In Bedford today, it is supposed to reach 56 degrees. We started out at 27 this morning, but by 11…
… blue blazer.
My first exposure to the respect – that’s not the word. Esteem? That’s not the word. Recognition of iconic status? Clunky phrase. The first time I understood that the navy blazer was armor and colors was at a wedding I attended at the Apawamis Club in Rye, NY in 1989. You have no reason to be familiar with the Apawamis Club, so a short primer.
I will spare you the names, except to say that the groom’s first name was Doug, and he was my age at the time. 26. Every time he greeted me, he called me “old man.” We golfed together quite a bit, smoked cigars together quite a bit, drank together quite a bit, and invented the first mobile phone on a commuter train concept together. Because his wife and mine were best friends, and because of the golf and the cigars and the drinking, the idea got away from us and someone else did it. But I am telling you, we got there first. Doug had about 6 inches on me, blonde hair and blue eyes and an Ivy haircut. Every single time he saw me, “Hello old man!” he would boom. He did it to everyone. We spent one evening at the bar at the Westchester Country Club –
… where he decided he was going to marry his bride (an AMAZING woman, love that lady). We went through every boarding school story, every backseat story, every dream, every my-father-never story of his, and closed the bar. We had rooms there, so we drank on the 3rd hole green in the pitch black for another hour where he got weepy under the stars because he knew he was choosing the direction of the rest of his life and he had some poet in him, then wobbled to our rooms. Next morning I woke, showered, dressed and went down to Appowamis where Doug and I were to meet two others for a foursome. I was in rough, rough shape. Sitting in the dining room, 3rd cup of coffee, Doug crashes through the entryway like someone opened the gate to a rodeo, looked at me, and at opera-level boomed again,
“Hello Old Man!!!”
So we are at his rehearsal dinner at Apawamis, his family is hosting. His father’s blood was more blue than his blazer. It is late July now, and there is no air conditioning at Appowamis. As with most club rules, as the evening progresses comfort concedes to conformity, and collars were loosened, ties pulled down. One of Doug’s friends took off his navy blazer. We were all required to wear navy blazers. Doug’s father walks right up to him, “Son, please put your blazer back on.” No other explanation needed, and no question about compliance.
He did. Evening goes on, we are sweating. It is in our eyes. Our slacks are sticking to our legs, our glasses are fogging and sliding every which way, shirts adhered to our chests and backs, hair dripping. But no blazers released. Doug’s mother, his MOTHER, goes to his father, and asks, “Let the boys take off their jackets, dear. It is searing in here. No one will mind.” He shook his head, no. Evening goes on, she has another Old Fashioned, and approaches again, emboldened by the fact that she is sleeveless already and a few Old Fashions in and looking out at a room of young men who look like our plane crashed in a desert and we haven’t had shelter in a week.
This time, they go at it a little. Nothing big, which is worse because it is that whispered intensity. He still refuses. She storms out. Doug leans to his father. “Dad, where’s mom going?” He says, “She is heading home sport. Angry about the blazers.” He says, “Dad, it’s my rehearsal dinner, can we just make everybody comfortable?” He says, “Your mother has a choice to stay at your rehearsal dinner or not, you have no choice but to wear your blazer.”
Which is a good story, but better because Doug’s dad wasn’t sweating. They DO NOT make them like they used to.
There are three popular stories about the origin of the blue blazer. No one knows for sure, so these are not in any order of credibility:
- In 1837, the then Captain of the HMS Blazer and his crew were to be visited aboard by Queen Victoria. This Captain (unnamed insofar as I can tell) adorned his crew in navy jackets with gold buttons.
- The second theory is that the blazer began as red at Oxford and Cambridge. The word blazer is derivative of the word “ablaze” and was coined because these particular jackets were red.
3. And the third says that blazer comes from the jackets men used to wear playing cricket. Which were emblazoned (see where this is going?) with the patch or seal of your club.
My blazer education continues. I did not know, for example, that Sean Connery (the third best Bond) wore blazers, such as this one in Dr. No:
The other thing I was not aware of is that it is possible to order a Blue Blazer in a Blue Blazer. From Liquor.com:
- 4 ounces cask-strength Scotch whisky
- 2 teaspoons demerara or raw sugar
- 3 ounces boiling water (plus more boiling water to heat mugs)
- Garnish: 2 lemon twists
Preheat 2 glass mugs with boiling water, discarding water before adding the cocktail.
Clear all flammable materials from mixing area. Lay down a damp towel or two to soak up potential spills. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
Add the scotch, sugar and boiling water into one of the mugs, and carefully ignite with a match.
Very carefully, pour the flaming liquid back and forth from mug to mug, about 5 times.
Divide the drink evenly between the two mugs and extinguish the flames by covering one mug with the other and vice versa.
Garnish each mug with a lemon twist.
Have a wonderful weekend. I am not going to insult you by telling you to be careful if you are going to drink flaming liquor. On Monday, the review of the J. Press White OCBD.