they say that the only things that distinguish man from the animals are:
a) an opposing thumb. (it helps us grab things, which leads to making tools, and building a civilization, as opposed to just foraging for food and procreating. (aren’t you glad i didn’t say fucking?)
b) our ability to accessorize. (the gorilla is wearing a fur coat, but does she care if she has a matching hat and gloves?) i think not.
does the woman on park avenue care? bet your ass.
down through the millenia, mankind (and especially womankind) have figured out ways to accent their good points, and minimize their lesser ones by use of accessories. a hat, a scarf, a muff, leggings, neckties, brooches, and of course jewelry. and throughout most of my life, i’ve noticed and appreciated their efforts to that end. but lately i’ve observed a few….how shall i put this delicately…..disturbing trends. sit. let’s discuss.
let’s start with ladies’ handbags. i’m not sure when it became fashionable for women to do more than just carry a beautiful bag. growing up, i remember my mother had her usual pocketbook, which she schlepped around all day, and on dress-up occasions she’d pull out her good-beaded-bag for the evening. i loved that thing. it was sequined to death and had little black beads all over it. (i think the drag queen in me was born sometime back then).
over the years, things escalated, and women began to carry bags with designer names on them: gucci, pucci, louis vuitton, dolce and gabbana, and the like. now forgive my ignorance, but if you’re out and about, in a workaday world, carrying your wallet, keys, lipstick, compact, smartphone, tampons, tic-tacs, a change of pantyhose, and some comfortable shoes to wear while seated at your desk at work, why does the bag have to cost a fortune? a good louis will set you back close to $1500. a gucci, likewise. a loewe’s calle, you know, the one victoria beckham carries, is $10,000. no fooling. wtf?
a 10,000 bag that looks like that. hmmmm. i actually have a bag like that, only mine is plastic and says publix on the side. i’m thinking some accessories might just be a little over the top.
men go to work in neckties. some cost a couple of bucks, on sale at jc penney, others from brooks brothers, can cost hundreds. this satya paul (the designer) tie, can set you back $217,000. if that doesn’t scream look at me, then i’m in the vapors.
there is a fortune in diamonds and gold in this beauty. and for what? (he’ll probably dribble black bean soup on it at lunch, in the cafeteria.) in the big picture, it’s just a wide, colorful string around your neck. but i’m thinking the label and the price tag, somehow elevate some men above others. and i’m also thinking that when you carry a grossly expensive bag, or wear an obscenely pricey tie, you’re kind of silently screaming, look at me. i’m special. i’m above the fray.
and quite frankly, i’ll buy into that. after all, there’s nothing wrong with being a little showy, provided of course that it’s not an innate sickness or disease that drives you to murder and then collect scalps to wear as a belt, but rather a need to feel special and noticed, in this wacky world. (after all, don’t we all aspire to getting our needs met?)
that said, let’s get into the world of bizarre accessories. and let’s begin with tattoos.
these days, anybody and everybody has a tattoo (or twelve). we had dinner tonight at our favorite burger joint, and there was a very pretty young girl sitting on the barstool next to me, with a tiny waist and a darlin’ figure and very respectable boobs. she had an all-round great look about her. and across the back of her neck was a tattoo that said far niente. (not mom. not jerry. not i heart jersey city.) that’s it. an italian phrase. (which i happen to know). so i engaged her and asked about it and her response was, it was supposed to say dolce far niente, (life without care), but i didn’t want all of that on the back of my neck. WTF? so she left off the dolce? hmmmm. it kind of looked like this, only less like smallpox than this one does.
doesn’t this just scream, look at me, i’m special?
next up, there was a guy who walked by the window, shirtless, covered in tattoos including his shoulders. but with strategic planning, there were none below his wrist, so he could put on a long-sleeved dress-shirt and be a stock broker by day. (and i’m guessing a biker guy by night? not sure). kind of like these:
and again, walking along with all that ink, to me, screams, look at me!! i’m not your average guy. i’m special. (i’m thinking you’re not really, just mostly colorful, and not in a good way).
moving on to more dangerous territory, we come to the new trend in earrings. not a clip-on, not a piercing, but rather a huge hole poked through the lobe with an object in it to force it open, distend it, make it a little stomach-churning to look at, and definitely disqualify you from coming home to meet grandma. when the plug is in it’s nasty. when you remove it, it’s even worse. take a look:
how do you spell ewwwwwww?
i know, i can’t take much more either. one more, i promise. how about nose accessories? (you’ve all seen little jewels, a la indian women, through a nostril or two, haven’t you?), as if having an excessively bulbous object protruding from the front of your face weren’t enough. if you have a beautiful nose, it would seem you’re good to go. don’t fuck around with it. and if you have a too small, too large, hooked, beaked, crooked, misshapen or broken nose, why, please tell me, why, in the name of everything your mother should have taught you, would you poke holes in it and hang jewelry, in an effort to accessorize it? what are you thinking?
lovely, no? think he dates much? too much time on his hands?
i hear him screaming, look at me, i’m different, i’m special. problem is, i don’t want to look at him
ok, just one question. is this young man’s mother still alive? why didn’t she beat some sense into him? the very idea………wait until he gets ready to apply to harvard. good luck with that. let me now how it works out for you.
in conclusion, i can only say i miss the old days; the joan crawford days, when getting all dolled-up meant a cloche hat, a manicure and some eye-shadow. the rest of it, if you wanted to be noticed, depended on your ability to carry yourself, present yourself, and make people take note. kindof like this: