Before today, the only reason to wear a monocle was solely so the toffy-nosed lord of the manor in Nether Wallop could allow it to drop in abject surprise at the brigadier’s naff shenanigans on the Brompton Road. But now eyeglass maker Warby Parker has fulfilled every monocle-yearning hipster’s dreams. Currently the Warby Parker monocle is available only in Whisky Tortoise, but fear not, it will soon come in Barrel-Aged Scotch Tortoise and Locally-Produced Small-Batch Pickled Bourbon Tortoise. No longer will the hipster’s mustache spend lonely, smirking hours on its hipster’s face. Now it will have a monocle for company and together they shall share a life of irony.
Soon, a pop-up magazine called Mustaches & Monocles will appear.
Pop-up restaurants have taken over all the alleys, so Mustaches & Monocles will be sold in racks on specially-designated manhole covers and will be timed to the ebb and flow of rush hour. Only insiders will know during which traffic lights they’ll appear. This magazine will be hand-cranked on mimeograph machines, and its editors will be finely-muscled from the cranking and high from the fumes. The magazine will be printed on recycled pink timed tests donated by PS 198 after stash of them was discovered in a box marked “From the 80s.” Some tests will be addition. Others will be multiplication. The nines, chiefly.
You will know Mustaches & Monocles readers by the ink smears on their hands that will, at first, be worn like every other hipster badge. Loud, proud, but also in a “don’t look at me” way. The Stained Ones won’t wash their hands. They’ll casually lay their hands, palms up, on burnished bar tables as they sip preserved rhubarb shrub poured over handmade ice in the shape of triangles.
They’ll want you to ask about their ink stains.
And then they’ll curl their lip at you, both because you asked and because it’s the only way to keep their monocle in when attempting to use any other muscle in their face.
For a time, these hipsters will become uncharacteristically friendly. They’ll yell out and wave at you from across the street, spreading wide their mimeographed ink-stained fingers. Displaying – nay, reveling — in their Mustaches & Monocles ink. Goth parfumerie Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab will offer a 5 mL limited edition scent called, simply, “Ink.” It will smell of machine oil, world-weariness, and artisanal typewriter ribbon.
But then, everyone will start reading Mustaches & Monocles and everyone will have ink-stained hands.
To keep the hipsters on the cutting edge of stuff no one else really wants to do, the Mustache & Monocle editors will start providing gloves with which their earliest subscribers can handle the ink-smeared pages.
They will be soft gloves. Made from the wool of urban sheep the Mustaches & Monocles copy editor herds in her backyard. They will be black gloves. Dyed with boot blacking dye.
The glut of boot blacking dye at the head Mustaches & Monocles manhole cover will start a wave of hipsters who self-polish their thirteen pairs of Converse, but it won’t last very long.
Instead, the trendier and more retro-thinking Mustache & Monocle readers will start ironing the magazine to set the ink the way butlers did in the great English houses. Bed, Bath, and Beyond will put out special-edition irons and snag a famous butler as their infomercial spokesperson. They’ll try to get Downton Abbey’s Mr. Carson, but they’ll have to settle for Daniel Davis from The Nanny.
The campaign will fail because hipsters loudly don’t have televisions. And even if they did care about TV butlers, Mr. Belvedere would be way more retro cool, anyway. The campaign will also fail because the Bed, Bath, and Beyond marketing team wouldn’t foresee the hipster aversion to electricity. Ebay and Etsy will be plundered for irons that are rustically heated on a stove or over an open flame.
Eventually, a rash of “Monocle Eye” will break out among the hipsters, and the worst of it will produce irreversible dents just below the hipster’s threaded eyebrows. Discarded monocles will grow dusty on dressers or get scratched in Dopp kits while everyone wonders how the sight in their friend’s one eye suddenly improved.
Mustaches & Monocles will fold after three issues. The ink stains will never fade.
The lorgnette is just around the corner.
Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic for Avidly!