Skip to main content

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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

5 "Thrift Store Find" DIY Craft Projects They Keep Showing, for Things You Haven't Been Able to Find at Thriftstores Since 1987.

Me love Pinterest.
I know it's all a big, fantastic lie, but like every other pretty magazine catering to our fantasies before it, it makes us feel like we can achieve the same, heavily worked-over, fantastically styled, filtered, and photo-shopped perfection in our own lives. And sometimes that's enough.

But as a professional builder of ridiculous, up-cycled things, and a veteran thrifter (I can show you the scars!), some of these Pinterest DIY are just a parade of despair, false promises and dashed hopes. There's no call for that.


1. Vintage Suitcase Crafts:

Not only is this type of vintage suitcase VERY rare at your garden variety thrift store, follow this link to see how much rather highly involved work went into it.


2. Stuff made with old "thrift store" silverware.


Here's what you'd hope to find:












Here's what you're most likely to find: Oh, this stainless steel crap will bend alright--most of it already has the scars of the church community cen…

Change Your Tone!!

I know I have a "unique voice."
But I can count on one hand how many people I know who can stand listening to their own voice. (That is not saying there aren't those guys who seem to love talking just to hear the sound of their own voice; but if you literally played it back to them--they'd cringe and crawl under the sofa.)
When I was in the 3rd grade, I was chosen to be in some experimental speech/voice therapy at our school. They tried for many weeks to raise the pitch of my voice by having me go up and down the do-re-mi scales until I hit one that they thought sounded pleasing. I had a deep, true contralto voice somewhere a few notes below "do." With the sort of rasping, old-chain-smoker undertones of a freckled Billie Holiday. The experimenters settled on "fa." For 20 minutes three times a week, I got to leave Ms. Foster's third grade classroom and go to the convent living room where I would sing "do-re-mi-fa" and say and sing eve…

The Lost Designer of the 80's

Claude Barthelemy seems to have been one of those if-you-needed-to-ask-you-didn't-need-to-know designers. In the '80's, he was listed as a young, hot couturier alongside go-the-distance blue chips like Karl Lagerfeld and Lanvin with his oversized sweaters, minis, leggings and fur-trimmed stoles. Exclusive stores carried his soft-edged jackets to shoppers in the know.

And then what happened? His pleated skirts, intarsia sweaters, and naughty, zippered wool catsuits still fetch high prices in vintage world and any dealer with his elegantly simple, Gallic tag on her racks raises a flutter in second-hand seekers. He designed for Barbie, for heaven's sake! But the designer himself, who seems to have cut a meteoric swath across the runways and then...?

So what's the story with this wasp-waisted pleated skirt? I wondered what else this woman could have dropped off on her Goodwill drive-by--a Chanel original? A couture Pucci? Surely someone this linked in wouldn't just h…