Animal Lovin’ Ken

To borrow some lawyerly lingo from my day job: Further to my previous post, Ken has entered the zeitgeist!

Lovely and Amazing how this happens, isn’t it?

Something in the air, be it a higher resonating vibe or telepathy or sympathetic musings.  Unexpectedly, poof, you blog about Ken one day and then, a few days later, there he is, in full regalia — and part of the Arts & Leisure section of Sunday’s The New York Times.

“Animal Lovin’ Ken”, in flashback mode from the 1980s — look at that hair!  those parachutetic shorts!

The neckerchief! Did men actually wear neckerchiefs back then?

Answer: Yes, they did. Some men, at any rate. Arty men.

In 1983, while working in a high-end  jewelry store in East Hampton, Long Island (one of my many “day jobs”), in walked artist Robert Dash. As an artist, myself, I should have been excited.

Except that he was wearing one of those neckerchiefs — or scarf, as he called it. He’d come into the store wanting to buy a “scarf ring.”

Definition: a solid gold circle used to reign in the cobalt-blue flamboyant tail-ends of his “scarf,” thereby enabling him to position the aforementioned tail-ends, rakishly, to one side.

None of my male artist friends would have been caught dead wearing such an accessory. So, why would he?

The 1980s neckerchief, I’d surmised, was the wealthy-male-artist’s equivalent to the paint-spattered carpenter’s pants of yore (i.e., days of struggle and poverty).

I suppose, for Dash, the neckerchief had a dual purpose. Not only would it up his “hip” quotient (albeit, woefully and misguidedly), it would also serve to distinguish him from the old-monied population of the Hamptons (those sporting green slacks covered in sailboat or whale motifs).

And, so, therefore. The inevitable evolution of Animal Lovin’ Ken and his neckerchief — a marketer’s version of the cool guy of the 80s.

Erstwhile animal-lover that was Ken, I now see that he would have probably made a much better partner for my brother’s stuffed dachshund, Poochie (again, see my previous post), than Barbie.

The lesson being, of course, never settle.

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