Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Guess I'm A Button Down Kinda Guy"...

My momma taught me how to sew, so....
Ya know, there was a time when you could not find me in anything but a white tee shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylor Converse's. The Sixties came along and I can pretty much say that I made a fashion change, but only when I went out on a date.

Going to art school, I was pretty much back to the same teenage outfit always with the shirt tucked in. Only difference was the tee shirt, jeans and Converse's were usually covered in paint of one medium or another.

When I started making a living as an artist, the Perlis Shirt Company started a tongue in cheek response to the "uppity logo" of Ralph Lauren's polo player shirt by adding to their shirt a crawfish where the little polo player is located. I recall at one time Perlis advertised a polo shirt sporting an upside down roach.

Hilarious... I should have bought one. But, wearing the crawfish polo shirt to work or to deliver my presentation art to clients, I became known as the "Cajun Artist" though I'm not Cajun. It became a part of my"branding."

More than once, whether at home in South Pasadena or visiting back home in New Orleans, I was described as a "button down" type of guy. It was a moniker of sorts that I have always resented, quietly!

I knew the label was more about my personality than about the shirts that I wore. One friend knew me as the "Art Nazi" because I enjoyed aviation art. But eventually, when I began to wear glasses, I had to opt for shirts that had a chest pocket.

I got used to wearing shirts with collars.
I got used to wearing shirts that didn't require plastic inserts to prop up the collars.
I got used to wearing button down shirts in spite of my sensitivity to comments about my conservatism.

I'm a big boy now, I thought, and could give a care what people say or said.

The problem is that when one button pops off, which happens all too often, I have to sew on a replacement button, otherwise, you walk around with one side buttoned and the other loose like a "freak flag flying!" One side of your neck is conservative and buttoned down while the other side is liberally flying in the breeze. One side is red while the other is blue... if you know what I mean.

From my peripheral, I feel like I've been torpedoed and listing to one side. I feel off balance with things just not seeming right. Quite a distraction... all day long.

Safety pins, paper clips or staples only work temporarily and look cheap!

It's just one of those aggravating things to actually lose the button. If you do have a button jar like your mom used to have, you cannot find the right size button for the loop on your collar. I actually own dress shirts that provide you with extra buttons including that collar button. It is as if they know that eventually you will need to replace the button. It is like a pre-programmed defect... planned obsolescence!

It is like they know that it is time to thread a needle... or by another "button-down shirt"!

Copyright 2018/ Ben Bensen III









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