While hygiene remains a must for me, total isolation prompts no valid rationale for my wearing clothes. No fan of fashion, I’ve been pretending I’m a nudist.
At ease, at ease. While you’re struggling desperately to unsee whatever image that conjures up, I’ll further confess that I’m not a “purist” nudist — I’ve also been pretending to don a necktie each day.
Hilarity and unoriginality aside, it hugely grieves me to admit that I’ve become interested in the subject of neck accessories — not only to enhance my appearance, but to flaunt as a crafty camouflage.
This pandemic has triggered what some call “a glorified house arrest.” Bored with twiddling my thumbs, I started poring over pictures in photo albums, truly scrutinizing many images that I used to merely glance at. As I’ve delved deeper, some of the the photos have dazzled me.
I ran across pictures of my fraternal grandfather, a city slicker and all-around snappy dresser if there ever was one. What struck me as unique is that, in most snapshots, he’s sporting an accessory around his neck known as an ascot.
I’ve been told that Grandpa also wore spats to decorate the tops of his shoes, a girdle to seem svelte and clear nail polish to accentuate his manicured fingers.
Pretentious, I’m sure, effeminate perhaps, but socially acceptable to the utmost degree during that era. My grandmother proudly accompanied her “fashion plate of a man” everywhere.
When it’s safe to mingle in public again, can you imagine what people would say about me if I adopted Grandpa’s intriguing fashion statement? Egad, people whisper about me and snicker as it is.
Therefore, I readily rejected the idea of spats, girdles and manicured nails. Let’s face it, I’m far too macho to pull that off. but I’m far too vain to pass up an excuse to wear ascots. The facade improves my personal appearance tenfold.
In fact, I think Grandpa’s ascot fetish of a century ago may have changed my life. I’ve become utterly obsessed with ascots. Some people call them neckerchiefs or bandanas. No matter. They function as a glorious way to cover up one’s turkey neck. I haven’t seen my neck for six weeks.
I’ve even inspired my zoom poker buddies to partake in my newly found ascot fad. Are they admiring me, humoring me or mocking me? Who the hell can tell? Zoom displays only their poker faces and their ascots.
I don’t know about them, but wearing an ascot has motivated me to dress up, even though there’s no place to go.
I’ve even stopped pretending I’m naked. You may praise me now.
As for those photo books, I’ve noticed that my grandmother wore a lot of turkey-neck covers herself. Many pictures in my albums even show Grandma and Grandpa in matching neck accessories.
I’ve been told that Grandma painstakingly hand-crafted that generous array of matching scarfs and ascots.
Yup. my grandparents were “wrap” stars long before Dr. Deborah Birx, the Covid-19 consultant, blazed the trail of a new craze by wearing various scarves to most briefings.
Unlike Grandpa, I’ll be the only one in my family with a bedecked neck. My bitter half, nicknamed Hard Hearted Hannah Banana, no seamstress at heart like Grandma, sweetly informed me that we would not be “parading around town dressed like ancient twins in matching neckwear.”
Evidently, she prefers to wear thick, expensive choker necklaces to distract people from noticing her own turkey neck. Note to self: strike this paragraph.
Initially, my ascot compulsion fostered no support from anyone else in the family. Even our 16-year-old grandson got the giggles the first time he caught sight of my ascot.
“Yo Dude, I mean hi Gramps, what makes you wear that ridiculous handkerchief around your neck?” he asked.
“Yo Dude, I mean hi Brat, what makes you wear that ridiculous tattoo around your neck?” I fired back in fun.
Turned out Hannah Banana’s not so hard-hearted as humor would have it. For my birthday, she threw an “ascot shower” for me. Friends and relatives mailed 14 varieties of turkey-neck covers.
I’ve coined a new word — necker — those who cunningly cover their turkey necks. Now I’m pretending I’m a trendsetter for the new necker bedeckers.
I see all this simply as a fashion statement. Just like wearing black or loose garments says “I know I’m fat but at least I’m trying to cover it up,” wearing an ascot says “Would you rather I just gobble, gobble, gurgle?”
— Steve Eskew
Thank God liberal arts courses are so easy. Even retired businessman Steve Eskew received a pair of master’s degrees in both dramatic arts and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after he turned 50. When asked to take over a professor’s theater column at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Steve began a career as a quasi-journalist. Narrowly by the luck of the Irish, this led to numerous publications including theater and book reviews, profiles and Steve’s favorite genre, humor writing. Check out his new humor blog, ESKEWPADES.