Before I start my article I have to explain why it is not as long as intended. The fault lies entirely with others who are trying to censor me. Until next time, Aloysius
I spent last month preparing for a lengthy article entitled Signet rings – why they are more important than trousers. It took several research trips to New York, Paris, Milan and Bath and was all distilled into an easy to read 50,000 word essay which I submitted to the Style editor of The Flaneur.
He said that 50,000 words was far too long, could I cut it down to nearer 600?
Impossible, I said, 50 million words was not too long to discuss such an important part of the male toilet.
Matters quickly got out of hand. He said the signet ring wasn’t important, and that he disagreed with my whole thesis. I took this unwarranted nonsense on the chin, musing that maybe he had had a less than perfect croissant for breakfast, maybe the barista over-milked his macchiato. But then the so-called Style editor said…said… I can hardly bear to repeat it… that he had always found a pair of trousers to be more important than a signet ring.
This was a provocation too far. I called him a Philistine, an unrestrained vulgarian, a Galatian who might consider following the lead of his Barbarian statue.
He said ‘What are you on about?’ and mumbled something having to choose photos from an under-water fashion shoot of maternity-wear off the coast of Brighton.
‘Think of my readers!’ I opined.
‘I am thinking of your readers,’ he said, and slammed down the phone.
I ignored this ignoramous and settled down to write the script for my new television series, Me and my Braces. I will be touring the world interviewing men and women and asking them about their favourite braces. It’s a sure-fire hit and my agent says interest has already been shown in the format from several islands in Polynesia.
But I couldn’t concentrate.
The niggling issue of signet rings was too much to bear. I have too much knowledge to share on the subject. I considered transferring my column to a different publication, but having just signed a contract with The Flaneur this was not possible. Instead I picked up the phone and pressed redial. After a long back-and-forth of apologies and a bit of it-was-my-fault-yes-I-know-it-was-your-fault the style editor still refused to publish my musings on all things signet unless I cut it severely.
‘For example, do you really need to spend seven pages discussing the history of the Papal signet ring from 748AD-801AD?’ he asked.
‘To truly understand the signet ring one must know the basic history of late eighth century Italy,’ I explained gently, as though to a child. ‘It would be like ignoring the conquest of Burma whilst trying to understand the significance of the Sari in nineteenth century Vienna.
‘Quite,’ said the editor, ‘600 words or nothing.’
I relented and summarised my magnum opus.
600 words is clearly impossible to reach, but I am sure that the editor was merely using 600 as a signifier meaning less. He is a good man and I am certain he will relent and allow my slightly longer article to make it to my readers. I apologise for the long introduction, but fear not! Signet Rings, why they are more important than trousers starts here:
It is my belief, one corroborated by even a cursory glance at history, that the signet ring is more important than trousers. In this essay I shall draw your attention to seventy-two different reasons why it is more important to wear a signet ring than trousers. Audacious it might seem to leave your house without trousering, but compared with leaving the house without a signet ring! Why the very idea strikes terror into the heart of all right-thinking British Subjects. Without a signet ring there is no elegance. An unsignet-ringed pair of hands are too symmetrical, there is
[Sorry, Aloysius, that’s your 600 words. Next time please stick to the word count…Style Editor]