Over the years I've bought my share of money clips for guys I know. Silver ones mostly. In a Tiffany box if possible. They usually cost between fifty and a hundred dollars. It seemed like a useful, semi expensive, yet thoughtful gift that didn't require any knowledge of sizes or sleeve lengths.
Naively, I thought guys used them like women used their purses. Fancy ones for night time. Something casual for work. I imagined them swapping out one for another depending on the occasion. That sort of thing.
Later, I would check to see if my money clip was put into service and I was always disappointed. Now, having moved beyond that phase of my gift giving, I confess to still checking out what kind of money clip a man has on those rare occasions when I can get some guy to reach for the tab.
For a long time, I had it in my head that money clips were kind of like cowboy buckles in a way. Big and showy was better. Most of the ones for sale were shiny and silver. And most seemed to make a statement of sorts. With initials. Or a big coin or an eagle or some other masculine fiduciary symbol.
But that was then and this is now. Over the years I noticed a strange phenomenon that begin to emerge. Money clips became passe. They disappeared from use by the men in my world. Replaced by rubberbands.
Heads of ad agencies, judges, doctors, SVPs of marketing -- men I knew who seem to be making a nice salary -- one after another would whip out a stack of credit cards and not a little cash all bunched up and held together with a rubberband.
Guys in Armani suits and Italian shoes. Driivng BMWs and, yes, even Ferraris. Wearing Cartier and Rolex watches. They all used rubberbands.
There seemed to be some inverse ratio of financial success and rubberband money clips. Although I don't move in circles with people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, I'm thinking they're using rubberbands, too.
Usually the process seems to be to wrap the money around their cards and then use a rubberband to hold it all together. The rubberband has to be large enough to go around twice. And it's usually one of the puke brown colored ones that you can purchase by the dozens in a huge plastic bag from Staples. Or here online: http://www.kelvin.com/ac_rubberbands.html
I'm willing to bet that the guys who use rubberbands don't check for frayed ends or nicks so they can switch an old one for a new one; they just wait for the old one to break. Then track down their stash from Staples and replace it.
Maybe it's just an upper middle class white guy thing.
Somehow I don't see Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan using rubberbands -- besides they probably have people who take care of that stuff for them. I wonder about celebrities like K-Fed and Justin Timberlake. The president. Dick Cheney. Do you think? Wouldn't it be funny if they all do the rubberband thing too? Okay not laugh out loud stuff.
But amusing to consider, nonetheless.