"White! You can't have white! It ruins it!"
I've become enough of a regular at my tailor that the chief of the place now comes out and discusses and hangs out with me while I'm getting fitted. She's a kind, creative, and highly intelligent Chinese woman, perhaps in her late 40's or 50's..
I'm flattered - this shop handles lots of business, and the first half dozen times I came I dealt only with sales staff. Apparently I've introduced enough people to the shop and get enough here that I'm getting personal consideration - and it looks like the quality level has moved up even higher.
...but she doesn't like my plan for white detailing on my red coat.
"Look, this coat is beautiful... it's very nice... but I also want something, umm, very different? Not normal, you know? Iconic, even? That means doing something different."
I got an all red coat, but I asked for the shoulder straps, belt, buttons, and detailing to be a mix of white cloth and silver metal.
"No, white is no good. Go all red."
"I want something funky."
"Go with black, then!"
That was my first thought, as well. Black would look good with red. But...
"Look," I say, "I'm American. We can't wear long knee-length coats that are red with black trim. It's, umm... it's a World War II thing. Looks too Nazi."
She looks at me, confused, almost stunned. "Black will be beautiful with red."
"Yeah, I agree in theory... but umm, how do I put this? You know in World War II, there were the Nazis, and everyone hates them? Their colors were like that."
She doesn't understand.
"You know? Germany? While you guys were fighting Japan? We were fighting Germany. Nazis. Red and black. Can't wear it."
She doesn't get it.
I draw a circle in the air against a wall. "See that? That's a sun..." I rapidly mime sunburst gestures off of it. "Sunburst? Beautiful, right?" I do a rectangular flag like motion. "But see! That was Imperial Japan's flag. So no one can ever use that symbol for a while, because everyone hates it." A couple salespeople around have sneered at the Japan reference. People of age 35 and older pretty universally dislike Japan here.
"So yeah... Americans, we dislike Nazis the same way."
She still looks confused. Maybe she doesn't know the word Nazi?
I put my left finger to my nose pantomiming a goofy mustache, snap my feet together, and extend my arm upwards.
"Ahh!" see says. "No Hitler!"
I laugh. "No Hitler, yes. Americans can get away with kind of sort of dressing like Lenin, but we can't dress like Hitler."
She laughs. "Okay. Red and white."
I nod. Red and white.
I wear black and red all the time, I think you are worrying too much. It would look good on you. I think it is really awesome that a) you have a personal tailor and b) you have the nerve to pull of a suit that red.
I can see why you get a discount.
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't red-and-black the English palace guard uniform? I think the red-and-black as clothing colors will not be perceived as Nazi, as people associate jackbooted-all black Waffen SS-like outfits as Nazi and those are thoroughly used by American SWAT teams these days.
How are you doing? Just a quick comment: I don't think it would be a problem to wear a red coat with black detailing... I'm German, and we learn about Hitler about a million times in High School etc., and - well, I didn't have the association red/black coat = nazi. Taking aside real nazi badges/symbols (which in Germany are illegal), one thing that's supposed to mean you're 'neo-nazi' is wearing black steel-capped boots with white bootlaces. Clothes are neutral, as long as you don't write nazi slogans on them.
I reckon sometimes there are too many things going on in people's heads, they try to take too much into account, and because of that they see parallels others don't - and sometimes that creates more problems in their heads than actually exist. Or maybe it's just a cultural thing.
Anyway, nice hat,
It's like I'm not in a cafe any more, but rather receiving a diplomatic corps from a nation I'm at war with. The woman has a "stern and serious fucking business" look on her face, and another waitress is standing alongside her right flank with arms crossed.
I shake my head and try to wave them off, doing the universal "I'm on the phone" gesture, holding up a thumb and pinky finger.
She starts speaking anyways. She's loud and insistent.
"Hold on, Marcus."
I take my headset off. "Yes?"
So after realizing that I'm most likely not getting into graduate school and spending a bit too much time getting to know the google search bar, I awoke from my panicked downward spiral to see an application to a German university. Now, I was all on board to continue on with the application until I realized that everything was in German. I know two other languages aside from English, and neither of them happen to be the native tongue of Deutchsland.
I'd be happy to be in Germany. I like bratwurst and beer and Heidi Klum and "Das Boot". I'm a HUGE fan of the German national soccer team. (Yeah, I said soccer. I get it, the world says football, quit being such Nazis about it… oh I see what I did there… well… yeah… FIFA '14… win… Hitler would be… ok I'm stopping). On top of that I still have German National Anthem memorized due to some masochistic relationship with my high school choir teacher. She was set on fire and didn't die. Granted it was just the sleeve of her dress, but let it stand that SHE WAS SET ON FIRE AND DID NOT DIE.
Moral of the story: I'm not going to Germany and I've resigned myself to getting super thin and finding a wealthy husband to buy my way into Harvard. That happens right? How else did Bush Jr. do it? Cs may get degrees but they don't get you into Harvard Business School, sir.
Cue sip of wine and sleep.