i bought the wrong gloves

i bought the wrong gloves

chris congdon bad gloves upstairs project blog

Last winter I bought a pair of gloves.  It was an impulse purchase at the hardware store.  They were there in the checkout lane where they put other last-minute, oh-yeah-I-need-that-too items like Chapstick and batteries and the latest issue of Monster Truck Mania.  

Ten bucks for this pair of gloves that weren’t too bulky, but were warm enough for most Iowa conditions.  They looked good: unadorned black fabric that didn’t try too hard to be stylish and didn’t have any plastic “MEGA-GRIP” labels sewn on.  They didn’t look too durable, but what do you want for ten bucks?  I should have bought the entire stock.

Now, a year later, I am - well, WAS - still wearing them.  The seams on the palm and thumbs have all ripped out, but they’re still comfy and warm and if you keep the palm side down, they don’t look too bad.  These gloves may have been the best $10 I’ve spent.  And Saturday I mistakenly left them behind in a restaurant 90 miles from home.  Damn!

When was the last time you went glove shopping?  There are hundreds of choices, ranging from big, fat ski gloves to leathery, axe-swingin’ work gloves and mechanic’s gloves, and runner’s gloves and hunter’s gloves and driving gloves and ophthalmic surgery gloves for both patients and doctors.  There’s everything except regular, not-too-thick, not-too-thin, comfy, warm, durable, plain black gloves that aren’t trying to make a fashion statement, but don’t look like hell, either.  Yeah, I went back to the same hardware store where I got the beloved gloves.  No dice.  Also tried the Big Name Building Store, the Tractor Store and Huge Everything Cheap Store.   I finally ended up at the Everything Costs A Little More, But It’s All Cool Stuff Store.  

After trying on a few pair of new gloves, I had whittled my choices down to 2  (an excruciating process for My Sweet Lady to endure - she really is a saint):  one, from a respected manufacturer of functional outerwear, which were very, very comfortable and looked decent, and the other from another major activewear label were a little more garish in their styling, not quite as comfortable, but probably a better choice based on durability and function.  

Against this little voice that said, “you’ll be sorry” I chose comfort.  When I say comfort, I mean you put these things on your hands and you say, “ohhhhhhh” out loud.  They’re like wearing kittens.    

And 24 hours later, I’m regretting it.   Here’s the thing: the palms and fingers are just as silky on the outside as they are on the inside.  You can’t grip anything with these gloves on: steering wheels, grocery sacks, doorknobs.  My hands are nearly useless.  These gloves are a swing and a miss for the Respected Manufacturer who should know better.  So comfy, so “right” with the styling, and so completely wrong in neutralizing the function of the body part they were intended to enhance.  There are two parts of our human anatomy which really set us apart from the other animals: our brains and our hands.  Other species may have one or the other, but our combination of the two is what makes us who and what we are.  If saner, smart  species like dolphins had hands, they would dominate us.  But, they don’t.  We’re the ones with the brains and the hands, and so we rule the world - except those of us who wear these particular gloves.  All it would take for these new gloves to be the best ever, is a little sticky stuff on the palms and fingers, and honestly, a manufacturer which has made its reputation on stylish AND FUNCTIONAL gear should know better.  It’s nice when stuff looks good and feels good, but it has to work, people.   

chris congdon

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