Sunday, April 19, 2009


Buttons are an amazing invention. Humans for centuries draped themselves in loin cloths and robes, but after the advent of buttons we can enjoy wearing pants, shirts, onesie-pajamas, and suits. Buttons also give people an easy way to figure out who is fashionably incompetent.

You wouldn't know it from the guy who sold you your suit, but he's actually peddling rat traps, and you just stuck yourself in one. You, sir, are in deep trouble. How, you ask? Well, take a look at that suit coat. What exactly are you to do with those buttons?

Well, on most articles of clothing, buttons are meant to be buttoned. Suit coats don't follow these archaic norms, though*. There are functional buttons and stylistic buttons and buttons which appear functional but are completely stylistic. Don't ever ever ever ever buy a double-breasted suit. You'll die of confusion**.

But on single-breasted suits, which buttons do you button? I spent a long time discussing this subject with a feminine acquaintance who sells upscale clothing for a living, and the rule is as follows:
  1. Let the buttons be numbered 1 through n.
  2. Let x represent the number of any given button.
  3. Button x if a girl tells you to.
Actually, that's not the only way you can tell. For example, if the suit coat has three buttons, you can button the middle button on Sunday, but not after 3:00. You are allowed to button the top button if the room you are in has a ratio of male to female exceeding 2:1. And you can button the bottom button if you are being chased by a seething gelatinous monster.

If you disobey a button rule, you are in deep trouble. It's sort of like neglecting the prominent mucus currently emerging from your nose. Everyone sees it and registers your undesirability, but nobody tells you about it until after you've spoken to every attractive woman you know.

Buttons are also devious little devils. They'll often infect perfectly good pants, overpower the zipper, and place themselves as the release mechanism. Except, in that situation they ensure the button holes are half their size, causing immediate panic when you realize you need to use the facilities and it's going to take several drill presses to get out of your straight jacket pants. Curse the lousy designer who thought that was a good idea. I mean, seriously. Did you ever try those pants on yourself? There is no greater feeling of disappointment than coming home from shopping, and discovering you inadvertently purchased the button-clad pants. The worst.

*If you think suit coats are bad, just be glad you're not wearing a vest as well. What combination of four vest buttons can you button? It's like playing codebreaker without the helpful feedback mechanism.
**That, and they're ugly (sorry, but they are). Unless you're Cornelius from Hello Dolly!, don't even think about it.


Unknown said... seems appropriate for this post.

Jerkolas said...

I never thought I would become insecure about how I button buttons, but yep, your post did that. Congrats!

chris said...

scott, that was awesome.

thomas, I'm sorry. but not that sorry.