Spouse and I were invited to a dinner party this weekend by an old friend. This particular friend is decidedly the most colorful of my old friends. Allow me to 'splain...
Back in the day when we were young and dinosaurs still roamed the earth, he was on the cusp of the first of many careers he would take on in his action-man life. We met and spent many an evening riding motorcycles, and at least once that I recall, we evaded police on said motorcycle. His first career after we lost touch was racing bikes for money. Evidently, this is how you start your career in racing: you get chased by the cops.
Not long after, I understand he was also a cowboy (a career ended by a mishap with a bull) and a writer (and still a pretty decent one). He now plays bass in a local punk band and makes interesting movies.
My old friend, way back when, was also the captain of the local university rugby team. And this is how my friend and my spouse come to know each other, since spouse is deeply involved in local rugby (captaining, coaching, generally yelling at people). It wasn't long before old friend and old spouse eventually made their acquaintance.
Like most rugby players, they seemed to hit it off within a couple beers of meeting. The two of them are from opposite hemispheres of the world and they seem to understand each other—much like spouse and I do. They are, in many ways, uncannily similar people.
Mid-Saturday I got an invitation to a dinnery type event from my old friend. Being one who is always up for new stuff, I said sure, WTF, why not—haven't seen his sorry ass in too many weeks; it's about time we said hello. So we left the kids at home with a bottle of beer and some crackers, as good parents do.
Having not seen my friend's new house we got the grand tour: the wife, the baby room, the grownup room, the man cave, the kitchen, etc. We eat food. Much wine is consumed, partying ensues.
I discover at some point that my husband has disappeared, and I go trotting off looking for him. I find the two of them in the baby room, thick as thieves, trying on a collection of vintage ugly cowboy suits.
Yes, I said Cowboy Suits. Because this sort of costume is de rigeur when you're the bass player in a punk band. These are no ordinary ugly suits, these are pants and coats of the same teflon impregnated polyester material, dyed in garish hues of greenish turd and brownish poo.
What is it about the ugly that these two of my favourite men share a love of it? I'm still not sure. But they were mutually overjoyed at the sight of these hideous fashion crimes. My friend has shown a real talent for finding these things. He'd been traveling right to the heart of where one should find old ugly cowboy suits: thrift shops in my old home town in the arse-end of nowhere, New Mexico. This is where old suits go to die.
I should mention that spouse and friend are getting on like a house on fire, trying on these suits.
Weirdness of weirdnesses, the collection fit spouse shockingly well.
Who knows how cheap he picked them up for, but when they were made, they were clearly top-of-the-line items, with the owner's name stitched on a tag in the pocket:
"This item carefully tailored for Bubba"
Now, some of these specimens were fine, fine items back in the day—with careful western-style details, like double points on the back, some with arrowheads, points and peaks on the pocket flaps. Despite the ghastly colors and material, these suits included marvelous exposed stitching, leather-covered buttons, and sharp well-tailored details. These were good suits that have withstood the test of time. They may not have not held up to fashion standards, but they will likely be in good nick for another 50 years, with proper care.
I said, I know the guy who wears these suits. He's about this tall, and has a pot belly that extends about this far past the pants. And he calls you "darlin'."
And he opens doors for you.
And he has really really nice, expensive, exotic skin boots, and a hat that cost more than your pickup truck.
This triggered my friend to disappear and come back with a stack of well-made cowboy hats, which was followed by more show-and-tell. My spouse is of foreign extraction, so perhaps it was the cultural gap that prompted it. My friend gave spouse careful pointers on hat etiquette. Such as, you never ever pick up a hat by anything other than the crown.
And it is acceptable to wear one's hat to any occasion, indoors or out, be it funeral or wedding.
And one must never, ever touch another man's hat. He claims people in Texas have been acquitted of murder charges because the assailant had touched the killer's hat.
And what the shape and curve of a hat means . . .
And he would know, my friend. He's seen quite a lot of life in his not-so-old years.
So what does it all mean, my rock-star friend, my spouse, and their shared love of hideous couture? I'm not sure, but I know you could probably catch my friend sporting them at local gigs, despite my warning that these were decidedly not in his color palette. I gather this is part of the deal: the uglier the color, the more conflicted the viewer's eye. This makes the nastier colored suits a far better aesthetic choice than something potentially attractive. Apparently ugly is the new Edgy.
I suspect that before long one of these treasures may find its way into my home for some seemingly legitimate event, whereupon I shall take it immediately to a dry cleaner.
It may be ugly, but by God, I will make sure it's clean.