I wore one of my big boy watches, my Nixon 51-30, the gunmetal version with red numerals and a big 50 mm bezel dial, to my relatives’ Hanukkah party in Palo Alto. I flew up from Los Angeles with a cold and was feeling oppressed by fatigue, but I have to admit I was hoping for a few compliments from my relatives, just to make the trip worth my while and to elevate me a bit from the malaise of my nasty cold virus. I mean, this is a $450 watch and it’s really bold and manly. You can almost imagine Spartacus wearing it during battle. It’s a real attention getter. But no one said a thing, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I had at least caught a few people staring at the watch and raising their eye brows at it. I can accept stares as a secondary, lesser form of flattery. But I didn’t even get that. It was like my watch was invisible to my relatives.
At one point I comforted myself with the thought that my relatives were actually floored by the watch but they thought it wouldn’t not be proper etiquette to talk about my exquisite fashion choice during a holy holiday event and that they would reserve their flattery until later. Perhaps when I got home, some of them would call me or email me with inquiries about my watch and request my assistance in their own choice of watch. But alas such communiqués never happened.
That’s when it occurred to me that people rarely think about watches. They don’t really give a crap what you’re wearing. They’re so caught up with themselves, probably hoping that they’ll receive flattery for some reason or other, that they don’t have the time or energy to appreciate all the care and research I’ve put into buying the best watch possible and for asserting my good taste with such unflinching courage.
Since returning from my trip in which not one relative commented on my watch, I’ve come to the melancholy conclusion that people are just too self-centered to recognize good taste when they see it and that I will have to live with the satisfaction of knowing that I am a man of superior taste and that I wear beautiful watches, not to please others, but to please myself.