Recently a reader known as Dr. Bathybius left a comment on Michael Mattis’ post “Life’s Not Fair.” The comment was a piquant one, and as the post was no longer the lead, we feared the comment would go unseen, and that all hell would not break loose. So we contacted the poster, expressed our interest in running his comment as its own post, and requested a photograph of himself in his finery. In exchange, we gave our dandy word of honor (admittedly not worth much) that we would not editorialize at his expense, such as by wondering aloud, for example, whether he is one of the founders of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The doc agreed, in exchange that we fix his embarrassing typos.
And so we present a mini-essay from a genuine retro-eccentric (and LiveJournal blogger), pictured at left in an exclusive photo for D.net.
It seems there is a war between the GQ-Dandies and the Bohemians/Décadents of which I was previously unaware! Well then, “…into the breach! …every man-jack of you!” I had thought that refinement of experience (sartorial or otherwise) was the order of the day (callow youth that I was). But, alas, after taking the ‘How Dandy are you’ quiz, I realize that I am already pre-reviled by your elite fashion cadre as an eccentric, an oddity and perhaps even (dare I say it?) a clown! This is most especially distressing in that Mr.Mattis belongs to the same confraternity in SF that we (Mr. Seeley and myself) do. Has he forgotten his scandalous San Franciscan roots? The name of this organization he well knows, but I’ll not mention it here (to protect all relevant parties).
Like all divergent species, we each have a common set of ancestors, whether Brummell, Baudelaire or Barbey d’Aurevilly. Let us find some solace or unity in that. If not, let the martial horns blare, and I shall gird my loins for doing battle with misguided and effete miscreants arguing over the number of tassels that the ideal ox-blood tinted loafer should be festooned with (2 tassels too staid? 3 tassels completely outré?). Let the tyranny that the sack suit has exerted over the 20th century be laid waste, and a more enlightened time dawn where the male homo sapiens has yet more radiant plumage than his crypto-gynocratic mate. After all, I would rather be a comical lion fighting on my feet, than a pallid, navel-gazing fashion-lemur like Tom Wolfe, in his Antebellum, white-washed, pseudo-“Slave-Owner” togs, carefully cogitating the rarefied alchemy that is the “two-olive martini,” all the while genuflecting at the altar of tepidness.
“Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur!”
Gentlemen, I remain your assiduous nemesis ever,
P.S. Young Mr.Seeley is an actual friend of mine. Please consider him my second at the duel.
When Bathybius submitted his photo, he offered the following:
The suit (if you’re curious, or a fact-collector) is bespoke as tailored by Favourbrook of Jermyn Street, (Saville Row/Picadilly), London:
Again, my reason for commenting in the first place is to bemoan the fact that Dandyism seems to become a more and more restricted definition with time. Where is the splendor of current male sartorial fashion? Whenever I see yet another stereotypical navy blue blazer with brass buttons, I muse, “Where are the explorers? Where are the new frontiers? Can one re-purpose the fashions of the past (with modifications/updates) to create new taste-pleasing forms? More highly refined aesthetics?” Admittedly, I freely embrace the Décadent/Symbolist, Belle Époch/Mal du Siècle aesthetic, which would not be everyone’s choice, but I am speaking more of method than of matter.
As a guide to this line of inquiry, I would point to the following publication, which is at least a sign-post of what I am aspiring to (whether I am successful at it or not, one has one’s ideal and one must do what one is capable of doing in realizing said ideal):
Well enough of my prattling…
My warmest felicitations to you and Dandyism.net.