A Good Hat, a Straight Razor, and a Fountain Pen

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occurs to me, as a guy who prefers sharpening a straight razor over
throwing mountains of cartridges in the trash, wears grown-up hats
instead of ball caps, considers a sport coat a minimum requirement
for dining in a decent restaurant, and often writes with a decades-old
fountain pen instead of buying plastic bags full of disposable pens
(oh, OK, maybe the pen is just an eccentricity), that I’m in imminent
danger of being nabbed and turned into a museum exhibit.

I’m as big
a defender of consumer culture as anybody. I’m a big believer in
choice. People should have options available and be able to select
what suits them.

But my choices
tend to veer sharply from those of the prevailing culture. Where
most folks go for the lowest common denominator under the banner
of comfort and convenience, I like quality, durability and a little

Razors I’ve
written about before. I hone and strop my razor because I resent
buying a "razor" that’s nothing more than a handle that
comes with an obligation to buy expensive cartridges. The vintage
blade I’m using now cost me twenty bucks in a junk shop, which isn’t
much more than the price of a pack of Fusion blades. Yes, I have
to maintain it, but it still gives a close shave after a half-century
or so. Ten years from now, the Gilette Fusion will have been retired
in favor of some vibrating 12-blade monstrosity, and my razor will
still be going strong.

And, hats.
I like hats. In fact, living under the Arizona sun, I need hats.
But if you need protection from the elements, you can opt for something
well-made, that makes you look good, or you can stick a cheap piece
of polyester trash on your head. Actually, a lot of Arizonans feel
as I do and wear felt hats in cooler weather and straw hats in summer.
There’s a tradition here of fine headwear. So there’s really no
excuse for sticking a ball cap on your head as the covering of choice.
Especially since it makes you look like a 12-year-old boy.

the rest of the article

15, 2009

Tuccille [send him mail] is
an Arizona-based writer and political analyst.

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