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October 08, 2008


Fear and Loathing in Georgetown

Dear Basil:

I am disappointed that that you did not include a pocket watch, with the required vest of course, in your list of acceptable gentlemen's jewelry. However, The Patek Philippe Calatrava is exquisite.


Fear and Loathing in Georgetown

Also, I eagerly await your post entitled A Gentleman And His Facial Hair.

Mrs. Peperium


I eagerly await "A Gentleman And His Educated Yet Troubled Wife.

Andrew Cusack

"Sadly, myself and the Countess are the only two people I am aware of in the United States who do not own a pair."

Notch up one more for Andrew Cusack; I own no jeans.


My Dear Basil,
Most enlightening. I haven't owned a pair of jeans in over a decade. I'm afraid the French have taken to the habit--although the women dress theirs up with heels (if you ever see a French woman pairing up jeans with sneakers, she isn't French, she's an American tourist). And I can't agree with you more as to simplicity in dress. In this sense, I noticed the French can commit as many faux pas as Americans. The Dijonnaise, if they weren't frumped up in patchouli-smelling hippie gear, they were overtrinketed, overperfumed, and overdressed.

I've always meant to write a piece on this, but never got around to it...


Basil, You, Andrew and I could start a subdivision of RCBfA. It could be the Roman Catholic Boys for Demim-Free Living. Christine would be welcome to form a ladies auxiliary (which could require proof of at least 10 years of clean living--properly defined--as a membership condition).


I would think that a Gentleman's "Educated Yet Troubled Wife" might also be referred to as his "Ball and Chain" and therefore constitute the fifth acceptable piece of jewelry to wear.


Dear Sir Basil,

Let me thank you for your kind attention to my question, it's been told that once born as a gentelman you should follow this through the whole life.

As your correspondent in Moscow it took time for me to write back some new brilliant stories 'n question.

PS. Perhaps the throne of Romanovs lost but in their surname first four letters still has the spirit of your culture.


A pair of jeans can be a good thing for the active man.

I own exactly one pair of bluejeans. I wear them when I need a tough pair of pants; automotive repair, laying pipeline, cutting firewood, and hiking in the spring. I just bought a new pair of Levis 550's (mechanic's jeans), replacing my 10-year old pair which had passed their useful life and become (with the accumulation of pipe dope) a hygienic disaster.

However,I do not wear, nor have I worn, dungarees in public, since I left school.

Mitchell Bond

Nor do I own any denim trousers, and I sympathise with your confusion over how one can consider denim more comfortable than a good worsted wool. I hear endlessly from mindless pop-culture drones that jeans are more comfortable than a good pair of well-tailored trousers. I remain astonished.

Furthermore, I too am disappointed that you did not allow for pocket watches, which to my mind should replace a wristwatch when one is wearing a waistcoat.

And finally, Sir Basil, what is your opinion of the Italian practise of wearing the wristwatch over the shirt-sleeve, just above the cuff? I find the habit revolting, perhaps you are broader-minded than myself.

Basil Seal

For everyone who has asked, I kept with the wristwatch in this post, because Mr. Dareboy had asked me about wristwatches...But never fear, I will be covering pocket watches in a later post, along with lighters and cigarette cases, etc. And yes Mr. Bond, the 'watch over the shirt sleeve' Italian look is extremely silly and ridiculous...What can they be thinking?


"Sadly, myself and the Countess are the only two people I am aware of in the United States who do not own a pair."

Well, I guess I've learned the dangers of speed reading. What a relief to re-read and discover you were talking about blue jeans.

I think class rings are in poor taste. In America, a man can only wear one ring, and that's a wedding band. This saddens me greatly, as I have an NBS family signet ring that I highly prize, but I can't wear it and my wedding band without feeling like a him-bo hussy.

Old Dominion Tory

Whenever I wear my class ring from a military college--and that is daily--I never feel in the slightest way effeminate. Furthermore, none of the Annapolis and West Point alumni I know have voiced harbor any concerns about looking like a "he-bo hussy" whenever they don their class rings.


An honorable college to have attended indeed, and the class rings are undoubtedly more demure than most. But still, too flashy.

Old Dominion Tory

As to the flashy nature of the rings, we'll apparently need to respectfully disgaree (Although I must admit that some of the more recent rings at my alma mater have been exercises in excess).
However, the fact is that class rings--at least from military colleges--have been around for quite some time in the United States. I assert, therefore, that a class ring is a perfectly acceptable and, indeed, respectable piece of jewelry for an American gentlemen.

Mrs. Peperium

Hey cuz, I need to send you some sealing wax so you can use the family ring to seal your Christmas cards and lawsuits.

I don't have a family ring but little Bertie gets his next year for his First Communion...hahahahahaha...that's got the old relatives rolling in their graves, huh?

I use a pimpernel to seal my best letters.

Andrew Cusack

I was going to mention, but was distracted, that I am wholeheartedly against class rings, pre- or post-nuptial, with the exception of the military academies and colleges, as their rings denote some actual achievement and are a worthy badge of pride.

ANY others, however, are verboten as far as I'm concerned.


I'll accept a subtle class ring or a signet, but, then again, I'll accept bluejeans in the proper context.

I had a friend who attended Norwich University, a Military school in Vermont. The school gave each graduating member of its corps of cadets two rings. The official class ring would be, for anyone who didn't graduate from that school, an embarrassment-a 44-pennyweight monster about the size of the Coronation Ring, very much resembling a large paper weight tied to the bearer's hand. According to my friend, in response to complaints that the official ring was just too much for daily wear, they started issuing an additional smaller, more subdued version, about the size of a regular academy style class ring.

silver bracelet

I feel for you..

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