Wardrobe malfunctions - we're all familiar with 'em.
Some you can shake off, some just have to be addressed. A ladder in a stocking, for instance. They say a dab of fingernail polish can temporarilty tame the situation. They're dreamin' of course.
But what of a catastrophic fly breakdown?
Completely wrecked. Zip con 1.
Happened at work the other day - the cockatoo cage ripped open. In the field as it were. Work, the uniform, keeping up appearances - all thoughts that raced through the mind in that moment of discovery.
And what play did I have? Not another pair of work pants in sight. Who could I turn to, without being sniggered at?
Luckily I was in a changeroom and had time to contemplate my options.
Could a man get away with walking around work all day with his zipper down?
Could a woman even? Of course not.
It's one of the universal gender-non-specific fashion-cultural no nos.
Fly down in public sends a message to the world that a person is one of three things: a) clumsy b) ridiculous c) possibly homeless.
Clearly, I was still thinking clearly, which was the only positive at this stage.
Something had to be done and it had to be done without anyone knowing.
Actually, it had to be done without anyone I knew knowing.
And that involved walking down the street to Spotlight to buy a box of safety pins.
No other way around it.
Didn't matter if strangers saw a man walking down the street with his fly down because hey, the streets are like that in Newcastle West.
Better than people I knew seeing that, because some things can't be unseen.
Same at Spotlight. Couldn't help thinking I was surrounded by people trained in haberdashery mishaps.
But having haberdasheried down, I haberdasheried back to the changeroom for the next critical challenge.
Deploying safety pins in a manner that camouflaged the malfunction without piercing any essential bodily functions.
Easier said than done when you've got to take the pants off to gang-hook the fly, then put the pants back on exerting unfair pressure on those cheap safety pins of dubious origin and construction.
Following a few more malfunctions I came to a delicate balance between ad hoc concealment and below the belt acupuncture.
All I had to do now was stay at the desk for the next seven hours and no one would be the wiser. But come about 3pm I felt the need to stretch the legs. And in so doing, I stretched the safety pins. While walking to the shop.
I could tell Houston had a problem because as I waited at the traffic lights I could feel that cold winter change, like the gaze of a dozen pedestrians across the road, penetrate further south than it should have.
Yep the ole spinnaker was flapping in the breeze again and there was nothing I could do but zip it. If only.