Monday, March 2, 2015

"Chinos?" I asked. "No," he said, "Canvas."

The other night I went to a good friend's house for dinner and within minutes complimented one of the guests on his shirt.  It was one of those crushed linen shirts that wrinkles just right - a bad boy shirt with a banded collar that makes you think of dissolute expatriates who write features for hometown papers. 

What about my pants, said the guest.  
Chinos? I asked.   
No, he said.  Canvas.
Eight ounce weight?
Ten, he assured.

In that moment I realized how much I missed copywriting.  I had the desire to sell this man's outfit as if it was spring merchandise and I was once again the diligent copywriter hawking softgoods for Macy's Department Store.  "Canvas," I murmured, "but canvas that has surrendered its toughness and moulds gracefully to the human form."  I could visualize the headline.  "Canvas? Yes, canvas! Reborn. Repurposed. Resplendent."  These trousers say, "I'm expensive but worth it.  See how the pockets are finished with a wide edge? See how the legs end in an impudent narrow cuff?  See how the color is not camel or beige, maybe closest to the third tier of sediment in the buttes of the Kalahari?"

I wanted to also write an ad for the dinner but the seductive mushroom risotto, glistening, earthy and aromatic overtook all my senses.

Being a copywriter is a wonderful profession.  It demands that you celebrate the most insignificant thing:  a baby's undershirt, a bathroom shelf, a rug, a camisole, a Panama hat.  If there are any theater producers out there, let's do a musical called "Copywriting."


  1. Hear hear! I used to copywrite for a service awards company. So if you've ever chosen a watch for 15 years of service out of a badly printed catalog in one of the Great Lakes states (during the early 2000's), there's a good chance I helped sway you. It was a lot of tedium, and I would occasionally get called out for going a bit overboard in my descriptions. I finally quit that job to write real stuff. After all, how much can one really say about 24 karat gold appointments on a fountain pen?

  2. I knew we shared a past. BTW I used to write ads for gold-plated charms for charm bracelets: little tiny corn and tomato. They were ghastly but I celebrated those chintzy charms. I want to move to where you live - the weather here has finally dampened my love for the ocean.