I discovered two things on this, the final day of the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, brought to you by Patron XO Cafe, with special help from Al’s Formal Wear: 1) Patron XO Cafe works well in coffee. I’m not sure why it took me this long to try that particular concoction. It’s like an Irish coffee, only more Mexican. And 2) Al’s Formal Wear can hook you up with a Texas flag vest-and-tie combo. It’s a good thing this discovery came so late in the game, because I feel certain if Zac had known about it earlier, he would have made me wear the Texas stuff for the entire month. Not that I don’t love Texas with all my heart. It’s just that — well, you understand.
You know, if you ask any guy who writes, especially a guy who tries to write funny, if he’s honest, he’ll tell you — wait that’s the wrong speech. Hang on.
Thanks to Zac for coming up with the challenge and stringing it together. You’re still not getting a piggyback ride to the parking garage.
Thanks to Patron XO Cafe for sponsoring the whole thing and for being the wind beneath my wings.
Thanks to Al’s Formal Wear for the tuxedos, especially the one I destroyed while crawling under my house. My apologies again, in advance, for destroying one of the cuff links.
Thanks to Lord baby Jesus, lying there in your ghost manger, just looking at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learning about shapes and colors, for making the second half of August unseasonably cool.
Several folks on Twitter and in the comments on this blog have requested that I “finish strong” and “not go out with a whimper.” In other words, they want one last tuxedo stunt.
Listen, here’s your last stunt: the AC at my house is broken. Went kaput this morning. I just returned to work from my house, where I met my HVAC guy. He informed me that I need a new motor and blower drum. Well, actually, what I need is a new furnace and coil, but since I’d have to mow about 40 lawns to pay for that, we’re just going with the motor and blower drum. That can’t happen until tomorrow. So this evening I’ll be sitting around in an unairconditioned house, drinking Patron XO Cafe, wearing a tuxedo. Are you happy? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? Damn jackals.
Two days ago, Zac posed a question. “How much money would it take,” he asked, “to keep you in a tuxedo till the end of the year?” Knowing that Zac is a man capable of making stuff happen, I had to give his query careful consideration. You know about my HVAC needs. Some extra cash would certainly come in handy. But four more months? I don’t think I have it in me. I mean, there’s a figure that would force me to try. Just call it $1 million. Obviously if a million bucks is on the table, I’m doing whatever it takes. But a figure in the realm of possibility? I don’t know. I would have a hard time turning down, say, $15,000.
Ultimately I told Zac I wasn’t interested. I’ve already planned my outfit for tomorrow. By rule, the tux can come off as soon as I can get to the Old Monk after work. There I will don shorts and the softest t-shirt I own. And, having totally destroyed the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, I will accept the hearty congratulations of my friends and co-workers. That is, if I can make it through tonight.
If you’re a fan of the show Louie, then you probably saw the episode a few weeks back wherein Louie goes on a date with Parker Posey’s character. You can read about it on Salon, but it was a strange date. At one point, they’re on the roof of a tall building, and Posey flirts with the edge, which freaks out Louie. He asks her to step back. She tells him not to worry. You see, she says, part of you wants to jump to your death, and that’s why the edge of the building scares you, but I don’t want to kill myself, so it doesn’t scare me. Words to that effect.
I don’t know if that’s why I, too, am driven nervous by heights. It’s an interesting theory. I can tell you that I’ve peered over the edge of a tall building before and thought, “Just a nudge. That’s all it would take.” Similarly, I have a friend who isn’t comfortable around running garbage disposals. It would be so easy to stick your hand in there. I know that feeling, too.
That’s the way I felt this morning when I woke up and began to get dressed. I saw a pair of jeans hanging in my closet and had a twinge of panic. Screw the tuxedo. I could button up those blue bitches, throw on a comfy t-shirt, and stroll in to work feeling loose and free. Just undo 28 days of hard work and suffering. It would be so easy.
Then I got a grip. No way could I let down Patron XO Cafe and the nearly 800 store locations of Al’s Formal Wear. So I grabbed my cummerbund and strapped it on tight.
I know this fellow. I can’t tell you much about him, because he wishes to remain anonymous. But a couple weeks back, I was having a beer with him, wearing the tuxedo (natch), and this fellow hit on an idea.
“I’ll pay you $100 to mow my lawn in the tux,” he said.
“Done!” I replied and offered to shake on it before he could back down.
That was my first mistake. Never settle for the first offer. I’m certain I left $50 on the table. Maybe twice that amount. Because this fellow is the sort that has no idea what a lawn mowing is worth. Similarly, I am confident that he doesn’t know what a gallon of milk costs. This fellow is so far removed from the maintenance of his own property that he doesn’t even own a lawn mower. Which is why he said I’d have to bring mine.
There are few places I hate more than the crawl space under my house. It is dark and musty. It is like Satan’s colon. Aging duct work crisscrosses the cramped space. Dessicated rat droppings lie everywhere. Cobwebs hang from the joists, under which I am forced to belly-crawl in spots, using my elbows to inch along, lest I bump my head. Except I always do bump my head.
Imagine my disgust, then, on Sunday afternoon as I came to the conclusion, while tuxedo clad and hung over, that under the house was where I was headed. My friend Laura had turned 40 the night before. An ’80s cover band played the party. You’ll understand, sweet child o’ mine, if I over-served myself. That explains the hangover. The reason for the trip under the house is a little more complicated.
Wednesday night, I went to Oak for the first time. Can’t recommend the place highly enough. What a pleasant experience. For my main course, I had the roasted duck breast with sunchoke, baby leeks, and foie gras flan. Simply amazing. But I think some of it got away from me. Well, I mean, I know some of it got away from me, because the next morning I had a crusty stain on my trousers. And here I should point out that I’ve already gone through all the Monica Lewinsky’s dress jokes in my head. You don’t need to put them in the comments. Anyway, this morning, Zac pointed out a couple more stains that I hadn’t noticed. Pretty sure that’s foie gras flan.
Having never before, to my knowledge, eaten foie gras flan, much less spilled it on myself, I don’t know what sort of dry cleaning challenge it presents. I’ve done my best with wet towels to tidy up, but clearly this tuxedo could benefit from the work of a professional. Thing is, I’m almost there. Seven days. That is all that remains of the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, brought to you by Patron XO Cafe, with special help from Al’s Formal Wear. I am not inclined to clean the tux. The shirts are another matter. I’ve got four of them in rotation. Actually, five, if you count the space-age dry-fit dress shirt. Three of them are freshly laundered. I’m set in that department. But I’m afraid that this foie gras flan schmutz is with me till the bitter end.
Will you be disappointed if I tell you that I have not been wearing patent leather tux shoes? I have not been wearing patent leather tux shoes. Well, I wore them to the funeral. But otherwise I’ve worn the pair of black Reeboks (provided by Reebok) that you see in this photo. This exception was negotiated before the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, brought to you by Patron XO Cafe, with special help from Al’s Formal Wear, began. If you must know, I’ve got a condition called plantar fibromatosis, which, in turn, is exacerbated by a case of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Bottom line: my right foot isn’t right. Zac gave me permission to go with more comfortable kicks. If my feet, in your eyes, diminish the feat, then so be it.
Which brings me to the shirt. In an effort to NASCAR up this thing as much as possible, we landed a shirt sponsor, too. Kevin Lavelle hooked me up with one of his new Mizzen+Main numbers. Raya wrote about them on ShopTalk awhile back. Think about your favorite moisture-wicking golf shirt. Now imagine if someone turned that golf shirt into a button-down dress shirt. That’s what we’re talking about here. Pretty genius. And perfect for playing TopGolf. (Note: Rule No. 15, Subsection B, stipulates that while swinging a club, the tuxedo jacket need not be worn. Rest assured that when it wasn’t my turn, I was fully dressed.) On a number of occasions when I have gone with the purple vest and tie option, I have worn under that vest the Mizzen+Main shirt. Highly recommended. Not the vest, the shirt.
Eight days, dear friends. Eight.
Today is a momentous day. No longer am I staring at a double-digit time clock. At 8:45 tonight, I will pour myself a Patron XO Cafe on ice with Dr Pepper (a drink I just invented, called El Oso Pardo) to celebrate the fact that I have but nine days remaining in the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012.
One more thing, and I’ll let you go. Here’s the beginning of a conversation I have at least once a day:
Person: “You lose a bet?”
Me: “No. I’m winning a bet.”
Mike Darling is a man with a great name. He is also a former D Magazine intern and current Men’s Health senior editor. As such, Mike has been following the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012 from New York City. He has been duly impressed. So duly, in fact, that he posted an item about the challenge on the Style News blog of Men’s Health. Please enjoy the Q&A in which I use potty language as I profess my love for Zac and explain the difference between a bespoke and rental tuxedo.
My apologies. Friday was a tough day, and I was unable to deliver a proper report on the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012. Zac and I were fortunate enough to participate in the Big Clay Shoot, out at Elm Fork Shooting Sports, a charity event benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters. Some 250 people showed up to shoot, and a good time was had by all, including yours truly, even though I twice came close to passing out. Friday was hot. And humid. In other words, not the best day to shoot shotguns in a black tuxedo. As I guzzled water pretty much nonstop, I sweated clean through my undershirt, dress shirt, and jacket.
Did I pour myself a Patron XO Cafe on the rocks to steel my nerves and steady my aim? No, I did not. Alcoholic beverages — even delicious, refreshing alcoholic beverages — are not allowed at Elm Fork Shooting Sports for reasons that should be obvious. Did I look smashing, even though I was near death? Yes, I did, thanks to the helpful, knowledgeable staff at Al’s Formal Wear. When I returned to the office, Krista said, “Ew, you don’t look well.” No, I did not look well. But I did look good.
You will be curious to learn how Zac and I performed. I will tell you. On the ride out to Elm Fork, Zac complained about how he hadn’t shot a gun of any type since he was 17. I therefore set a modest goal for him. A full round of sporting clays entails 100 shots. I told Zac he should set his sights on five. Anything more would be a bonus. Guess how many clays Zac shot. You got it. He shot five (putting him dead last among shooters who hit at least one clay; there were several who fired up goose eggs, which is hard for me to imagine). The winning score was a 94. And your well-dressed buddy Tim? I shot 42. All things considered — the gallons of sweat pouring off my person and creating puddles in my sneakers, the irregularity with which I use a shotgun — a perfectly acceptable outcome.
To be completely honest, there were two times today when I thought I might pass out. I offer a picture and the promise that I’ll give you a better dispatch on Monday morning, after I’ve had time to recuperate.
The Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, brought to you by Patron XO Cafe, with special help from Al’s Formal Wear, has presented certain, um, challenges that I had not anticipated. I didn’t understand how hard it would be to get up on skis while wearing a tuxedo, for example. Similarly, I didn’t understand how many times in the course of an average day I would have to explain — or, as I’ve come to prefer, try not to explain — why I’m wearing a tuxedo.
For instance, getting my kids registered for school entailed a lot of interaction with other parents and school officials. There was a room, and in that room there were many tables. At each table, there were electives to be chosen, volunteer opportunities to sign up for, green pencil bags to acquire, etc., and so on. And at each table there was seated a person who wanted to know why I was wearing a tuxedo.
Curious human at Table 1: “Well, I guess I didn’t get the memo!”
Me: “Yessir! You must have missed that memo! Gotta keep your eyes open for those memos!”
Curious human at Table 1: “Seriously. Why’re you wearing a tux?”
Me: [lengthy, exhausting explanation involving the time-wasting predilections of Zac Crain and the genesis of the bet and the payoff thereto]
Halfway there. Almost kinda. August has 31 days this year, so technically I’m not quite halfway there. But I’m a fan of Big Time Rush, so today I’m singing:
We’re halfway there
We’re looking good now
Nothing’s gonna get in the way
We’re halfway there
And looking back now
I never thought that I’d ever say
We’re halfway there
We’re halfway there
Now then. After I water skied in a tuxedo, several observers said it would be impossible for The Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, brought to you by Patron XO Cafe, with special help from Al’s Formal Wear, to top those watery fun times. We shall see. In fact, we shall see on Friday.
Another anonymous donor who would like to see me suffer has paid my way into the Big Clay Shoot, with the understanding that I would encourage you fine people to sign up. And with the additional understanding that I would sweat profusely while shooting a shotgun in a tuxedo. The gig is hosted by Gordon Keith, of Ticket fame, if you’re into that kind of thing. And proceeds benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters Outdoors Program, if you’re not.
In all seriousness, I did the Big Clay Shoot a few years back. It’s a great time. Elm Fork Shooting Sports is a sweet venue. And it’s all for a good cause. If you have a few dollars and some free time on Friday, get your guns out and join us.
Antony van Leeuwenhoek called them “wee beasties.” Using microscopes he himself built, the Dutchman was the first to discover bacteria and all manner of other teeny tiny organisms. It is surely one of Van Leeuwenhoek’s discoveries that is right now wreaking havoc in the lower reaches of my gastrointestinal tract. Confined to my house, I’m in the third day of a battle whose outcome remains far from certain. Decorum prevents me from sharing too many details, but I will tell you that great fecal geysers erupt from my bottom with the force and regularity of Old Faithful. I must hold tight to the toilet bowl during these outburts lest I be rocketed into the bathroom ceiling and knocked unconscious. Wait. Have I shared too much?
Per Rule 6.2, I am removing my jacket each time I visit the head. But the ship’s log will note that I am otherwise sailing these seas fully dressed. Thus concludes my report. You’ll understand if I don’t provide a photograph.
I have anticipated your questions about this installment of the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, and I will answer them in the order that they popped into your sweet little noggin.
– Cypress Springs. Buddy of mine by the name of Mark Laske has a house out there.
– No. We went skiing around noon, which I thought was a little early to be drinking Patron XO Cafe. To me, Patron XO Cafe is more of an evening drink, perhaps an aprÃ©s-dinner cocktail thing.
– Yeah, the entire weekend, except for one hour of exercise on Saturday (swimming) and, of course, after 8:45 p.m. And that includes when we rebuilt his boat deck on Saturday.
– No, I brought two tuxes with me. The fine folks from Al’s Formal Wear — the same fine folks who will be only too happy to help you with all your formal wear needs — gave me a “stunt tuxedo” for water skiing, with the understanding that it might not be returned in tip-top condition (or even returned at all). Though the tux looks black in this photograph, it was actually brown. And pin-striped. And surprisingly heavy when it got wet.