Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Charging boldly into the world of tuxedo ownership

Monday was another formal dinner, this time via an exchange with Emmanuel college making it even "formaler." With three black tie events in three weeks I decided it would make sense to just buy a tuxedo and be covered for three years. Besides, I think the tux will hold value better than my Vanguard portfolio has been doing.

Anyway, £180 later, thanks to my man Nick, the salesman at Marks Brothers, I'm now the proud owner of this little number which I was able to wear to Emmanuel's formal hall:


Thanks go also to Emma, pictured below, who came along and helped me pick the tux out:



Yes, I'm wearing a pink and brown bowtie, but you probably didn't guess there were reasons beyond simple fashion for those colors. They're the college colors of Churchill's, patterned after Sir Winston's horse racing colors. You can't tell but I am also rocking some Churchill cufflinks.

It's impossible to really explain the college system here until you see it but it is a big, big deal. The colleges compete on everything, from sports to architecture to endowment sizes, which are frequently mentioned. See, the whole notion of "equality" as a goal doesn't exist here like it does in America, and as a result you have Trinity College sitting on £700 million, more than the University of Cambridge, and Homerton, which actually has the most students, with no endowment at all. The nice colleges downtown are just amazing, with beautiful old buildings and palatial accomodations, while others are way out of town and look like dorms would at Stanford.

Colleges can take whomever they want, so people in the nice ones are comfortable getting much better treatment, they're comfortable thinking of themselves as better or higher class than the suckers out in the "bad" colleges, and that's just part of life here. This would never fly at a US institution but that's a cultural difference I guess.

Fortunately Churchill, although relatively new, has been a success financially and academically, it's around 10th of 31 in endowment, and has the best sports facilities and largest grounds. For me it works great since Churchill is right near my laboratory, and is looser on formality than most while still being nice. Definitely will be wearing the pink bowtie proudly.

1 comment:

Brent N. said...

I will forward that picture to Ronald and let him decide for himself.