I HAD to buy a Nice White Shirt for A Thing, the details of which need not concern you or your loved ones.
I did already own a number of previously Nice White Shirts, but the first problem with owning Nice White Shirts is that they inevitably become pressed into service as office wear, and become progressively less Nice, like Cinderella going back to work after the ball.
And the second problem is the cuffs. For some reason Nice White Shirts always have double cuffs with no buttons, necessitating the use of cufflinks, or, as I have come to know them, The Devil’s Clamps.
Buttons on cuffs were a brilliant invention, but it is obvious that designers of Nice White Shirts consider them to be on a par with Velcro fastenings on shoes – a vulgar and juvenile solution to a problem they invented themselves.
I own a number of cufflinks, an odd number, unfortunately, because I am incapable of keeping anything nice, and I understand that they perform a decorative and unnecessarily practical function.
But these designers are clearly people who have never had to put on a shirt in a hurry, because it is virtually impossible to wear cufflinks without setting aside a morning to attach them.
Perhaps it is just me, but it takes me so long to put on cufflinks that if I were in a film I would need a body double for the putting on cufflinks scene. This is because every time I try to thread the bar through one of the buttonholes (look, designers of Nice White Shirts, they are actually called buttonholes, which should tell you something) the minimal resistance offered makes the bar rotate, rendering me unable to push the cufflink through.
But I have finally come up with an absolutely foolproof way to beat this design flaw, and I am happy to share it with you today. The following directions assume you are right-handed, so reverse them if you are left-handed.
A) Take a cufflink between the index finger and thumb of your right hand.
B) Hold the left-hand cuff with the other fingers of your right hand.
C) Try to push the cufflink through the hole which will be decorated by said cufflink.
D) Watch The Rotating Bar Of Satan pivot.
E) Repeat steps C and D.
F) Use your middle finger to prevent The Rotating Bar Of Satan from twisting.
G) Repeat steps C and D.
I) Somehow push the bar through the first hole.
J) Try to push cufflink through next hole.
K) Realise it’s more difficult when you can’t actually see the cufflink because it’s on the other side of the fabric.
L) Repeat steps C and D twice.
M) Somehow push the bar through the second hole.
N) Pant heavily.
O) While gripping the cuff, try to push the cufflink through the third hole.
P) Watch the cufflink fall out of the first two holes again.
Q) Sit on your bed and cry softly for a little while.
R) Repeat steps A to O.
S) Somehow push the cufflink through the third hole.
T) Push the cufflink through the fourth hole, annoyingly easily, and wonder why this didn’t happen with all the other holes.
U) Twist The Rotating Bar Of Satan to lock The Devil’s Clamp in place.
V) Realise that you have to repeat the entire process now with your left hand and right-hand cuff.
W) Bang your head on your mattress six or seven times while shouting: “Why? Why? Why?”.
X) Look at your watch.
Y) Invent several new swear words and a plausible excuse for being late.
Z) Pull shirt over head, go to wardrobe, and pull out any shirt at all with buttons on the cuffs.