"Steve, are those new pants?" asked a woman named Noelle in the faculty services office at Austin Hall, home of the OSU College of Business.
I'd dropped by the office Monday to inquire about some lighting modifications in my office, and naturally when Noelle noted my blue, cargo-style trousers I figured some kind of compliment was forthcoming.
"Yeah, they are," I said, and then it sort of dawned on me what Noelle was planning to say next.
So I beat her to it.
"Do I have a tag somewhere?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"It was one of those long, vertical, sticky ones that say what size the pants are. 34-30 in case you were wondering; I was a 32-30 for a long time, and really I'm more like a 33-30 now, but the odd-numbered waists seem sort of hard to find, so I go with 34-30. Too-tight pants drive me nuts.
It was sort of embarrassing to have someone call attention to the tag, and also sort of annoying that there was still a tag there, because I'd cut off two other tags already; how many tags does one pair of pants need?
But overall, I was happy Noelle could brave whatever awkwardness she felt and inform me of the situation. Not quite like telling someone he has a booger hanging out of his nose, but close.
Ridiculously, that was the second time in a week I'd worn a new article of clothing without getting all the tags off. The previous Monday, the vet had called my attention to a similar situation regarding a sweater, but since I was mentally preparing at that moment to have my beloved dog Jewel put down (untreatable cancer) in a few minutes, a clothing gaffe didn't bother me much.
Follow Steve Lundeberg on Twitter, @AnyGivenLundy.