Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shopping While Male (sort of)

Granted, the holiday week between Christmas and New Years is notoriously slow, news-wise. It explains the plethora of zero-calorie articles now choking "the internets." (Slate: "What Will Beyoncé’s Birthing Experience Be Like?") Not to be outdone, the New York Times heaved one of its own notorious "trend" stories into the thin digital gruel. It asked rhetorically: Do Men Shop Like Women? Answer: "Women shop, men stockpile." No kidding. And Mars, like Venus, still orbits the sun, too. For most men, shopping is a chore not a social activity. Anyway, the Times inquired into les habitudes d'achat of a dozen or so Famous Men to support this obvious thesis. Topping the list (inevitably) is Graydon Carter, editor in chief of Vanity Fair (pictured above). The only thing bigger than Graydon's shock of trademark hair is his trademark ego. He regaled the Times with this bit of peacocking:
"A dozen or so years ago, I came across a Paul Smith knit shirt that just sort of hit with me. It was dark blue with long sleeves, and it had a slightly old-fashioned rolled collar. The three buttons in front were small, light blue enameled half-globes with penguins in them. I thought it might be the sort of shirt I could wear for years and went back to the shop on lower Fifth to get a few more, but they had nothing in my size. I have a passing acquaintance with Paul, so I wrote him asking if they could make up a few more like the one I bought and send me the bill. Which in time, they did. I still have the shirts. And I still wear them. And damned if I don’t wish I’d bought even more."
Oh brother. I just loved the line: "I have a passing acquaintance with Paul ..." For those condemned to toil as one of the unwashed "little people," as ex-BP chief Tony Hayward once put it, Paul is Sir Paul Smith, a menswear icon in haute couture circles. I don't know what's in your closet, but none of the buttons on my knit shirts have "penguins" in them. But it must nice to pen a letter to the knighted head chap, order few more "like the one I bought," and have the knits and the bill sent to me at his leisure. Wow. Talk about a three-alarm Poseur Alert.

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