There is a certain advantage to never throwing anything away. It gives one a certain distance and perspective on life; it makes you a bit of a philosopher. The other day, I came across a receipt for a pair of socks I purchased at Alan Flusser in 1991, for twenty-three dollars.
I was in my twenties, and at the time I thought it was a gigantic, enormous sum to pay for a single pair of socks. But a sock-crazy friend of mine had gotten me hooked on sized hose, and there simply was no turning back. In addition to their obvious quality and beauty, sized socks massage your feet if you make the tiniest move; even if you’re sitting still, all you have to do is wiggle your toes.
So I accepted reality; or at least I thought I did. I said to myself, “Look, you are now a guy who wears sized hose, they cost twenty-three dollars a pair, and that’s what you have to pay.” The problem was that, somewhere in the dim recesses of my mind, I thought they would always be twenty-three dollars a pair. I simply could not, on that sunny autumn day in 1991, envision the present world where such trinkets cost as much as twice as much. Some people live in dread of fish becoming extinct, or the ozone layer disappearing, or some such. I, for one, hope to be pushing up daisies before a pair of socks costs a C-note. That is a brand of horror I do not care to see.
So when you’re complaining about current prices—and everyone complains, no matter their station—remember that there’s no price ceiling. When it comes to sized hose in particular, you would do well to recall Flusser’s own words on the matter, from Style and the Man (HarperCollins, 1996), “Unless the economies of producing elegant hose change in the near future, sized hose will go the way of the exact-sleeved dress shirt. It will virtually disappear for those who cannot afford to pay its higher price. If you do come across some sized vestiges of a previous time… buy as many of them as you can afford, and squirrel them away for some special future occasions.”
So you see, my folly in 1991 wasn’t in spending twenty-three dollars on socks. My folly was in buying only one pair.
Words by Barry Pullen