The Measure Of A Man

In my capacity as the publisher of MidWeek, I enjoy friendships with many ethnic organizations in the Islands. That is one aspect of my job on which I place great value, since I meet so many wonderful people who are proud of their individual cultures. So, like a politician, my wife and I get invited to many exciting cultural and civic events. In the past couple of years, I’ve made great friends with leaders in the Filipino community.

My most recent social engagement was to attend the installation of new officers for the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii. The mode of dress can be elaborate and, short of black tie, I usually dress in a business suit.

My main Filipino BFF is a prominent real estate businesswoman. She has been promising to set me up with a tailor who specializes in making the traditional formal wear for men, known as a barong. You know what I’m talking about, those nearly transparent shirts that have elaborate embroidery and are worn untucked. She says I attend so many of these events that it was time for me to get one. I always thought she was kidding.

That evening, she introduced me to the premier master tailor of the Barong Tagalog in Hawaii, Jun Sadural. During the program he met me in the lobby, wanting to take my measurements at the urging of my friend. I felt a bit awkward since people were mingling and I had to remove my jacket for a proper measure and fit. The one thing Mr. Sadural did not know is that I am highly ticklish. He whipped out his tape measure and proceeded to take my measurements.

He was nothing but professional, but even the slightest touch had me laughing like a hyena. The anticipation of his touch had me burst out in laughter and squirming around like a boy with his first haircut. He was really patient, and after much embarrassment, I made it through the measuring. I expect I will end up with a fine barong. It will be one that I will be proud to wear to any future formal event, Filipino or otherwise. I just thank God that the Filipino men don’t have such a thing as formal pants. Measuring my inseam would have literally done me in.