I have always possessed a keen eye toward the aesthetic beauty of things. This eye to detail in the objects that I choose to surround myself with comes with a price however both in dollars spent, as nice things tend to be expensive things, and in a lack of interest in traditionally male bonding activities like golf or some such. This appreciation of beauty when directed toward automobiles, water craft, or the symmetries of female attractiveness allow me to still move comfortably among my male friends, but when focused upon fine architecture, furniture design, or the decorative arts, this “sensitivity” can make me suspect in those circles. Whether or not you can handle a framing hammer or competently run a chain saw becomes irrelevant in pursuit of “greater truths” so to speak when you try to talk your buds into taking a quick lap through the tavern adjacent antique store at half time. So be it.
About a year ago my wife brought home a brightly colored glass candle votive. It was perfectly nice, deep blood-red, pretty when lit in a dark room. I gave it little regard after the initial observation. It was after all just a votive. Maybe I was getting more practical in my middle age. A man with my employment background should probably not even be aware of what a votive is when you get right down to it. My indifference felt right. Perhaps a set of drivers or membership in a bowling league were in my future. About a month later I noticed without intending to that three more of them had appeared in the house. An orange, a purple, and one a very becoming grass-green. Struggling with my recently renewed gender instincts of indifference to such things, I reluctantly asked where she was getting them.
“Glassy Baby’s!” is what she said. ” They are each special. Individually hand blown, named, and unique in their own way!” Don’t believe me? See their website here. In a darkened room she lit a small tea candle for each and gently placed them inside the glass wells. As the flame danced and lit them from within, the rich colors came to life and a familiar feeling came over me. They were…beautiful. Being a male trained in the manly arts of carpentry and equipment operation I was having a bit of internal conflict regarding candle votives having names, but the hypnotic gem like quality of fire within hand blown opaque glass was having the desired effect and I was drawn in. When she told me that the retail price of these three inch treasures was only forty dollars…each, I don’t recall it having any effect on me at all one way or the other. “Mmmm”….I think I said, mesmerized by her smile and the subtle change of colors as the flames flickered.”Just think how wonderful it would be if we had ten of them”.
Their beauty aside, the marketing genius necessary to sell what are essentially small wine glasses for forty dollars a pop is truly awe-inspiring to me. We now have nineteen of them with no end in sight as the company shrewdly comes up with new names and colors on a regular basis. Bastards. I suppose with enough effort I could overcome my attraction to beautiful things and take up more of what might be called the manly pursuits, but the status quo does have its perks. Sharing a bottle of wine with a special someone, in a hot tub surrounded by flickering gems of light on a snowy night can lead to what might be described as the ultimate in manly pursuits. And isn’t that beautiful.