I love it more than my family. I love it more than any girl I’ve ever told that I love more than my family. Vintage leather, pre-loved, pre-worn and pre-historic, this aubergine dream represents everything I love about Sydney in a single garment.
It cost me next to nothing. I bought it on a day when I hadn’t planned on purchasing anything. And the “store” I found it in was actually a stall outside a house on the side of the road I now live on. Let’s call it the Unofficial Bondi Markets. For this jacket, I would have paid all of the dollars I had. As it turns out, the sensuous, sarong-swathed foreigner manning the place only wanted 20 of them. Seven years later, as the flimsy lining mocks me through the cold and the zipper steadfastly refuses to close, I understand why the figure was so low. And I don’t care.
My beloved Bondi outerwear was originally not made for me. It was designed for someone with breasts, probably. Maybe Joan Jett wore it in another life. Or Michael Hutchence (during his experimental phase). It has that sort of bad-arse feeling to it. Every time I put it on, I’m compelled to strut around the place. Nothing says “danger” like the colour of a blistered, battered and bruised eggplant.
It’s a trooper, my jacket. I should have retired it long ago, but it’s a stubborn old bastard, and it seems, so am I. Its colour metastasises with age. Decades of wear have revealed shades of maroon, mauve and coffee in the most unusual places. New layers break out from under old ones like lava through volcanic rock, crackling and buckling under the weight of use and experience. It’s a stunning, sartorial piece of art – or so I tell myself.
Only when I’m burrowing my hands into the ripped pockets for extra warmth, swearing that this will be the last time I’m silly enough to wear it do I get an outrageous compliment about the jacket. It’s like nobody in this city has ever seen a hirsute man in a piece of girl’s clothing before. They’re not helping with my attachment issues.
And so here I am, back to square one with this beaten-up thing; pragmatically disinclined but hopelessly addicted. It might have been designed for another’s body, but it’s a part of mine, now.