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Tue, Nov 20th - 4:45AM

On the Subject of Buttons
By Don V Standeford

It is a constant chore through each and every hour of each and every day to maintain the viability and positioning of the buttons on my shirt. The button that bothers me most, probably undeservedly, is the button directly above the zipper on my work slacks. In reality I've never had a real disaster concerning this pant button. It is on my mind continually though, during my long hours of work and travel. Theoretically this pant button could present quite a problem should it pop. And I suppose this possibility is the stuff nightmares are made of.

If you saw me walk, yeah, you'd say I put on too much weight. I'm in a constant search for good buys on men's 'Big and Tall' shirts. A good dress shirt hides two or three buttons tailored into the very bottom of the shirt in a discrete manner. But in case of a minor emergency, a small safety-pin or even a well twisted and properly placed paper clip can help attach the two contrasting folds that run vertically from chin to zipper.
If the exact top button of your dress shirt pops off, this is usually considered to be a minor emergency. You can, after all, just leave that top fold unbuttoned until help can be attained.

I find often that although the buttons holding my shirt around the widest part of my stomach often come so loose they hang by a mere thread, these buttons also are not my biggest concern. Sure, the fabric around them often comes so unraveled it's hard to imagine it not just tearing completely off, button and all. The reality of it though, is these buttons will hang by a mere thread for days at a time without falling off. And the looser these thread-like fibers of my dress shirt get, the easier, ironically, it is to button the shirt without stretching it.

The problem button for me is the button above the very bottom of my shirt. It's very discomforting when this lowest of buttons pops off the shirt to plunge into the world on its own. If you are by some miracle able to tuck such a damaged shirt in, it continually splits apart right above the middle of your stomach. This allows your t-shirt to show. If you don't tuck it in, it's a little less noticeable. But still it affords sometimes a great amount of discomfort.

I find also after fourteen years of marriage there's a kind of cold war between my wife and me concerning the decaying status or outright dissipation of button integrity. She sews the button back on, and I pop it off. She sews it back on, and I pop it back off. The fact that the buttons ejected in this process are usually different ones has thus far been void as a valid defense for me against the accusations of excess button damage.

I have no doubt that the constant stress of dealing with button tension issues has affected not only the stability of my love life, but my job as well. I find that unbuttoning my shirt when at home helps. At times I might also exercise the more extreme option of removing my dress shirt completely. These are two very simple yet effective steps available to anyone to prolong the viability of a button's mechanical function, and, of course, its adhesion to the flap of the shirt.

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Don Standeford is also the author of The Request

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Thu, Nov 8th - 4:22AM

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