The infinite stitch is what I call that stitch on the tail of a new coat that you’re supposed to remove. That stitch is there to protect the tail until the coat has found its owner who, with as few as two cuts of scissors, can – and should – set the tail free. 

Every winter there’s a stitched-tail epidemic in London. Whenever I notice another one, I can’t ignore it, I have to follow the stitch as if it were a clue in a great mystery. The mystery is my relationship with London and Londoners. The stitch triggers an infinite inner dialogue I have with London:

I see a stitched tail and at first I wonder if I should kindly point it out to the coat owner and suggest removing it, only to remind myself that I’m in England and other’s people’s stitches are not my business. Or are they? 

What if these people just don’t have anyone who cares enough to tell them? What if everyone’s alone? Should I become a caring vigilante that tears these stitches and sets peoples coat tails free? 

But what if they don’t want to know? 

Could it be that the stitches are kept there on purpose, to signal that their tail is not going to fly anywhere? Have people forgotten the purpose of the stitch. Is the stich obsolete in today’s fast fashion when consumers don’t even examine what they buy? Is it a tailors’ subtle reminder of the value of their work? Is it an ancestral trait that is surviving without playing any evolutionary role?

And why does the stitch annoy me so much? Am I just scared that for the past 4 years, I’ve been wearing stitches I wasn’t aware of? Is my soul just screaming for attention – “I want someone to have my back!”? 

I went on 4 dates with a guy with a stitched tail. I suspected he probably hadn’t had a relationship in a while. Could I be the one? How long before I could tell him? Would it be before the spring or next winter? Or shall I just secretly rip that stitch without him ever finding out? 

Things didn’t work out between us and now, whenever I imagine him walking around with the stitch, I feel schadenfreude.