Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't accessorize

Accessories are important. We all like to accessorize with jewelry, things in our hair, things around our neck, groovy belt buckles and shoes. I have no problem with accessories because they keep millions of people employed in China and provide minimum-wage jobs at Claire’s stores across North America. Pre-teen girls seem to be the biggest consumers, snatching up scrunchies and bobbles and charms that say Justin Timberlake and Zac Ephron. Plenty of teenagers and, come to think of it grown women, also seem to trash out their bodies with the accessory treats sold at Claire’s, and Dollar Tree, Target, and bankrupt (and closing) Mervyn’s.

Guys are not exempt. Just walk into H&M and see the racks of chokers and necklaces and beaded leather and metal bracelets that make you look unique even though everyone else is wearing these things to maintain their own style. I have owned copper bracelets, studs for my pierced ear which has long since grown shut, and I used to regularly wear a leather and silver necklace thing I bought in Puerto Escondido (what do you call them when they’re made for a guy?), but am currently unadorned (until this coming Friday, but that’s a different story).
What’s the purpose of international travel if not to buy accessories?

I’m not Tim Gunn, but I personally think jewelry should be limited to bracelets, necklaces, pins, earrings and watches. I’m not a fan of septum rings, though I sort of liked eyebrow rings when those were in vogue, but fortunately they are now passé. I used to see people with pierced foreheads and necks, but I’m really happy that I don’t see many of those people anymore.

Nipple rings are sort of gross to me, even though I have some friends who have them. Pierced navels and pierced anything lower than a navel is out of the question for me, but if they give people sexual fulfillment, that’s fine because I don’t usually have to see whatever’s pierced down there.

Although I say jewelry is a fine accessory, I really detest certain ear implements. Many years ago, when I was in Malaysia, I took my friend Robin’s advice and went to a museum about people who do unnatural things to their bodies. It was exhibit after exhibit of bound feet, elongated necks, penises sliced in half, and lips with giant plates stretching them forward like a clam. One exhibit made not much of an impression on me: the stretched ear lobes that dangle down to one’s shoulders. Why? Because I see those in San Francisco. I’m told you start with a small earring tube and then keep replacing it with larger ones until someday you can stick your fist through your earlobe. Very unattractive in my opinion.

But the reason I’m writing today is actually not to complain about shoelaces or rings or anything I just derided. My main peeve is a relatively new accessory. It’s called a trashy-ass Bluetooth headset. What’s the deal? I own one. I wore it twice and then decided I didn’t like it, I didn’t want a brain tumor. I am now an old-fashioned mobile phone user with a cord leading to my ear, but wear the contraption only when I really need to use a headset.

Unfortunately, an awful lot of people seem to think of these Bluetooth things as an accessory. You know who I’m talking about. It’s the old geezer having dinner with his family at the Chinese restaurant who keeps his Bluetooth headset on throughout the meal (and now, I’m not being insensitive… it is not a hearing aid. It is a telephone). It’s the woman wearing the red skirt suit walking through the airport with her children, but she’s not talking on the phone. It’s the temp employee my colleague hired in Los Angeles who kept it on the whole time she was on the job even though she was doing face-to-face surveys and was not supposed to be talking to the phone.

These things are meant for wearing in the car. Period. People who are talking on the phone in public using them look silly, but I’ll cut them a teeny bit of slack because at least they are using them as they are supposed to be used and not as a decorative object. I think these people – the old geezer, the red suit woman and the tacky LA surveyor -- wear them because they actually think they look good. It makes them look modern and high-tech. It makes them look like they are successful, because they can afford to buy this piece of modern technology (which currently retails for about $30 or even less if you check out the Chinese crap on DealExtreme.com). But instead, the people sporting their Bluetooth headsets look like total morons and will get brain tumors.

The moral of the story: Wear your wedding ring and your earring, but keep the phone ring to your phone when in public.

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