I love fashion but I hate you.

The Things They Carried

After the millions spent on internet ads, catalogs, magazine highlights, paying off bloggers, and promotions in the guise of poker nights, the Male Fashion Industrial Complex can only go so far in selling you useless crap. How many pairs of self-edge Japanese jeans do we need? Why should I care about the upcoming Levis X Opening Ceremony X Adidas X Dora the Explorer flip flop? The secret, then, is to not focus on selling men on pockets (and the pants that come with them) but further to sell them on what to put into said pockets.

Several merchants now tout the importance of carrying little notebooks around with you because, after all, we all have the potential to be the next Bob Dylan/Chaucer/Lil Wayne if only we have a scrap of paper to jot down our soulful lyrics/playful couplets/dope rhymze about the coke game. Spent $500 on your newest wireless device, the one that has a built-in keyboard and voice recognition? Psh, fuck that, analog is the new digital, homie.

But let’s not stop at writing implements, there’s also suggested reading for the truly stylish man. It’s like when you were in 6th grade and had a summer reading list, except now there’s no expectations of actual reading, merely carrying in your book bag.

All of this makes sense to me. When I leave my house with my wallet, keys, phone, bag with lunch, paperwork, and maybe gym clothes, I’m often completely terrified that I’m not carrying enough crap around in my murse. When on that train to work, how will people know that I’m really big into feelings and reading? How can I best show to a complete stranger that I am a man of letters and swirling, unfathomable depth — the brooding Holden Caulfield of our age?

It got me thinking to what other implements, Moleskine notebooks and edgy, formerly-banned books aside, I could carry. Here’s a short list.

Laserdiscs. Laserdisc has a brief but proud time on top. They have the size and old school-ness of vinyls and because they were almost immediately topled by DVDs, they’ve got charm that only completely outdated technology could have. You see a guy with a bunch of Laserdiscs and you know he spent most of his Saturday afternoon either at a Goodwill or on eBay to get them.

Old TV Guides. What with DVRs and and Hulu and DirectTV coming up and becoming the future of television, it’s only a matter of time before TV Guide becomes the hot, ironic, esoteric collectors item, akin with Japanese airsoft magazines and old editions of Playboy. Act coy when people marvel at your retro-ness as you explain that, many years ago, people had to use paper listings to determine what to watch on Lifetime.

Dictionaries. You want to look learned? Nothing says “wordsmith” like carrying around the anvil of any wordsmith, the Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary. Fuck. Yes. Laugh at willowy hipsters as they strut around with their copies of Faust and Chomsky. Whenever someone throws you a long word, you can casually reach into your bag, select one of the five volumes fo the dictionary, and show them what’s up.

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