On the eve of the first Democratic debate, I was sat alone at a table in the bar of the Miami Hilton. I’d worked out that many of the candidates were staying there, and figured it would be a good place to get some work done while surreptitiously keeping my ears pricked for gossip. I was dressed as any conference-going Spectator journalist would be: white shirt, sleeves rolled up, dark blue suit trousers, black shoes, suspenders, a royal blue tie (for my native soccer team Brighton, of course), and no suit jacket. You may well not care about what I was wearing: but trust me, it will soon become relevant.
A woman approached my table and asked if she could borrow one of the vacant chairs. They were awkward heavy gray things, so, never missing the opportunity to act the gent, I stood up and carried it to her group. She was sitting with two other women, and was grateful for my assistance.
Just after I sat back down, the fourth member of their party joined them.
‘Are you cosplaying?’, he said to me.
I was taken aback. I turned around and looked at him. He was a young bespectacled man, with light-colored slightly receding hair, in a polo shirt.
‘What, as your husband?’ I replied, recognizing him as Chasten Buttigieg, life partner of Mayor Pete.
‘Sorry, you must have gotten that a lot here?’ he said wryly.
‘Actually…you’re the first,’ I responded. ‘I suppose your eyes are more attuned to it than most. This is just how people dress in my country.’
We had a brief chat about the inhospitable weather (record June heat for the third day in a row), before he let me get back to my work…and to reassess my sartorial choices. I have never ‘cosplayed’ – but perhaps these debates are the ideal time to start. I’ve trampled all over my suit and shirt so I can go as Bernie tonight.