Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How do you think I’d look in elfin ears?

A few years ago, while walking down Charles Street in Boston, I passed a late-middle-aged man on his way to work.

He carried a bulging brief case and wore standard, old-lineYankee, Brooks Brothers  lawyer drag – grey suit, khaki trench coat. But what really caught my eye was the other element of drag this fellow had on: an early 1960’s-vintage rain bonnet. An item of clothing I remember quite well (if not all that fondly).

Believe me when I tell you that rain hatno woman or girl stepped toe out of the house when there was a cloud in the sky without one of these in her pocketbook, pocket, or school bag.  They folded up quite nicely, as seen below, but I speak from experience when I say that woe betide the woman or girl who folded them back up when they still had rain bonnet caseraindrops on them. Peeling them open during your next hour of need was no easy matter. As I recall, however, the lowly plastic rain bonnet did the job of keeping your hair dry, even if they could do nothing about the humidity that could sap all the vitality out of the curls that you had so carefully created, thanks to the Spoolies you had slept on the night before. Personally, I didn’t like the clear plastic bonnets, much preferring the kippier clear plastic with daisy print.

In any (lawyer brief) case, my neighbor was apparently not alone in his preference for wearing a decidedly dowdy rain bonnet.

In fact, if you google “man rain bonnet”, you get a number of hits. Especially if you remember to include the word “fetish” in your search.

There’s even an item on Yahoo Answers asking the all important question: Would you look negatively towards a man wearing a plastic rain bonnet?

Well, maybe negatively’s too strong a word.

Does weirdly work better?

But to each his own, and, if someone has a problem with a Boston lawyer wearing a rain bonnet, well, see you in court.

That said, I will confess the I prefer my lawyers sans rain bonnet, especially male lawyers.

This is, perhaps, because you can take the girl out of Irish Catholic, but you can’t take the Irish Catholic out of the girl.

Thus, while I acknowledge that most, if not all, of us have our own little quirks, I’d rather keep fetishes out of sight. No need to keep them out of mind. In fact, in mind is an exceedingly good place for them.

The rain-bonneted counselor came to mind when I saw an article, thanks to a nudge from my sister Trish, on Huffington Post about elfin ear surgery.

Not that men wearing plastic rain bonnets and elfin ear surgery have all that much in common. Other than the action with both takes place above the neck. And both are pretty darned peculiar.

However peculiar a plastic rain bonnet fetish is, however, it is not likely to cause you any grave harm, at least not of the physical variety. I suspect that in a Boston white-shoe firm, being caught out wearing a rain bonnet might move you off the partner track. And I don’t think it would actually work as date-bait, either. But in the case of a rain bonnet, it’s a matter of easy-on, easy-off. And if you’re in easy-off mode, no one can tell.

Elfin ears, on the other hand, are permanent, and seem to be a veritable trifecta of possible harm: professional, personal (other than with fellow elfin-ear-ites), and physical.

Steve Haworth, a three dimensional artist making leprechaun-esque dreams come true, explained, "There's a lot of people out there who have an inner vision of themselves and they want to express that to the world around them."

Interesting. I would have thought that, for most of us, “inner vision” has something to do with who we are and what we aspire to, not whether our ears are pointy. But that’s just me. (You can take the girl out of Irish Catholic…)

Huff-Po took its elf-ear-in-the-news cue from Good Morning America,which, in turn, had picked upon it from an article in the AARP magazine (of all places).

It’s all part of the body modification culture.

Not that I haven’t participated in body mod, since, broadly speaking, it does include the commonplace and quite modest ear piercing.

But that’s about as far as I’d be willing to go – especially when it comes to something like the ear which, like the rest of our body parts, has been purpose-formed over a couple of billion years thanks to our friend evolution. Obviously, if God or Darwin had wanted us to have elfin ears, that’s the way that the evolutionary cookie would  have crumbled.

For those opting to modify the mighty course of evolution, the elfin ear operation is not generally done by an actual surgeon, but rather by an “artist” who does the job without your having the benefit of anesthesia. Cry ouch! (Maybe they rub an ice cube on it, which is what I did when I pierced my own ears a million years back.)

The medical profession, not surprisingly, no like:

"The real risks are one - major deformity of the ear, which is very easy to have happen and two, infection of the ear," said Dr. Arthur W. Perry, author of "Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery." "And if infection occurs, it can destroy the ear within days."

"It's very difficult and often it's not possible to fully reconstruct a nice-looking ear," he said.

At least with the rain bonnet, all you have to do is take it off to return to normal.

Damn! Just realized that I forgot to look at my lawyer friend’s feet. Wonder if he had on the equally throw-back and dowdy, but immensely practical, clear plastic rain boots that were in vogue during the great Age of the Rain Bonnet.


Jenny H said...

I wore plastic rain hats all the time up the start of high school(I'm early 50s now) and I find I'm going back to them more and more these days. Originally I found one in a second-hand shop and bought it to wear with my red nylon mac watchung sport in the rain (umbrellas not being allowed), but now I'm finding carting an umbrella around more and more of a pain so now I keep one in my 'proper' trench coat pocket as well.

Mind you' it has to be the old concertina type. I think those with the piping across your crown look dreadful.

Maureen Rogers said...

Jenny - Excellent idea to have one of the "concertina type" rain hats in your pocket for a sports event, or for just keeping in your pocket. Still, I don't know whether I'd have the guts to put one on although, like you, I always wore one as a kid.

Jenny H said...

Maureen, in a crowd like that nobody cares - too busy watching the game. Any comment I have had was positive, a couple of people have asked where did I find it because they'd been looking for one instead of those cheap plastic ponchos, cheap to make that is, expensive as hell to buy! The mac and plastic hat look better, keep me dryer and can be used over and over.

Diann said...

Hi Maureen,

I sort of stumbled upon your blog as I was doing market research on Rainbonnets!!!!
I am in the process of creating an e-commerce business to bring back the Rain Bonnet back to life with updated designs and materials!!
I see that you're a product market consultant..I may have to contact you at some point. Perhaps you may be able to assist me on this endeavor.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading your rainbonnet posting...you gave me incentive to keep going. Thanks so much!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there Maureen , I came across your blog when I was searching for more information about who wears rain bonnets. I am a 58 year old male , and I have worn a rain bonnet(it is clear with black trim and has a visor , and extends over the back of my coat collar)for just over four years , and there is nothing to beat them for keeping you dry. I honestly do not see why men cannot wear them as long as they are clear with black or white trim , and not patterned or coloured. I live in the uk.