Milan – the place for some gentlemanly shopping

gen·tle·man  (jntl-mn)


1. A man of gentle or noble birth or superior social position: “He’s too much a gentleman to be a scholar” (Aphra Behn).
2. A well-mannered and considerate man with high standards of proper behavior. See Usage Note at lady.
3. A man of independent means who does not need to have a wage-paying job.
4. A man: Do you know this gentleman?
5. gentlemen (-mn) Used as a form of address for a group of men.
6. A manservant; a valet.

Most people who go to Milan shop for haute couture or luxury cars. Since I am not most people, I don’t shop for either. Actually I hadn’t  even gone to Milan to shop and had no shopping list save that of Hubby Dear who was so specific with what he wanted that it was really hard to shop for him.

Gentlemen are hard to find these days and its harder still to shop for them as shops catering to them are few and far between.

“He always gets us whatever we ask for, so I can’t see why you can’t do the same for him,” she argued when I tried to wiggle out of this task and I knew that I was fighting a losing battle as that determined look in her eye became even more resolute.
Milan is an easy city to shop in with an easy transport system to use. Even though everything is in Italian, you can somehow find your way around and get whatever you desire from pasta to Ferrari. But the weather in Milan was not something we had factored and with Wow Dinga in tow it was even harder to move around. So our shopping trips were pretty much restricted to two hour slots in the evening in between feeds and before the mosquitos attacked. With the first two days spent jet lagging, the next two getting organised, I had very few days to really shop so when we found we had two  hours to spare on our way back from Lake Como, Anna Shetty suggested we seize the opportunity to shop for Hubby Dear.

“But we just about have an hour!” I protested. “And we don’t even know where the shop is!”

“Ya, but this is the best time!” she persisted.

Thus began the most exciting shopping expedition of my life.

We tracked down an old email of mine on her Blackberry from where we found out the telephone number of the shop. Then Dr. B ( my son-in-law and the reason for my visit) called them up and found out that they had the requisite ties and were open till 7. We had another five minutes before our train came to a halt.

At 6.15 we got off at the train station and hoisting the pram up over the staircase, made our way to the Metro system to get to the stop closest to the shop. Back again on street level, it was back to the GPS to find out where we were supposed to go. Wheeling the pram along cobbled streets,following the trail on the GPS, we walked through street after street  lined with imposing stone buildings of Cordusio till we came upon our goal – E. Marinella. Taking a deep breath we rang the bell and found ourselves in an elegant shop with potted plants in polished planters, chandeliers and picture frames.There was a hushed silence as the two gentlemen who were attending to some customers tried not to look surprised at this strange group that came in – one fat, old,  lady  huffing and puffing, one pretty, young thing wheeling a pram with a wide eyed infant and a young man with a rucksack looking triumphantly at his Samsung! We definitely didn’t look the type who would shop at a high end store!

I quickly went forward and explained to the salesman that we’d called earlier and were looking for a tie . Immediately the man started pulling them out  – “is it this red? or would you like this blue? ” he asked till finally we found one that we really liked.

Within minutes we made our purchase and were just about to leave when I tentatively asked him if he knew where I’d get the second item on the list a men’s cologne.

“Ah” said the man sagely, nodding his head, ” You can get that down the street behind XXX. But you’d better hurry, they close in another ten minutes!”

So we ran out of the shop and down the street trying to remember the name he had mentioned.

“I think that’s the shop,” said Anna Shetty pointing to one store window with perfumes. We went inside to find that it wasn’t but the shopkeeper was helpful enough to point out where it was.

We followed his directions and made our way into a tiny little shop which was a gentleman’s paradise. With hair brushes and combs, shaving kits and perfumes, pen knives and more, all stuffed into a small space, each shelf was filled with treasures from another age when gentlemen dressed like gentlemen lathering their faces with shaving cream whipped up with a bristle brush, shaved off with a blade and rounded off with a dab of manly cologne.

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Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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