye contact with anyone wearing a three-piece suit, and don't open your wallet in the presence of a pin-striped suit.
I have other prejudices. Skin colour is not one of them, and I have never understood how it could be for anyone, nor is race, yet some of my biases are against some behaviours that seem to be associated with certain cultures. That's just the way it is.
In-your-face hard-sell is one of them, and if ever I find myself inadvertently in such a hard-sell business I beat a retreat without so much as a polite excuse.
A different culture is not always the explanation for this overwhelming salesmanship, because more than once I have had to retreat at pace from sales staff of my own culture in new-car dealerships.
And my antipathy to drivers of certain nationalities or ethnicities, and only when they're driving and in my vicinity, is thoroughly justified!
I've owned three suits in my life, and the first two I wore on just a handful of occasions when, in my 20s and 30s, I felt that not to would be suggesting that I was flippant about the occasion, my role and my integrity. I hated wearing them, about as much as I hated wearing the three-piece burnt-orange monstrosity I'd hired for my wedding day.
Still, I ask myself occasionally if it is that I subconsciously watch for bad drivers of these racial backgrounds to confirm my prejudice yet ignore good drivers of these nationalities lest they challenge my prejudice. Nope, I always insist, they're just terrible drivers who shouldn't be on the bloody road!
Interestingly I know that I would be worse than a terrible driver if I tried to pilot a vehicle in the head-spinning traffic of their ethnic homeland.
Of course there is no need to try to rationalise our prejudice against women drivers.
Men adorned with gold push my high-alert button. Perhaps I push theirs too, and when I had a fellow with a heavy gold necklace at my house to quote on a job recently I noticed that he used his left hand to clench his necklace as I talked to him.
And God spare me the devout! The piety is so painful I can't bear it for any longer than it takes me to leave them with a "May God hold you in the grip of his eternal grace". Born-agains invoke a new level of prejudice, and I've noticed over the years that even the otherwise devout cringe in their company.
I am able to tolerate men who don't drink, or I should say who don't drink for reasons other than alcoholism, for longer than the devout but there's not much in it. Maybe a minute. They're invariably so eye-glazingly boring that they promote the value of a little alcohol and of well targeted prejudice, and so I suppose they deserve the extra minute.
People who whinge and knock are best left to test the tolerance of their ilk, and I find a deep aversion to bitchy women and snivelling men. Their company has on me the same shuddering impact as scraping fingernails on a blackboard, and while I try to leave them politely I don't always succeed.
I'll cross the road to avoid the source of a feral screech, and I acknowledge that this prejudice may be a tad unfair given that the screeching is probably not a matter of choice.
On the other hand I'll cross the road to meet the source of plummy tones, a superior affectation I find fascinating, and just two weeks ago I asked one such new acquaintance if he had any tips on how I could add a little fruitiness to my tone.
In my case, he told me, it was too late.
I deserved that dollop of ageism.
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