“Er, what is that?”
I was standing in the kitchen spooning mascarpone into a lasagna for supper. The Writer, having just got in from work, was leaning on the half-height wall overlooking the hob, watching me cook.
“Um, nothing.” He stood up quickly and put his hands behind his back.
“No, really. What is that?” I put the spoon onto the worktop and walked towards him.
“Nothing! I don’t know what you mean.” There was a small skirmish and the employment of a few dirty tactics (I resorted to tickling) before I could grab and study TW’s arm.
I’ve discussed before where I stand on the topic of jewellery on men. So to see TW’s wrist graced with a daringly green monstrosity was something of a surprise.
“It’s a BRACELET! Oh gods above…”
“Well. Yes. Yes it is.” He snatched his arm away. “But we were given them. And anyway, it’s limited edition.”
“I don’t care. Clearly not limited enough.”
“Well I like it. And my new colleague says I shouldn’t let you dictate what I wear.”
“You do. You don’t like my bracelet, and you won’t let me wear my new salmon jumper either.”
Let’s be clear for a moment: it’s not that I won’t let TW wear his new salmon jumper. It’s that his new jumper is less ‘salmon’ and more ‘sort of neon coral-but I don’t know precisely because if you look directly at it your retinas burn-orangeish’ and I fear for the eyesight of those in the capital. And there’s also the salient fact that…
“You said you didn’t LIKE the jumper!”
“And you don’t like my new cargo trousers.”
“Well, that’s true – I don’t like those.”
“Colleague says I’m the sartorial equivalent of this.” He made an Indiana-Jonesesque whipping motion.
“Your colleague is wrong. You are the least whipped man on the planet. But that bracelet is still horrible. It looks like one of those things you’d use to tie a roof rack onto a car with.”
“It is. It’s made of bungee cord.”
I shouldn’t be too surprised, really. Despite my many and vociferous grumblings on the subject, men in the media seem to be alarmingly susceptible to a trend, especially if it’s been covered widely in the US press (religions have their holy texts; so do journalists, ie anything beginning with “New York”: New York Times, New York Magazine, New Yorker…).
And so, one or two trend pieces about how “mangles” – no, I know, I know – are in, and suddenly there’s a glut of, er, trendy chaps around sporting their new and fashionable purchases. And with several pieces earlier this year about “wristwear” (I say if you’re going to wear it, man up and call it jewellery; don’t hide behind a euphemism that doesn’t threaten your masculinity), it was only a matter of time.
I suppose I should be grateful: man-bracelets are, in the grand scheme of things, comparatively discreet. But the second the NYT runs anything on diamond earrings, deerstalkers or wearing your pants outside your trousers, that whipping might be put to the test.