Once, in Bangkok, a man called out from the door of his store, where I was wandering by, Hey you wanna suit? No, I don't really need a suit, I said. That's ok, just take a look, sir. I knew very well where this would lead and wanted to be lead almost there but not quite, and so I went in. We sat down across a coffee table as reams of cloth lined the walls, and binders full of suited models sat atop the table. A man was summoned to bring me a cup of tea, in a paper cup.
We started sifting through the photos. They looked nice. It was becoming intense. I didn't want to tell him that they weren't good. And I didn't want to tell him that I'd think about it even though I was thinking about what to have for dinner. I'm just not staying long enough, I said, heading out tomorrow. And that was what I thought would end the conversation but it started a new conversation. About how they could make it happen. Teams of workers could put a quality suit together in a day. No mention was made of the meaning of quality. I could see one or two of them ready to take action if given the word. Not that I had chosen a suit. I may have only stated that this one and that one weren't bad.
In Apgujeong, Seoul we went to look at wedding dresses. Got in, sat at the coffee table as white walls and mirrors lined the background. It was the closest I would ever get to going inside the house of mormon. We were in the complementary position at the coffee table, not opposite but not on the same side, two of them two of us. The tea came out in a real cup. The binders of magazines came out too. Four people all concerned. The pressure. The indians from Thailand were back.
At some stage I was instructed that I could leave, which I wanted to. After all, everyone else was a female and everyone else had some idea of what was being asked for. I felt like I was leaving a man behind enemy lines though. Now it would become five on one and these people were ruthless. I didn't know what had been going on and I wanted to, so I said, honey, aren't you gonna walk me out? So Jin did, and they followed within a cat's step, concerned that their prize was about to get away.
They came out with a clipboard and asked a lot of questions. It was like you were about to get in a nasa rocket and go to the moon. And they wanted to handle other areas of the operation, like make up and so forth.
What stays with you is the sheer intensity of what should be a fun time. They said you had to pay 30,000 won to try something on. You might be able to buy some clothes for that.
In Thailand, the men were profuse in their work. No please don't go without at least trying something on, sir, give us an address overseas and we will ship it there directly. I'll think on your kind proposal, I said, but actually, I was heading out to eat on it.