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The Wrist and the Watch

Used to be the coolest possible man's accessory
So, what is going on with the wristwatch? I know more and more people are relying on cellular technology to automatically synchronize their mobile phones to Greenwich Mean Time, which is all very well. It might be likened to a return to previous centuries' pocket watch--without the elegant watch chain. Or the little charming tics of winding it when you're nervous, or swinging the watch chain around one finger while waiting on a date. Or the possibility of bequeathing it to one's heirs. ("Gee, dad, did your dad leave you his old cell phone?" "That's right, son, a real iPhone GS3. I dropped this phone in the toilet when I was just six years old--and some day, this dead piece of corrupted, corroded electronics in a bag of rice will be yours. With my grand-dad's old vacuum tube television with the tinfoil on the rabbit ears.")
I personally can't wear a wristwatch. Maybe it's some sort of electromagnetic disturbance in my forcefield, or I have a quartz in my colon, or maybe my chakras are all out of whack, but I can literally stop a clock. I like wristwatches. I wear them. But in a day or so, they don't work. Which is maybe why I'm always worried I'm going to be late.
The Status Symbol's New Place?
Wristwatches are still being made, though. People seem to be buying wristwatches--the expensive ones still have cache, anyway. It just seems there's a trend where no one's actually wearing them on the wrist.                                

I saw this ad with Anna Sharapova and I thought, "Hey, she looks pretty badass."--like she's using it as like brass knuckles or something. She'll put it back on her wrist after she clocks that guy in the mouth.
True--this guy can't be looking at his watch at work.

    But then, they started, you know, building on it.  Pretty soon, all these people with expensive watches aren't actually wearing them.
They're with them, sure, but they aren't shackled by them, they're not wearing them like a bourgeois pair of handcuffs! These are prestige timepieces, fella! The important thing is to own one, I suppose, not to actually have to wear one. Being on time? Pah.

Big hands...Big Watch

    Once upon a time, it used to be a bit of a status symbol to not just have the watch, but to have the watch tan--the little white bracelet where your Longines was--that showed you could be out in the middle of the day playing tennis or golf--not at home smoking and trying to sort through bills and account payables and deciding on whether to not pay the power, the phone or the gas bill that month.
     My mother would run into her country club friends in the grocery store. They'd be dressed in their tennis dresses--but it wasn't just the spiffy white pleated skirts that was the key to showing you were a lady of leisure--the key was the tan. Anyone could put on a pair of little bloomers under a polyester pique number and footie socks with the little balls on the back that matched your earrings and go out to the grocery store, hoping to be seen near the meats section--but you had to put in actual time to get that perfect little white strip on your wrist.
      "I'd just love to stay and chat with you, but I'm so late!" Barb Strinkwahler would say, placing a plank of prime sirloin in her cart with her cottage cheese and celery. "I told Lou I'd make something on the Weber. And, oh, my gosh--" She checks her wrist, before realizing there's no watch there, just that bright, white stencil on her freckly, leathery arm. "And now, I left my watch in my locker at the club," she says, looking embarrassed for some reason.
     My mother wasn't fooled. "She just wants everyone to see that she was playing tennis," she said, pitching a pound of hamburger in our cart with her carton of Pall Malls and the 2-for-1 packages of Buddig corned beef. "Why didn't she take her watch off when she was all sweaty while she was playing tennis? Now that she's running late, she takes her watch off, but not her tennis dress?"
     It was odd, but it didn't stop me from wanting it: the weird, liver-y dark tan, the sleeveless white polyester dresses with the skinny arms, the dinner of steak on a Weber--whatever the hell a Weber was.

    But of course, now we know that all that sun is bad, that because cow farts are causing global warming and that those who eat red meat are liable for the nine month golf season, and that no one wears white on the tennis court anymore, I'm lost. I don't know what to covet. It's hard to type with this big watch on my hand.


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