Dry-Cleaners, Elves, and the Duke of Windsor Revisited

The Follow Up to last weeks reprint, this ran May 12th, 2016. Like the previous entry it has remained unaltered.  

   Faithful readers may remember the confusion at the dry cleaners that I had. I was pretty upset over losing the black suit and I felt pretty silly to have gone so long without noticing.  I called it “chintzy,” which was unfair and a “Tux'” which is uncouth. It is a fine suit, not a cheap rental. Certainly, I was not happy ending up with the wrong thing, but I should only have been mad at myself. I had no right to take it out on the clothes.

      I figured that a dinner suit is exactly the kind of thing one ought to have on hand. However in the twenty-first century, few people need these sorts of things and I don’t move in their circles. I could go to every party that I am invited to dressed like a  tech-billionaire (adult diapers and stapled-on rags), but a reminder of  the good life is sitting quietly in my closet, almost unnoticed next to my black overcoat.
       Over the past few month I have picked up a proper silk bow tie, a white pocket square, cuff-links, and a silk cummerbund (I already had the proper suspenders), but to no real purpose. I haven’t received any engraved invitations. Part of owning things is an expectation of using them, and, in this case, having an occasion to use them. I have always lacked the occasion. It seems taunting of fate to send me this thing which I didn’t need or want and that was not given or passed down. It simply showed up in my closet one day to show me the deficiencies in my social life.
       Maybe we all have these sorts of troubles with our social lives.  I gave a pep-talk to a friend recently in which I said “When you’re young you constantly fear that there is a party going on somewhere and that you are not invited, and getting older is all about realizing that the party is wherever you are and making the most of it.”
       I was pretty happy having said that and I believed it at the time — and I believe it in general — but I have this corner of my closet that is dominated by the suit (that when hanging resembles a folded and neglected theatrical curtain), occasionally reminding me “yes, there is a party going on somewhere, and no, you are not invited.”



Adult Diapers * Suspenders * Engraved Invitations * Glamour Boys * Quoting Myself * Cuff-Links








NOTE: This entry is featured on my old blog from July 29th, 2016.

NOTE: This entry was featured on my old blog from July 29th, 2016.

There is an old saw about raising children that says if you catch a child doing something weird but not quite criminal (setting small fires for example) not to make a big deal of it because the bigger a deal you make the more likely it will become a part of the child’s identity (thus creating an arsonist). The corollary seems to also be true — if anyone does something unusual even once that action may become transfixed in other people’s perceptions of him  — no matter how innocuous the offense. Furthermore, any change in behavior or outer appearance must correlate to some inner change or desire to be hidden.

Many years ago I shaved my beard off and a young woman of my acquaintance refused to believe that I was the same person. At first I thought she was joking but after a few months she would still insist that I was a bearded person in disguise and couldn’t really be myself until I grew it back. This wasn’t a lark or an aesthetic judgement — it was a statement of existential authenticity.  I couldn’t be the person she wanted me to be unless I was bewhiskered, and the person she wanted me to be was indeed my true self, my own opinions were entirely moot and my clean-shaven face a contemptible disguise.

That was an unusual example example of this phenomenon here is a commoner, less extreme version: I wear a jacket and tie every work-day and, for the most part, nobody notices, aside from a few old-timers who regularly remind me that neither are required and that I can wear jeans and polo shirts in the old-timer manner.

There is nothing particularly notable about the ties themselves. They are the nicest ties I can afford. Natural fibers, subdued colors  and what not — I take care to select good things but don’t make it into a fetish.

Two or three time a month I like to wear a bow tie. I still don’t think most people notice. But for a few people if they see someone once in a bow tie that person becomes that strange unwholesome deviant, ‘Mr. Bowtie.’ In their minds every other article of clothing one has worn, word spoken, or action taken, is instantly obliterated. This phenomenon is roughly akin to seeing someone eat a liverwurst sandwich and assuming that they live entirely off of liverwurst (for every meal and washed down with liverwurst juice) no matter how often they see them eat, and no matter how varied their diet objectively was. This belief would persist no matter what — even if they eat lunch everyday with the liverwurtian and only see him eat it once.

Sandwiches and beards can be ruinous to a reputation.

Recently a friend greeted me without a hug, handshake, or ‘hello’ but with a “where is your bow tie?” I didn’t have a snappy answer. I was already wearing a tie, so I thought I was covered. That wasn’t an isolated example. I get the ‘where’s the bow tie?’ question much more often than I wear bow ties. It’s not the worst thing in the world. People seem to like them.

So, reader, be warned. Whether you wear the conformists’ jeans and a t-shirt, or the rebels’ top hat and tails (or whatever it is that they are doing); whether you are clean-shaven or bearded down to your shaky hipster-knees, other people will define you often on the most fleeting and causal decisions you make. And the most you can do is fault them right back for their neckwear, or perhaps, their taste for liverwurst.


Tags: It Ain’t a Fetish, This Entry is a Rejected Magazine Article, Unwholesome Deviants, Advice, Shaky Knees, Beards