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Guide to Men’s Bracelets

Under the title “Everything To Ever Know About ‘Man Bracelets,'” the Esquire Style Blog links to a New York Magazine feature on “Bracelets Through the Ages” featuring this diagram:

It advises, “Bracelets are back in for dudes, fueling a surge in men’s accessories that has forecasters predicting twenty-year sales highs. As the rich history of male wrist adornment shows, Allen Iverson, James Dean, and Gork the Caveman would approve.”

Uh huh.

Let me be clear. There are three and only three circumstances under which a man may wear a bracelet.

1. Medical necessity. If the staff at the hospital won’t allow you to have surgery without a plastic bracelet, put on the bracelet. Similarly, if you have a life threatening medical condition and need to alert the EMTs to it in case they happen to find you unconscious somewhere, you may wear a bracelet serving that function. In this case, however, weigh the likelihood of EMTs finding you unconscious somewhere.

2. Fatherhood. If your child made a bracelet for you and gave it to you as a present in the past three days, you are permitted to wear said bracelet.

3. Warrior solidarity. If your bracelet has the name of an American serviceman missing in action engraved on it, you may wear it until he makes it home.

 

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. You forgot one.

    4. Arrested.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  2. John Burgess says:

    Back in the early 70s, a girlfriend gave me a bracelet as a token of affection. I wore it when we were together and at no other time. The bracelet, made of pewter, broke about a week after we broke up. It knew how wrong it all was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. My kids (all boys) have been into bracelets of late. Mostly of the WWJD/Livestrong variety but also sillybands. My oldest (15) has one like the middle one of the last group–I have no idea what to call it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Tillman says:

    Reminds me of that Mitch Hedburg joke about cranial accessories.

    I just wear a watch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Chefmarty says:

    You forgot when you need that little color-coded one to prove drinking age at many establishments & festivals…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Tommy Pillfinger says:

    Next On OTB/Lifestyle…The Man Purse! Briefcases Gone Wild!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. rodney dill says:

    2. Fatherhood. If your child made a bracelet for you and gave it to you as a present in the past three days, you are permitted to wear said bracelet.

    I claim the grandfather clause on that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    There are NO circumstances in which a man wears a bracelet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  9. Franklin says:

    First off, I only clicked on this post because it’s March and I thought it said “Guide to Men’s Brackets”.

    Second, I’ve really only worn one bracelet that I can remember, a Livestrong one. This was by request of an associate recovering from cancer, so I think it was okay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    1. Medical necessity. If the staff at the hospital won’t allow you to have surgery without a plastic bracelet, put on the bracelet. Similarly, if you have a life threatening medical condition and need to alert the EMTs to it in case they happen to find you unconscious somewhere, you may wear a bracelet serving that function. In this case, however, weigh the likelihood of EMTs finding you unconscious somewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Let me be clear. There are three and only three circumstances under which a man may wear a bracelet.

    Now I want a bracelet just to show I’m not letting myself by constrained by other people’s narrow definitions of manhood.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  12. Gromitt Gunn says:

    1. Medical necessity. If the staff at the hospital won’t allow you to have surgery without a plastic bracelet, put on the bracelet. Similarly, if you have a life threatening medical condition and need to alert the EMTs to it in case they happen to find you unconscious somewhere, you may wear a bracelet serving that function. In this case, however, weigh the likelihood of EMTs finding you unconscious somewhere.

    Addendum: If you have any medical condition where a cop could possibly find a way to decide you are drunk and/or incoherent and are therefore resisting arrest, wear a bracelet. Common example: uncontrolled diabetics who appear drunk and end up tased, beaten, or killed by Officer Friendly and His Band of Merry Thugs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. James Joyner says:

    @rodney dill: Waiver granted.

    @Franklin: Consider it a corollary to the medical necessity rule.

    @Gromitt Gunn: Ditto.

    @Stormy Dragon: It’s not so much that wearing a bracelet is unmanly–Mr. T, for example, wears a bracelet–as that bracelets are not acceptable gentleman’s clothing. Indeed, accessories beyond tie clasps, military lapel pins, watches, and wedding rings are generally frowned upon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  14. Tano says:

    Indeed, accessories beyond tie clasps, military lapel pins, watches, and wedding rings are generally frowned upon.

    By whom, pray tell? And why should anyone change their behavior because someone, somewhere is frowning? Even if it is many people.

    Kinda funny to see someone who so values “freedom” in some contexts be an agent of conformity-enforcement in other senses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    Indeed, accessories beyond tie clasps, military lapel pins, watches, and wedding rings are generally frowned upon.

    Actually lapel pins and tie pins are bit tacky. The only jewelry men should wear are a wristwatch (daddy’s watch and chain is a slightly eccentric alternative) and cufflinks (quiet). Wedding rings only make it through because of the power of the American matriarchy. Everything else belongs in the bling department.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  16. @James Joyner:

    Depends on the setting. If it’s the day of the big meeting at work, then yeah, putting a bracelet on with your formal suit is a bad idea. On the other hand, if I’m on my was to the bar in jeans and a leather jacket, a bracelet isn’t going to look out of place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I actually forget about cuff links as “jewelry,” even though I wear them regularly. I’m generally stopped wearing my wristwatch, since I always have my iPhone and am usually in front of a computer. I occasionally wear a miniature Bronze Star pin on the lapel. The tie bar has come back in a big way but I find them annoying to wear.

    @Stormy Dragon: @Tano: This is mostly tongue-in-cheek. Certainly, nobody’s arguing that the state should mandate this policy. Still, I think it looks tacky for grown mean to wear yarn around their wrists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My oldest (15) has one like the middle one of the last group–I have no idea what to call it.

    Adolescence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  19. @James Joyner: Same here with a watch–I always have the phone, so use it as a “pocket watch” of sorts and since I used to take my watch off and put it on the podium during lectures, the phone is actually more convenient in that regard.

    @de stijl: Indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    On the other hand, if I’m on my was to the bar in jeans and a leather jacket, a bracelet isn’t going to look out of place.

    Very rhinestone cowboy.

    James Joyner says:
    Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 14:07

    When it comes to male jewelry less is more is definitely the rule.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  21. Dick Tracy says:

    “LOOK OUT Pruneface! You can’t escape me and my 2-WAY WRIST RADIO”

    http://www.hakes.com/item.asp?Auction=198&ItemNo=82869

    $241.58!!! Sure wish my mom hadn’t thrown mine out!
    ernie

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. James says:

    What about Sikhs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  23. ck says:

    @James Joyner:

    Still, I think it looks tacky for grown mean to wear yarn around their wrists.

    Is is tacky for grown women to wear yarn around their wrists? If yes, then this isn’t specifically a men’s issue at all. If no, why the gender distinction?

    Sorry if I’m being overly serious about a tongue-in-cheek post, but it seems that the only reason we find any of this funny is a disturbing undercurrent of “men shouldn’t do things that women do”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Tano says:

    @James Joyner:

    This is mostly tongue-in-cheek.

    I was hoping so, but it didn’t sound that way…

    Certainly, nobody’s arguing that the state should mandate this policy.

    That is interesting. Are you one who believes that the state is the only source of power that can smother freedom?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. James Joyner says:

    @James: I suppose we can give them a warrior solidarity exemption, along with Klingons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. DRS says:

    Has your daughter made you a bracelet yet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. James Joyner says:

    @DRS: Not yet, but she’s barely 3. That day’s coming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. They do have the paracord survival bracelets in their graphic. That’s one I have seen trending.

    It is actually good to carry cord in the back-country, but well, I guess it was predictable that it would be come city fashion. Be sure to wear it with your hiking boots and down jacket as you ride the subway.

    (I do not wear a bracelet backpacking, I carry 50 feet of spectra-cord at 0.88 oz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. John Burgess says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I’ve been to events where the dress advisory also calls for medals. Does that pass muster?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. John Burgess says:

    I should have added that they were UK royal events. I have to cede Elizabeth Regina the role of setter of standards at her events, in her country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Septimius says:

    What about the Chi Chi Rodriguez Energy Band?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. James says:

    @James Joyner: I am going to assume, Dr. Joyner, that you are not aware that Sikhism is a real religion when you compared them to Klingons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. James Joyner says:

    @James: Roddenberry made up the Klingons almost 50 years ago. Guru Nanak Dev made up Sikhism a few years before that. What’s your point?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  34. James says:

    @James Joyner: Ok I forgive you. I’m not sure what you’re thinking of but Sikhism is an Indian religion that dates back centuries and one of the distinguishing items of a Sikh male is an iron bracelet.

    It’s also the world’s 5th largest religion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. James says:

    @James Joyner: I just looked up Guru Nanak Dev. He died in 1539. I wasn’t aware Gene Roddenberry was that old.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    @John Burgess:

    I’ve been to events where the dress advisory also calls for medals. Does that pass muster?

    Medals are not jewellry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3