Every once in a great while, a man is faced with a life-changing revelation; an epiphany that alters his view of the world, and affects the kind of change that can alter the course of events for the rest of his days. I was recently faced with such a revelation. It didn’t come in any of the tradition ways – there was no near death experience, no chemically induced stupor, or Indian spirit walk – I was just out with some friends, enjoying a ‘Day of Decadence’ – which is one of my favorite things to do, right up until I reconcile the finances at the end of the month – during which we all pretend to have scads of money and no cares or responsibilities, and blow the equivalent of a mortgage payment on dinner. This particular meal consisted of roasted marrow with a cherry marmalade, followed by a perfectly cooked ribeye with a horrendously subpar cognac cream sauce, along with associated sides and a couple of Pinots. There was also champagne to wash down dessert, because we’re not animals, after all. This might sound excessive, and I mean sure, I can never retire now, and my son doesn’t get to go to college, but it’s a lot of fun, and the evening was going great – the drinks were flowing, we had a good rapport with the waiter, and the babysitter was settled in for a long night at the house. I had just put in an early order for the Grand Marnier soufflé (because it takes some time to make those, you know) when suddenly, things took a turn for the worse. Despite my best efforts to keep them concealed, someone pointed out that I was wearing the complimentary rope cufflink that came free with my shirt. ^GASP^
Before you close your browser window in disgust, let me explain – I had recently purchased a couple of dress shirts that required cufflinks, which is unusual, and in fact frustrating for me. Why not just use buttons? They’re a perfectly elegant and proven fastening method, unless you’re talking about the button fly, which is a horrible atrocity visited upon society by the Levis corporation that should have earned its inventor a swift and painful execution. It still blows my mind that anyone considers those a good idea; because there’s nothing like fumbling with your fly for 5 minutes while your coworkers watch you dance around urgently in front of the urinal. In fact, I believe that if we were really serious about bringing, say, Iran to its knees without military action, we could forget about sanctions and simply begin exporting only button fly jeans. Their entire nation would be crippled – assuming we could convince them to wear actual pants. I suppose you’d have to first deal with the powerful robe cartels and their iron grip on the middle-eastern fashion industry…so the plan – much like the jeans – has some holes, but I feel like the premise is sound. I’ll shoot a draft to Congress for review. I’m sure they’ll get to it right after the next budget showdown.
Now Russia – there’s an enemy we could take down with button fly jeans! Imagine the pictures of shirtless Putin fumbling with his pants as the tranquilized tiger starts to wake up. That would be a clip worth watching every 3 minutes on the CNN news loop! I feel like this plan is starting to come together – maybe I’ll CC the folks at Levis on that email to Congress…
Anyway, in my opinion, buttons are the obvious choice for cuff closure for a couple reasons; Number one, they allow for a much less irritating cuff shape that actually conforms to your wrist instead of sticking out like a goofy duck faced selfie; and number two, they’re included in the price of the shirt, as opposed to cufflinks which require you to shell out often large sums of money for an accessory that amounts to little more than a fancy paper clip. But these shirts were on sale – possibly because of the cufflink requirement – and they looked pretty slick, so I figured what the heck? Not owning any actual cufflinks myself, I was forced to use the little knot-balls that were provided with the shirts on this particular evening. I actually thought they looked kind of neat in an outdoorsy climber sort of way, but apparently I looked like Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel.
And it didn’t stop there! I was also told that, in addition to cufflinks, I apparently need shoe trees, a shoe RACK, and tie bars. This also means I’ll need shoes nice enough make use of these trees and racks. I personally fail to see the need for shoe trees, as I’ve never had a pair of dress shoes that lost their shape even after spending literally 10 years in the closet. I could see the utility in some sort of shoe dust repellant, sure, but not cedar storage trees that leave your feet smelling like a freshly cleaned gerbil cage. Still, I was told this by my inner circle, which consists of the people I trust implicitly to make important life decisions for me. “You read Robb Report and you don’t have cufflinks or shoe trees?!” they asked indignantly, indicating that I was an embarrassing failure, “How is that even possible?!”
*Robb Report, for those of you who may not be familiar with it, is a magazine for the obscenely rich. And we’re not talking Superbowl Quarterback or ‘Facebook inventor’ rich here– oh no – we’re talking ‘Middle Eastern Sheik-with-golden-toilets-and-a-discotheque-in-his-airplane’ rich. I read it for the pictures, and because I believe it’s important to have goals – even if achievement of those goals hinges on winning several lotteries, buying a gold mine, and striking oil at the bottom. *
My companions then indicated their extreme disappointment by tossing their hands in the air in wine-soaked disbelief; one of them even removed the napkin from his lap in order to toss it incredulously on the table. Thankfully he was able to replace it himself before our overly attentive wait staff scurried to the table to do it for him.
Now I have never been what you would call a “snappy dresser.” My basic feeling on fashion trends is that they look stupid until they’re on their way out, at which point I finally go all in and adapt. I am, in fact, still holding onto several articles of clothing from high school in hopes that they’ll be back in style soon. You mock me now, but who’s going to have the last laugh when stone-washed Tommy’s are once again en vogue, huh? THIS GUY, that’s who! Most of the time this attitude is fine, but as you can imagine, this was entirely unacceptable on a Day of Decadence, so I started looking into it, and was severely disheartened at the prices of even the most reasonable of items I chose! For instance, these basic diamond encrusted cufflinks go for nearly $30,000!
I blame the DeBeers cartel. Tie bars, on the other hand, are relatively cheap – I found this passable diamond dust example for just under $300. But while that’s two orders of magnitude cheaper than the cufflinks, it still seems a bit excessive, and we haven’t even GOTTEN to the shoe trees yet! So it turns out I’m going to be forced to go without these basic necessities for a while longer, which means the mockery will no doubt continue. I’m actually thinking of starting a kickstarter campaign to help raise money for my plight – if you were ever against bullying I suggest you contribute, or be exposed as a giant hypocrite – do you think Sally Struthers is still available?