This is a rare occasion. I was going to write this week’s article on nudity or strippers or the annoying people in one of my numerous sections and figure out some way to construe these subjects so as to relate to fashion (runners-up included: “Why We Need More Flex Dollars: A Manifesto” and “The Jonathan Edwards Dining Hall: Taste the Hate”). This week, however, we actually have a real fashion crisis at hand that must be addressed immediately.
All week, friends and acquaintances have been approaching me asking the same question: “What’s the deal with those ugly scarves everyone’s wearing? They’re, like, you know [I’m friends with a herd of valley girls apparently], yellow with colored stripes and well, they’re really ugly.”
Here’s the simple, literal response I give them: The scarves are from Burberry’s, and have become recently popular because of the revival the fashion house is having thanks to the work of its new designer, Roberto Menichetti (see, readers, I have real fashion knowledge!). Menichetti has maintained Burberry’s classic style while adding a touch of irony, introducing the famous yellow plaid to bathing suits, pup tents and sanitary napkins.
Adding more salt to the wound, Scottish Chic is really big right now, from Charlotte’s kilted groom in “Sex and the City” (the stunning ex-Agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks fame, Kyle MacLachlan) to Guy Ritchie’s floor-length kilt in the Hunting MacIntosh tartan at his wedding to Madonna (see, each Scottish clan has a different plaid. I happen to share a “flat” — not a suite, that’s so passe — with a member of the MacMillan clan, which has its own plaid).
“But men in skirts?” my dear listeners often say. Yes, men in skirts. And no underwear under those skirts if you’re really as hard core as you purport to be when you put on that raunchy plaid. But most of the men I see walking around in these ugly scarves are not only probably wearing underwear. And it would be wrong if I let any more time pass before mentioning this: Boys, if you’re wearing “tighty whities,” girls will not have sex with you. Ever. Instead, they are wearing the Burberry plaid without any regard for the canon of meaning wrapped around those scrawny necks.
As I sat in “Romantic Poetry” with Professor Fry yesterday, contemplating how the lanterns hanging in LC 102 look like tassels hanging off a showgirl’s areolae, Fry mentioned that in some South Asian religions, the sound of bagpipes comes at a time of privileged, enlightened experience. Suddenly, the blaring of bagpipes brought me out of my reverie, and I came to the realization that we may be entering a new age in which Scotch tape and Scotch whisky (single malt, aged beyond 12 years, of course) rule the world. On this note, I present a plaid dichotomy. It’s dumb to wear an expensive scarf because it’s been made trendy by forces completely out of your realm of knowledge and understanding. It’s enlightened, however, to marry Madonna in a sweeping gown and make a hip film named after female genitalia.
Let’s all embrace the Scottish style. I for one am a big supporter. This summer I ventured from London to Edinburgh for a weekend to catch the British Open on the St. Andrews golf course, get my belly button pierced, and have long, intense conversations with people speaking completely incomprehensibly. I even heard this joke:
A kilted Scotsman was walking down a country path after finishing off a considerable amount of whisky at a local pub. As he staggered down the road, he felt quite sleepy and decided to take a nap, with his back against a tree. As he slept, two young lasses walked down the road and heard the Scotsman snoring loudly. They saw him, and one said, “I’ve always wondered what a Scotsman wears under his kilt.”
She boldly walked over to the sleeping man, raised his kilt, and saw “what nature had provided him at his birth” [the person who told this joke to me actually used this phrase].
Her friend said, “Well, he has solved a great mystery for us, now! He must be rewarded!” So, she took a blue ribbon from her hair and gently tied it around “what nature had provided” the Scotsman, and the two walked away.
Some time later, the Scotsman was awakened by the call of nature and walked around to the other side of the tree to relieve himself. He raised his kilt and saw where the blue ribbon was tied. After several moments of bewilderment, the Scotsman said …
“I donna know where y’been lad … but it’s nice ta’know y’won first prize!”
The Scots are, obviously, charming and endearing people. Traveling through the land, I saw men in plaid playing golf, heard bagpipes shouting and witnessed lots of heavy drinking.
But I did not once, dear imposters plaguing campus, see one person wearing an ugly yellow scarf.