Down the foggy ruins of time, three things have received
universal loathing: phone help desks, war, and John Stape from
. We certainly don't need a fourth with
a list as damnatory as this. But I would nevertheless like to
fiercely, stubbornly, offer one more - the button fly.
What an utterly wretched, self-defeating, rotting fish-head
of creative calumny and horse jobbies the button fly has
been. My God, where does one start?
Well, I started at a premier Dunedin women's fashion store.
No need to mention names, this is a hotly competitive
industry. But I know and trust these people like the blood
that runs within - they know about clothing; they have seen
more fashion trends come and go than I have had not just hot
dinners, but just DINNERS.
I was immediately flooded with theory. The two women there
raced from behind the counter to shout into each of my two
working ears, shouting simultaneously at their customers to
come and add more. I was assailed, nay, completely swallowed
over. Why had I not packed a pen? But recall was not
required, as their very first comment froze my brain in its
Access. The woman whose name began with D said the first time
she flounced domestically with a button fly, her father
roared like a bullring bull. You are providing them with easy
access, he roared. D was so young she barely knew what access
was. But the man was hopelessly wrong. Access is precisely
what the button fly prevents, the whole point of the thing
negated at first thrust. I do not consider myself an
unusually adroit man, but I can flick a zip up and down in
the bat of an amoeba's eyelid, if I need to.
And most men need to.
The Carisbrook Terraces! You drop that phrase at a
prestigious dinner party and every man at the table will be
reaching for his zipper. We were packed in there, you could
barely move, and nobody wanted to miss a single second of the
action on the field, so you whazzed into the pocket of the
person in front of you. Man or woman, it didn't matter; the
beauty of rugby is that it is genderless. And to whazz
quickly and unobtrusively into someone's pocket, especially
when you are roaring drunk, you need a zip.
I am an older man now, I don't go to the rugby roaring drunk,
shouting genderless banter. But I do walk along the main
street every day, where, because I have lived here all my
life, I know eight people out of 10. And if I am suddenly
caught short, being bent double trying to open a recalcitrant
button fly as I race to the closest public rest room with
beads of sweat squirting from the forehead and face scrunched
up into a blind cobbler's thumb is not a good look. And with
age has come a mature respect for appearance.
Nail trimmers. When I turn these fiendish little Chinese
weapons loose, I am unable to get any grip at all on a fly
button for two full weeks. Why else the button fly? Fashion?
You mean, like not tying laces, having holes in the knees and
wearing caps backwards? No. Environmentalists will squawk
button flies use less refined metal, but the day I dress in
the morning to the cawing of an environmentalist is the day I
eat my own arm. Sexy? Because Google has 2,830,000 references
for ''button fly sexy''? I think we are splitting hairs.
And unfortunately, splitting hairs is the main thing
anti-zippers can legitimately trumpet. Damage to the cargo
down below. But I would argue the IQ of a man who got
anything important caught in a zipper would be less than room
temperature. Women? In the Bible, there is only one case of a
woman performing circumcision, and she was called Zipporah.
Case dismissed. But for the rest of us, please, march, send
submissions, chain yourself to an iron paling fence. The
button fly has to be driven out.