There’s a pair of stone-washed blue jeans hanging up in my wardrobe that I’ve been unable to squeeze into for years. Yet it doesn’t seem long ago that a slimmer, younger man slipped into such gear, to later stand staring across disco dance-floors, weighing up romantic possibilities.
I was usually also watching my pal David Bailey as he nonchalantly strolled by some prancing beauty. No, it wasn’t that David Bailey, famous fashion photographer of the Swinging Sixties. Dave was my mate in Manchester at the time and a milkman – well, ‘trainee dairy manager’.
“What d’you think?” he’d ask me upon returning to my side.
“Bit too tall,” I’d have to deflate him. Dave wasn’t the loftiest of men and doubted his chances with bigger lasses.
Later we shared a lively flat at an old house in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, the poor man’s Didsbury for trendy night-life. Happily, Dave’s personality was bigger than most and he always made a great impression and therefore did all right – deservedly so.
Ironically, he now looks up lovingly at his partner of 30-odd years, who’s a fairly tall lady.
This week sees Dave’s 70th birthday. His many, diverse friends will gather where he now lives in more salubrious suburbs of Greater Manchester, catching up on missing years.
That sort of friendship can be rekindled within a moment of meeting again. What a time we had! Could it really have been so long ago?
Thankfully, we’ve mostly been blessed with good health and have continued to benefit from a youth-time spent together playing sports.
Come to think of it, I might even try squeezing into those jeans again – after cutting back over Lent. But then, on second thoughts, we’ve learned to act and dress more our age.
It’s only inside that we ‘lads’ often feel just as ‘likely’ as we once were.
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