Before meeting Him, I never really appreciated how horsey gear is often targeted more towards the female audience. This became very apparent when we managed to shock a whole store of customers and almost knock down a tack shop on the hunt for some polo whites for Him. I’ll explain…
We were staying in the countryside for our week off, when we received a last-minute invitation to play in an upcoming polo match that was happening the next morning. Having not played for almost a year, there were concerns over what to wear! I was lucky — my white riding breeches also doubled up as ‘polo whites’. He, on the other hand, was out of luck, having retired his whites the previous season (after a mishap with the washing machine and a hidden red t-shirt that subsequently turned the whole load an attractive dusky pink!).
“Where on EARTH are you going to find polo whites in such a small town?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, looking sheepish. “I actually usually just play in ladies’ white jeans…”
I’ve never really hung out with a polo guy before. I don’t know if this is a common occurrence or just a Him thing, but He says that ladies’ jeans have more variations on offer and are always MUCH easier to get a hold of than men’s white jeans!
We drove into the local town, where He went into high street shops in search of some ladies’ white jeans. Having no luck, He stalked into the small department store that was run by a group of older women. Hitting the ladies’ department up the stairs, He was pleased — the store stocked multiple styles of jeans, hurray! As He wandered around the small shop clutching numerous pairs, one of the shop assistants approached Him nervously.
“Erm, sir… you do understand these are all from the ladies’ collection?”
“Yes, yes I do — I was hoping to try them on. Is the fitting room open?”
The woman gulped nervously. “If that’s the case, I’m afraid you’ll have to be escorted to the changing room downstairs. You see, the men’s fitting room is downstairs, but holds different concessions so one of us from upstairs will need to come with you…”
So this petite older lady led a very red and embarrassed 6ft4 man across the store and down the stairs, much to the fascination of the other women shopping, who had stopped to eavesdrop on their bizarre conversation. Even worse, none of the jeans fitted!
He looked defeated. “I guess I won’t be able to play tomorrow”.
“No!” I cried. “We still have one more shop to go. I don’t know why you can’t just get some white jodhpurs anyway — I know one place that will sort you out”.
Taking charge, I drove us to the local tack shop, that had been kitting me out for the past 15 years and was yet to let me down. The tack shop was tiny, and situated in an old granary with a low ceiling, but it was packed with the key essentials for any horse and rider.
We burst in. “We’re in a bit of a fix — we need some white men’s jodhpurs for tomorrow, do you have any?”
The tack shop owner looked apologetic as she explained they didn’t stock men’s, and only had ladies’ in the shop, but could order some in for next week?
At this point, things were desperate, so I insisted that he tried on any ladies’ white jodhpurs that could possibly fit Him. Remarkably, a pair looked like they did.
The tack shop owner was reluctant to sell us the jodhpurs, unless they “really, really fitted”. For the next 10 minutes, she had Him doing various stretches, lunges and squats around the tiny space, dodging the hanging bridles and stacked up saddles (which is hard when you’re over six foot and notoriously clumsy). When I wasn’t moving out the way of Him or the swinging tack as He continued his lap of odd exercises around the shop, I was laughing uncontrollably, especially as the shop owner admitted that she hadn’t imagined her day would pan out quite like this!
With the shop owner satisfied that the jodhpurs were up to the job, we paid for them and left, tired after a rather odd morning. It was worth it though. After being a jodhpur snob, (“you can’t wear joddys for polo!”), He admitted the next day that they were actually “rather comfy”. Plus, at chukkas a few weeks later, I noticed that despite having some polo jeans to play in, He opted for the ladies’ jodhpurs again.