Details of Personal Style, Monogramming, Intention, and James Bond’s Martini:
A few weeks ago there was a quote bouncing around Tumblr, posted by Jake of Wax Wane, examining and calling out James Bond’s choice to have his martinis shaken instead of stirred. The quote came from the television show The West Wing, said by character President Jed Bartlett, and is as follows: “Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.” Being a James Bond fan (read obsessive James Bond fan), I took a little offense to this quote. After brooding in moderate disgust for a while and mentally telling Aaron Sorkin to eat shit, I realized that this says something about me and about Mr. Bond, and (wait for it) it can be related to the way we dress.
Let’s get back to the martini first: You know why James Bond drinks his martini shaken, not stirred? It’s because he’s that kind of guy; he’s a shaken guy. He’s not a stirred guy. When the girl, a ten to be sure, sitting next to him at the bar hears his order, she thinks, “Damn, he’s a shaker. That’s baller as hell. Fuck all these stir guys,” and then proceeds to engage in a conversation with Mr. Bond before following him upstairs. If someone, including Mr. Bond, does something with intention, then it’s not anything you can or should fuck with. I generally don’t like people who analyze every decision (I am sometimes guilty of this) without taking personal intention into account. Sometimes a thing is the way it is because that’s how it was meant to be. I especially don’t like people who fuck with James Bond like that. That being said, shame on you fake President Bartlett for saying that and shame on you Aaron Sorkin for writing that. James Bond just drank a martini that I am pretty sure was not particularly watery and bed that dime sitting next to him; all you did was make an ass of a judgement call.
Intention is something that is quite common, but it is intention that is both understood and regimented that is the valuable kind. This is where the details of personal style enter the conversation. Of late, it is quite often that people focus on the smaller details of personal style. I myself have such aspects of my style that are present not necessarily because they are functional or practical (although most are) but because they achieve a purpose, and I intend them to be there. I’ve had a few shirts made for me, and when the option is there, I always have my shirts monogrammed on the left side of my abdomen, between the fourth and fifth button. You could look at this and say that it’s a stupid place for a monogram, because the placement is exposed and awkward when you’re not wearing a blazer. I’d agree, but there are two reasons why I choose to ignore this fact and continue with my regularly scheduled programming. Firstly from a historical aspect, this is the traditional placement for a monogram (originally in block font for easy identification at the cleaner or tailor). Personally, this is a bit of a nod to the old world of tailored clothing.
More after the jump.
The second reason that I prefer my monogram on my torso is simple and not far off from the reason that James Bond likes his martinis shaken; it gets people to look. It gets people’s attention. I’m not going to beat around the bush: this is the main reason I place my monogram where I do. My monogram is on my torso because you catch the flash of a red AJD on my white shirt when I reach for the pen inside my blazer or push my jacket up to put my hand in my pocket. That’s really it. I want you to see it. I want you to say, “Oh shit, did you see that guy’s shirt,” after you meet me, and if that means I have to sacrifice the versatility of my shirt, then fuck it, I will. It’s as much about how I want you to perceive me as it is about personal satisfaction. That’s just the kind of guy that I am.
The same goes for the number of buttons on my shirt cuffs. When I have a shirt made, I prefer to have two buttons running up my cuff instead of one. Does it take me a little longer to button them? Yeah. Does it keep my cuff more secure than a one button close? Yeah. Does it look cool as hell when I take my jacket off in a warm room and rest my hands on the table? Yeah it fucking does. I could go on about small elements of personal style, but I’ll leave it there.
If there is an element of intent that speaks to who the wearer (or drinker) is as a person, then it’s probably worth it to that person. In fact, it’s probably part of that person. Basically, what I’m saying is don’t take this quote to heart. It’s cool as hell to have your cocktail shaken, and honestly, that’s how most bar tenders do it. Sometimes I have my cocktails stirred, and sometimes I don’t. It’s personal preference. However, when I can, I always have my shirts monogrammed on my torso, because yes, I am an attention seeking asshole and want you to look at it. Hell, I won’t bullshit; that’s the main reason I dress the way I do. Also, if James was a real guy and you told him that shaking his martini was the wrong move, he’d probably acknowledge the point and then proceed to knock you the fuck out, before stealing your girlfriend. That’s because he likes his martinis shaken, not stirred. Respect it. That’s just who he is, and that’s just how he says it.
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