Ahead of the Curve: Old Things That Are New And Cool Again
Let’s welcome back such oldies as handwritten notes, traditional barbers and artificial grass.
They say what’s old is new again. And that’s good news for most everyone reading this. But in a world that thrives on trends (bellbottoms, Cabbage Patch Kids, shouting “Wazzupppp?!”), there’s a concerted effort to return to the classics. That’s unfortunate for everyone who’s just taken delivery of their very first Segway Personal Transporter, but good news for mail carriers.
You see, America is in a cultural crisis. We’d like it to be great again, but without actually improving on anything. That being said, the best way to accomplish this is to return to ways that resemble wholesomeness, class and charm. I, for one, think this is as good of an idea as we’re likely to come up with, and so it pleases me that some pretty great ideas are returning to popularity.
First among them: handwritten notes/letters on personalized stationery. In a world dominated by Tweets and texts, the power of a handwritten note cannot be overstated. When I get one, regardless of who it’s from or the content within, I cherish it. I believe the most recent one I got was from a guy wanting to sell me a new Kia. That’s ballsy. Will I buy a Kia based on this? No, I will not. However, a guest that sends me a quick thank-you note for performing the Heimlich maneuver on her spouse after he failed to chew a piece of chicken cacciatore the recommended 32 times before swallowing is a sign of total class. Personally, I have a ream of black heavy card stock notes with matching envelopes at the ready in case I feel the need to dash off a quick “Best, MK” to someone special. I use silver markers most of the time, but occasionally I will use black just to give the receiver something to ponder. And while that might be a bit too Hollywood for your taste, you owe it to yourself to splurge on a high-end writing utensil and personalized stationery. I tend to gravitate to Arabesque in Naples. For the gentlemen, they have a Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Blue Hour LeGrand Rollerball for $1,210 that’ll make any note well-written. And for the ladies, a Montblanc Muses Poudre Rollerball at $755 is a lovely retro piece that exudes cool. arabesqueofnaples.com
Now, let’s say you’re a man. (If you’re not, perhaps you know one.) Getting a haircut can be annoying. You don’t want to trust your coif to someplace with the words “Great,” “Sports,” “Clips” or “Cuts” in the name, but you also aren’t particularly comfortable going to a “stylist” who specializes in women’s hair. Well, back in the day, men went to barbers. And they are hot again—thanks somewhat to hipsters’ penchant for facial hair and the grooming it requires. A sharp part created by a comb that has just come from a clear glass jar of blue liquid is the only way to go in an old-school establishment. Full-service barbers, such as the highly rated Naples Park Barber Shop, can make any man feel like Don Draper (and that’s basically all any of us are asking for anyway). Just a haircut is $18. Just a shampoo is $10. A haircut and a stately shave is a mere $35. In a nod to the 21st century, they even do 10-minute colors or highlights. But it’s really about the cut and shave and the ambience. They’ve got fishing poles and nets sitting up front, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they get regular use. They sit right next to the mustache waxes and beard brushes and shaving balms. Almost makes you wish you didn’t spend all that money on the electrolysis now, doesn’t it? naplesparkbarbershop.com
Read more of our Ahead of the Curve columns here.
Not too long ago, the only way you’d run across wallpaper was if you were invited into the parlor of a Latvian politician. Seriously, the Eastern Europeans really held onto their wallpaper. The rest of us, not so much. So it’s somewhat of a breath of fresh air that it has made a comeback with interior designers in the United States. Unlike our friends in Latvia, we’re trending with papers that are bolder and work best as feature walls or in smaller spaces, such as bathrooms or bedrooms. Though grasscloth wallpaper has been popular for a few years, this return of wallpaper print and texture feels like a return to cool. Just try not to get a “Fishes of the World” motif. Even a politiķis can’t make that palatable. napleswallpaper.com
Another blast from the past making a comeback is artificial grass. I’ve mentioned this before, but for those of you too young to remember, back in the day, artificial grass was the wave of the future. AstroTurf was everywhere. People would put it on their back patios, on their sidewalks, in their basements—it was insane. Mostly because it was awful. Was it carpeting? Was it grass? But today, artificial grass is full-on amazing. You can get different lengths, different weights, different tones. It drains completely in case you have trees or other shrubbery nearby or if Fido can’t get over just how real it is. It even comes with the occasional dead blade sown in to make it look real. No more mowing. No more watering. No more fertilizing. Yes, it’s expensive, but if you pay a lawn service to maintain your lawn, it pays for itself within a few years. And if you mow your own lawn, you’ll actually have free time again.
However, if you want to lose all of that newly gained free time, take up gardening. It’s never been hotter to grow your own vegetables. OK, yes, it was hotter before grocery stores became a thing. But currently we are on an organic kick that’s made knowing where your food is coming from more important than ever. And if you grow it in your own backyard (or a community garden), you’ll be able to walk out back and make a salad any time you want. The problem is, most of us are from someplace up north and don’t know a thing about gardening in a climate that goes from hot and dry to hotter and wet to “Ugh, I’m not going out there.” Because of that, most of us don’t even try. I suggest you reach out to either the Lee or Collier County Extension Services. They each have staff with extensive knowledge on our growing seasons and conditions and even offer testing services that’ll tell you if your dirt is nothing but sand with a complexion problem. And their websites contain enough information via articles and videos to get you in the dirt in no time. collier.ifas.ufl.edu, lee.ifas.ufl.edu
And last, but certainly not least, it’s time for us to think about drinking again. Not water. Not green tea. Not 72-Hour Energy. Classic alcohol. Yes, wine is terrific. But a nice cocktail that requires a wee bit of time and effort, and that is served in a solid crystal tumbler or highball glass, is a gift that keeps on giving. Now I’m not saying to become an alcoholic, but having options for guests or even yourself after a hard day of golf or lunching is a mini celebration. Can you imagine a film from the 1950s that didn’t include a fully stocked bar cart in a scene of someone’s home? Everyone had the pertinent regalia to offer someone a whiskey sour or a gimlet. Luckily, liquor stores sell most everything you need to get you started. But if your home has a space that is crying out for a piece of unique furnishing, you owe it to yourself to visit your favorite furniture or vintage store, such as Clive Daniel Home, Robb & Stucky or Treasure Island, and find a bar cart that would make Ava Gardner proud. And don’t forget the vintage seltzer bottle or you’ll just embarrass yourself. clivedaniel.com, robbstuckyintl.com, treasureislandnaples.com
Even if you partake in only one of these classics, I think you’ll have done your part to make America great again. And if you do nothing, well, I guess none of us will hear about it via handwritten note.