Monday, September 24, 2007

Eustace Tilley

A friend and I were talking about the concept of a dandy. That is, a person who is excessively concerned with his appearance. You don't see them around much anymore, which is why I've had a hard time today finding anyone who knows what the term means. The only one who had a ready answer is a professor of English whose Ph.D. is in Victorian literature; they had dandies all over the place in those days.

Today? Once a year, on the cover of The New Yorker, you can catch Eustace Tilley:

http://www.jumpingfrog.com/images/NewYorker/ny022159.jpg

We had one locally, a congressman named Dan Flood. I’m not sure if he qualified as a dandy, but he wore a cape and a top hat, which set off his Salvador Dali mustache rather well. The waxed ‘stache was so pointed you could have used it as a cake tester. He was also somewhat of a character and the story exists that he was giving a talk somewhere locally when an audience member called him a fairy. Dan, his cape and mustache, leapt down off the stage, decked the heckler, and continued where he left off.

We had an elderly gent on a cruise and, on formal night, he was dressed (as I recall) in a somewhat pink suit with a short pink top hat. You know, it worked for him. He was a bit on the short side himself and the outfit was ok.

Locally, all we have is a fellow who is the very antithesis of dandyism. And cleanliness. He's the local anti-dandy character.

4 Comments:

Anonymous ColdJoshVail said...

Was out in the Saginaw area, Frankenmuth to be exact and this pink Caddie w/fins rolls in and a tall slender guy steps out, dressed entirely in white including a cowboy felt Stetson, a foot long cigar. Looked like he was either an elixir hawker at a carnaval, an MC at the Grand Ol' Opry or a well dressed Hank Williams.

There are a few left. They always appeared to me to people who would look at themselves in a mirror and get sexually excited!

September 25, 2007 6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carten, were you the elderly gent dressed in pink on the cruise? I'm betting yes.

September 27, 2007 12:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

No, but I love wearing a top hat. I used to have one when I lived in Vermont. I think they have class.

September 27, 2007 11:29 PM  
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