Spiky bracelets. When I fleetingly wore them, they were suitably deemed juvenile and childishly anti-social, which was quite by design, in retrospect. I bought my first one at Commander Salamander in Georgetown (where my older sister went to school). I later bought a more ornate one at the (long since vanished) Trader on Canal street and occasionally paraded around with them on like an extra from a barely post-pubescent stage adaptation of “The Road Warrior.” But because so many of my favorite bands wore them – from the Teen Idles to Iron Maiden to Soft Cell and beyond -- I figured they were good enough for me. Vainly trying to subtly replicate the sartorial finesse of “the skank kid,” I donned the odd band of studded spikes to sheepishly telegraph my affinity for youthful rebellion. Sure, it was goofy, but that’s what (some) kids do. It was certainly no goofier, to my mind, than sporting a pair of mega-expensive Vaurrnet sunglasses or a silly Swatch watch or ______ (insert name of lame 80’s fashion item here).
I grew out of it in swift course. I believe I gave my sharpest ones away to a freshman in my high school when I was a senior. The rest lived in my drawers for years – relics of a silly, bygone era. As the years passed, however, studded, spiky finery starting cropping up everywhere – being sported by folks with no connection to the original undergrounds from which it sprang (i.e. neither leather-clad rockheads nor the gay bondage community). Spikes no longer served as an easily-spotted signifier that you swore allegiance to specific subculture, in much the same way you started seeing waifish fashionistas sporting ironic, vintage rock t-shirts (something that still makes my blood boil). Wearing a Motorhead t-shirt won me derisive sneers in high school. Now it’s cool because Victoria Beckham wears one? Bleecchhh!!!
So imagine my arching eyebrows yesterday when my wife half-jokingly asked me to dig out my old spiky bracelets for her (they now reside in a mason jar on my desk amidst my unwieldy collection of 1” pins). According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times -- and, really, who am I to argue with them? –spikes are now considered the very quintessence of high fashion. Not sure how I’m going to react when I see my lovely wife sporting my old wrist-wear at our next parent-teacher conference.