the schmooze


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

This "yor" I've entered the Dress Up Your Dad sweepstakes, sponsored by Kohl's Dept. Stores and Chaps.  The prizes:  "fuftsik" (50) Grand Prize winners each receive a $500 Kohl's Gift card.  Anyone who defines a "Levite" as a noun meaning "One who wears jeans religiously," need not apply.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they did not have to concern themselves with the urge to "Shop Till you Drop."  "Lebn" (life) was much simpler before compulsive shopping disorder, Dress Down Fraytik, Blue Light Specials, or Tommy Hilfiger telling one of the contestants on THE CUT, "You don't look like you care about style."

And the Talmud says, "In your community your reputation matters.  In a strange place, your clothing counts."

Win or lose, every "tate" should enjoy sharing the following chronology of "Great Moments in Shopping History for Men":

200 A.D. Romans made different shoes for left and right feet
1580 Pockets are sewn in men's "hoyzn" (trousers)
1644 The word "mall" first appears in the English language
1853 Levi Strauss arrived in San Francisco and founded Levi Strauss & Co.
1858 (Oct. 28) During R. H. Macy's "ershter" (first) day in business, the Manhattan store took in an imposing sum of $11.06 in sales
1859 Shopping bag invented
1865 Wanamakers announces their "money back" guarantee in a Philadelphia ad
1873 Levi's jeans sold for $13.50 a dozen. "bilik vi borsht!" (cheap; a real bargain)
1912 Department stores begin installing escalators
1916 Sneakers were first made in America
1917 Keds produces the "tenis" shoes
1926 D. H. Lee offers the first zip-fly jeans:  Lee Rider, Model 101Z
1937 Shopping cart invented by Sylvan Goldman
1938 Wanamaker's Dept. Store introduces revolving "kredit"
1944 The be-all-and-end-all gift was a Frank Sinatra "disk" (record)  (78, of course)
1948 Store owners across America put up signs that read:  "Closed tonight to watch Milton Berle"
1953 During Lucymania, Marshall Field Dept. Store switched evening hours from "Montik" to "Donershtik" so customers could watch "I Love Lucy"
1955 Marjorie Gottlieb learns that "prom dresses are never worn again"
1960s Paper clothes are made for the public.  They are disposable and used for underwear and children's clothing.
1962 Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart discount house
1965 The boom in male "kosmetiks" (cosmetics) is sweeping America; sales went over half a "bilyon" dollars this year alone.  "Es freyt mir zeyer tsu hern."  (I'm very glad to hear it.)
1970 Shoppers bought Maurizio Vitale "Jesus Jeans."  They were advertised on billboards with slogans like "Thou Shalt Have No Other Jeans Before Me."
1975 Calvin Klein begins the "designer" jeans era
1976 L.L. Bean was transformed from its old K-mart raunchiness to a kind of hip, contemporary Abercrombie & Fitch elegance
1978 Alice ("The Honeymooners") is going to buy Ralph a custom-tailored suit with money she earns working behind his back. When Ralph comes across a list of answering-service calls that Alice has hiddn, he jumps to the conclusion that she's seeing another man.
1982 Bruce Feirstin said that "Real Men are secure enough to wear their labels inside their clothing."
1983 "Long Haul Jeans"--the easy-fitting stretch denims with wider pockets, made for long-distance drivers-- is now available.
1986 Bloomingdale's finally accepts Visa and MasterCard.  "Danken Got!"
1987 Demetria Modae defines "man" as follows:  Male homo sapien, distinct from the female by a curious inability to shop.
1988 Male couch potatoes can veg out in jeans designed for the non-ambulatory snack-ingesting videophile.
Joe Boxer becomes the first company to create glow-in-the dark "untervesh" (underwear).  "Ikh vil es farn moyl nit brengen." (I don't want to discuss it.)
1990s "Falsh" (counterfeit)  clothing is made by computer, producing brand-name fakes.  Polo, Guess?, Gap, Banana Republic, DKNY, and Disney are all copied.
1992 A man phoned F.A.O. Schwarz in Manhattan looking for a piggy-bank. "We don't sell piggy banks, sir," came the reply.  "Our children don't save-- they invest."
Freudian Slippers, which come in "fir" (4) sizes--Id, Ego, Superego, and Egomaniac--are marketed.
1995 Mike Tyson drops $60,000 at the designer's Caesars Palace boutique
Tommy Hilfiger sells sleepwear separates
1996 Harrison Ford was seen rifling through a $68 "sale" bin at Barneys, Manhattan.  (He walked away emptyhanded.)
1998 Joe Boxer introduces the first two fly boxer dubbed the "double dipper"
1999 Scented suits that release aromas of lavendar, pine or peppermint when touched, are sold in South Korea
2000 Regis Philbin's shirts and ties become increasingly popular
While Jerry Seinfeld anxiously awaited the arrival of his first "kind" (child), he was permitted by management to shop at F.A.O. Schwarz after business hours
The prestigious Washington Opera sent out a mailer with this "yedie" (message):  "No dress code:  come in formal wear, come in jeans, it doesn't matter."
2001 Banana Repulic offers a concierge "shraybitish" (desk) at the chain's Rockefeller Center, NY, flagship store.  While you shop, the staff will recharge your cell phone or Palm Pilot, check your coat, and press your clothes before you leave.
2002 Bloomingdale's opens its new James Bond shops.  The shop features that oh-so-suave Bond lifestyle.
2003 A P. C. Vey cartoon shows a male shopper at a tie counter.  The caption:  "I'm looking for a tie that says I'm not afraid to ride the subway."
2004 Estee Lauder markets a new scent, "Donald Trump, The Fragrance."
2005 Wearing "royt" (red) may give you the game.  When boxers, wrestlers and Taekwondo contestants at the Athens Olympics were randomly assigned either "royt" or "bloy" (blue) uniforms, researchers found that red won more bouts.
"Di shmue" (the rumor) is that Bill Gates will be launching a new moisturizer named "Emale."   :-) "Az es klingt, iz misstomeh chogeh." (When people talk about something, it is probably true.)

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe knows a "dzhentlman" (gentleman) who gets his shirts from England, his shoes from Italy, and his Prozac from Canada.


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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