Friday, September 18, 2009

"Never Really Understood a Man's Jewelry"

When I was a young man (5th, 6th grade) I was deeply into jewelry. I'm not talking about a thick rope of braided gold, or glittering diamond rings. I'm talking about shitty pewter rings and pendants where a pewter claw gripped some sort of eye or orb, or orb that was an eye.

I don't recall how I fell into the personal ornamentation trap, or what it was intended to affirm/display/explore. I know that county fairs had a lot to do with feeding the habit; so did the Kmart jewelry counter. We're talking low quality pewter, and worse, here- the kind of rings where the silver flakes off and you're essentially wearing a brittle band of graphite. I think I may have rocked multiple rings, possibly even multiple rings per finger, but that could be me making myself more ridiculous retroactively.

As for the necklaces and pendants, they were usually some matte black, stretchy plastic with a tiny, oh-so-fragile twist of metal masquerading as a clasp. There was usually a flat-backed bird talon, one claw delicately extended like an aristocrat sipping champagne. It was entirely possible that a serious blue orb, placid and inscrutable, might peer forth from within the razor-sharp grip.

I do think I had at least one iridescent crystal pendant. I may be conflating that with the pewter fantasy figurines I possessed, because I know I had at least one minotaur wielding a crystal-topped staff. Even if it was just a hard-plastic eye, though, the impact of that talon resting on a scrawny chest wearing a Bodyglove Man shirt, centered between spindly little legs and a luxurious curly rat tail- I'm sure it was magical. I know the rings were eye-catching, because I remember returning to Casper, where I'd spent most of my elementary years, and popping by my old school to see all the people I used to hang out with. One of them immediately asked me about my girlfriend, presuming that would be the only reason any young man would wear a ring. It was a grim realization for me, and I abandoned all of my bling that night.

Then, approximately ten or so years later, I became extremely emo and took to wearing shoelaces around my wrists.

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