Cufflink of the Week

June 12, 2018

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This week's cufflinks aren't being worn. They are depicted in my hand for a very good reason. They are just...not quite right.... After coming to terms that, like it or not, I am an ethnic Korean, I decided I might as well embrace it a little. And of course, that means getting a cufflink related to my biological heritage. There aren't a lot of options for Korean cufflinks. Of course, you have the flags, but that seemed a little too gauche. There is no subtlety to flag cufflinks. It's clear as day what you are trying to communicate. And, I just wasn't ready to scream, "LOOK AT ME, I'M KOREAN," at the top of my lungs quite yet. I find it mildly pathetic for me to consider wearing flag cufflinks and screaming. I'm so uptight that I make Niles Crane look like a WWE Wrestler. Most people wouldn't think twice about the implications of a cufflink. Hell, most people have never even SEEN a cufflink. The few who have would probably, to paraphrase Andrew Zimmern, live by the mantra of "If it looks cool, wear it." The very notion of doing that has horrifying implications to me. There are so many cufflinks that look cool, but I could never, ever wear them. Just as there are the Marquess of Queensberry Rules for fisticuffs, there are Derek's Ludicrous Laws of Imagery.

 

I happen to be a huge military history buff. I could definitely get away with wearing a tank cufflink, or a battleship cufflink. What I could not get away with is wearing a parachute insignia cufflink. That would imply I have Airborne experience, which I could no more wear those than I could a purple heart, or any other uniform related detail. Who thinks of things like this to such an excruciating level of detail? I'll tell you who. Someone who loves taking dumps and has quite a bit of time on their hands to think about cutting edge issues like this. You don't even want to know my detailed and intricate opinion of the hierarchy of potatoes. Cufflinks can be expressive, but they cannot be suggestive of an identity whom you are not. I would never wear a caduceus cufflink. I think they look badass, but I'm not a doctor. It would be deceptive to do so. That is why I was so excited to order the Nittany Lion cufflinks. Now that I am attending the university, I can actually wear the cufflink with legitimacy.

 

A cufflink should be a very subtle and muted expression of personality. Maybe this is why I love Captain. Raymond Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine so much. He would completely understand this subject and the sardonic, slightly upturned nano smile of his would be far more communicative than if all of you gave me a ten-minute standing ovation. The standing ovation is obvious. You have to truly be perceptive to pick up the ever so subtle upward lift of the corner of the mouth. He would dare to be so cheeky to wear an English striped tie with a cotton seersucker suit. Maybe you could get away with that in British Virgin Islands, but that's about it. You like how I've taken a topic and ground it into such fine minutiae that none of you know what the hell I'm talking about? Let's sum it up like this. A Korean flag cufflink is too blatant. Almost everyone will know what you are trying to communicate. You're inviting discussion about something you may not want to talk about. What if you're at Jersey Mike's ordering your gargantuan Big Kahuna cheesesteak (and you wonder why I'm overweight?) and Bubba behind you wants to ask you about what those cufflinks are. He'll probably ask it in a manner similar to this: "Boy, are those oriental cuffleeeeenks?" or something culturally crass. And now, you're irritated because he A) Doesn't know the Korean flag, one of the US's closest allies and home to tens of thousands of US soldiers and B) Because he's used dumb terms that clearly demonstrate visiting Savile Row will not be on his bucket list next to nut punching an alligator, and visiting the Mountain Dew canning factory. I actually visualized this occurring, realized I really didn't want to have those kind of interactions, deduced that even a .3% probability of it occurring was still a higher percentage than I wanted to deal with, and quickly vetoed Korean flag cufflinks as an option.

 

The currency of Korea is the won. If you ever want to feel like a millionaire, go to Korea. You might feel like hot shit in the U.S. for ordering a $50 bottle of wine. Try paying 53,650 won for a bottle of wine. It's the same amount, but it just sounds better in won, doesn't it?  1 dollar is worth currently 1,073 won. The cufflinks I have are 100 won coins, which is the equivalent to just under 10 cents. Coins are great cufflinks because you have to get really up close and personal to identify what the coins are. So, only if you are within very close proximity will you understand what the currency of the cufflink is. Bubba in the line of Jersey Mike's will NEVER ask you about them because he doesn't even know that they are coins. So, you see how I get to express my Korean identity in a very, very quiet manner? I was very excited to get these cufflinks and wear them...and then they showed up. They are enormous. I might as well be wearing salad plates on my wrists. These are the Flavor Flave of cufflinks. Great in concept, lousy in reality.

 

Which is the epitome of what it means to be Korean to me. It's great in concept, but it's pretty lousy in reality. Korean food is great in concept, but it's lousy when you find out that you were totally justified for being anxious because the boiling hot soup that you've been fearfully sipping like Mike Pence kissing a French guy on the cheeks is indeed soup made from donkey taints and slug mucus. Korean culture is great in concept, until you find out that guys wear makeup, too. Korean friends are highly desired and prized, until you realize that none of them actually like you and they are just too polite to ever say anything to your face. These cufflinks should have been awesome. They should have been as natural to wear as cologne, or an All Blacks jersey. Instead, they draw attention to themselves with their size. Bubba would definitely ask what the fuck I was wearing on my cuff and then he'd proceed to ask me why I was wearing it.

 

Will I try again and order some different Korean currency cufflinks? Down the road, I'm sure I will. But like the other elements of my being Korean, the current cufflinks will not be exhibited in public. It's probably the best thing to do because I don't want to be screaming a message I cannot control, or articulate. If I wanted to do that, I'd just wear socks and sandals at the same time. Well, let's not get crazy. I would maybe do something like wear a shirt with pockets or something crazy like that. Depends on how dangerous I am feeling that day.

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