This may be an odd way to begin writing about gloves, but I hate umbrellas. Maybe I link them because they’re both Winterwear, if such a word exists. I don’t know. Umbrellas may serve a function but you pay a price for it. Eyes get poked, they leave puddles of water when they’re folded, they’re a bother when it doesn’t rain and you’ve carried one around all day. I once had a boss who, every October, would buy folding umbrellas by the two dozen. Over the course of the winter she would leave them on buses or they’d break or she’d give one to someone and by April all twenty four would be gone. She also owned a duvet for each season of the year – that is, in case it isn’t clear – four duvets. One for Summer, one for Winter, one for Spring and one for Autumn. Why the Spring duvet couldn’t also be the Autumn duvet we may never know. She was too thin and, I guess, sensitive to fluctuations in ambient heat. Ex-bosses can move in mysterious ways, iyam.
Gloves also get in the way. But I saw these in a shop and have rarely wanted any item of clothing more. They were expensive – over £70, I think – which is a lot for something you’re going to lose before you get on the bus. They were the colour of egg yolks and they were beautiful. But £70! I left the shop sadder and without the gloves. I thought about the matter for a few days and can’t remember the mental hoop la I went through to justify the cost. Of course, I wasn’t the only person to like these gloves – they’d sold out in the two days I’d been dreaming about them. But the shop assistant did something that maybe he shouldn’t have but how brilliant that he did: He gave me the web address of the company that makes them. Didn’t the protagonist from American Pastoral own a glove factory? Wasn’t it a symbol of the redundancy of American manufacturing, perhaps the whole American way of life? I’m being annoyingly discursive. These are made by an English company. They’re English gloves.
The website said the style was called The Winter Roper and was…
…ideal for work, roping or riding in…
And, I could barely believe it, they were a third of the price that the shop had been selling them for. I ordered a pair immediately.
Less than a week later I pulled my new, deerskin gloves on. They were beautiful and they fit perfectly. The sheepskin lining was toasty. They’re for ranch hands, I reminded myself. They’re butch! I hoped they’d never get dirty.
I’m forever having to take them off to get some change out of a pocket or to take a photo or any of the hundred things I have to unglove for. And then put them back on again. They have a strap/popper mechanism to keep my wrist dry which makes them fiddly. Sometimes I have to take one off to fasten the other one on. It can be a game without an end. The thing they’re good at is protecting your hands from the cold or the hot – they’re perfect for carrying a paper cup of coffee when it’s snowing. But, in truth, London rarely gets that cold and you won’t often see me walk along a street carrying a paper cup of coffee.
Over a year later and I still have the pair. One hasn’t jumped out of a pocket or decided to stay in the cinema. They’re worth any faff to take off and put back on. They’re stylish and functional which is one of the great combinations of the world. And that’s why I love my yellow gloves.