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the chatoyant charm of baubles and bangles

As I was trying to loop over my chipped cuff buttons this morning, lamenting how the cleaning chemicals the cleaners use readily rot them, I noticed a missewn eyelet adjacent to the outer button. I thought, “No wonder these shirts were such a bargain, they were probably purchased as irregulars by the store.” But then, upon further inspection, for that theory did not fully satisfy my curiosity, I discovered another eyelet on the other half of the same cuff. I then checked the other sleeve—same exact thing.

I then realized that these were made to be both button and French cuffed shirts. Wow. The latter is my preferred style, but I was elated simply to find fitted shirts like these, which are not only trim at the waist but also a neck size not normally available on these shores—a neck size that fits me like no other neck size has ever fit me before.

To celebrate my great discovery, at lunchtime I took a tour of the thrift shops in the neighborhood to look for some vintage cuff links. Alas, Salvation Army, Goodwill, The City Opera Thrift Shop, A Repeat Performance, and The Vintage Thrift Shop all did not offer any under their glass counters. I stopped by the Paparazzi gift shop as well, but they sold all but two pair—one with a pair of golf clubs on it and the other with the scales of justice. Since I am neither a hacker or a crook, I forewent both.

However, at the counter the iridescent glistening of a basket of mood rings caught my eye. I slid one on and instantly fell in love, for it fit perfectly and instantaneously changed from aqua-green into a beautiful deep-sea blue. The chart read “very happy, relaxed at ease, serene, loveable.” And albeit I rarely wear jewelry, I was suddenly compelled to make this small purchase. I figured a few dollars were worth the inner glimmer of momentary enchantment. My only hesitation was that it somehow felt quite “gay.”

But I bought it anyway, and immediately put it on. If anything, I wanted to challenge myself and any underlying homophobic notions I might be harboring.

As I walked it began to change colors rapidly, from midnight blue to dark violet to aquamarine and then back to dark-dark blue again. Just watching it revolve made me dizzy, and admittedly, it felt more and more gay and made me less and less happy by the moment.

After traversing all but two blocks—the magic was gone. I just couldn’t see myself vaunting the rainbow ring. I guess 36 years of machismo had ingrained a perverted sense of masculinity, a gainsay to my virility which was just too much for me to gasconade.

So I tucked it away safely into my vest pocket, believing that I might put it to use in some other way, someday again—perhaps as a party piquer, a charm to bewitch a child with, or just a funky amulet to engender a smile from someone who desperately needs one.




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