29 May 2008

An email from a colleague (adapted from an Onion article)

Why Can't Anyone Tell I'm Wearing This Business Suit Ironically

By David Cauchi

Is it my fault none of you stupid conformists can understand how hilarious and ironic my cutting-edge fashion sense is? In 1982, I was the first kid in the suburb to wear a Mr. Bubble iron-on T-shirt from the '70s. I was only 10, but I was soaring over people's heads. In high school, I was the only guy to wear Adam And The Ants war paint to the seventh form ball—even though it was 1990. Those fools looked at me like I was 10 or 12 years behind! At varsity, the trucker-hat concept was my masterstroke. Within a few years, everybody was doing it, but by that time, I had so moved on.

Well, now I'm 36, and I'm still leaving all you idiots in mysteriously tongue-in-cheek fashion dust.

About five years ago, I was growing bored with the whole neo-'80s electroclash look that I had mastered years earlier, and the bohemian-intellectual look that followed. I figured, why not go all out and take the concept of ironic fashion to the extreme? Just do something so risky and completely out there that it would blow people's minds. So I dreamed up the suit idea. It was like, just create the squarest possible look and run with it. And I was hardcore about it, too. A lesser man might have just snagged a cheap suit at Hallensteins, but I went all out, choosing a conservative, high-buttoned, dark brown three-piece suit and having it fitted by the best tailor in Wellington. I even had my normally wild curly hair cut in a short, straight, non-descript style. I mean, who the hell does that? I looked like a [expletive deleted] city councillor!

Fresh from the tailors in my new suit, I hit all the hippest spots in Cuba Street, just waiting for the scenesters' jaws to drop at my sheer audacity. To make sure the irony was pitch-perfect, I got the matching shoes, the cuff links, the fob, the tie pin, everything—I even matched my silk socks to my eye colour and the accents in my tie! I could barely keep a straight face! But in every single bar, cafe, and after-hours house party I went to, I got the same reaction—everybody just treated me like some kind of lame-o. They looked at me like I wasn't supposed to be there.

I initially thought maybe they were jealous, but then it dawned on me—they literally thought I was dressed like that for real! Ha! Couldn't these morons get a simple joke? It's like, "Hel-lo... If you have to explain it..."

I resolved then and there to stick it to the mainstream and adopt this bullshit suit as my signature look. If I knuckled under and went back to my drainpipe trousers and Chucks, or my Guevara T-shirt and board short era, or even my black skivvies and cords, I'd just be selling out. Nope. If anything, I was gonna take it further. I perfected the look until it was as hilarious as it could possibly be. No expense was spared—if I cut corners, I wouldn't be doing the joke justice. So I got a leather Hermes attaché case, and I filled it with— you guessed it—actual corporate accountability reports! And my watch? Lame-ass TAG Heuer. Most expensive one I could find. Is that the avant-garde of hipness, or what?

But people still didn't get it. Nobody cracked up when they saw me at Yeah Yeah Yeahs shows or edgy art exhibition openings at the Mary Newton Gallery. If anything, they seemed to avoid me. One of my now ex-friends even called me a sellout. WTF? He worked as a [expletive deleted] secondary school teacher. I was standing right there in my [expletive deleted] suit, for Christ's sake. It's not my fault if some jerks can't handle the extreme and total "[expletive deleted] you" of my next-level fashion statement.

I took it further. I moved out of my Thorndon loft (so 10 years ago anyway) and put a down-payment on a three-bedroom Mt Cook villa. Tidy green lawn, fruit trees, and everything. Hilarious! Then, on a lark, I applied for a job at this hysterical government auditing firm, and—this is the kicker—I actually got the job!

I figured I'd fake the auditing gag long enough to get my first pay, then totally blow off these cheese-asses and frame my uncashed cheque as an irony trophy. Well, I did that... But then, when people still failed to pick up the joke and more and more weeks went by without me getting fired, the wages started to pile up and I figured, "What the hell? Might as well use these extra ones." I had to, really, to pay for all this expensive ironic [expletive deleted].

But what good is all this hilarity if there's no one else hip enough to appreciate it? On the 8:12 a.m. Number 11 bus, everybody just assumes I'm one of them. So does my manager, my team administrator, and every single one of my colleagues at the audit office, where I'm now a supervisor running in-house training programmes. I even got properly paired off with my long-term girlfriend and we now have two ironic kids. I swear, they look like something out of a creepy 1950s Jack and Jill reader—I even have these hilarious silver-framed pictures of them in my cheesy corner cubicle. But still, the humour is lost on everybody but me. I'm probably the most fashionable guy on the planet at this point, but no one understands. God! Do you have any idea how difficult it is being so far ahead of your time? Some days, it's enough to make me want to embrace conformity like all the other sheep.

But who am I kidding? Living on the cutting edge of irony is in my blood, man! I couldn't go straight if I tried!

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