Everybody got a nickname in the bar down at the proletariat end of Las Olas. On any given night, you could run into Smashley, Joker, Peaches, Red, Roller Girl, Beardy Jon, Cheeto, Natural Bob, Coffee Jon or maybe Squishy. Kuality’s nickname was pronounced “Quality” but spelled with a “k,” for reasons never made entirely clear to me.
Open mic night was run by Don’t-Quit-Your-Day-Job Stu; bartenders included Ginger Cub, Skillet and Picasso. (“Do they call you that because you’re missing an ear?” a young woman who’d had several cocktails once asked Picasso. He was polite enough not to tell her she was thinking of Van Gogh, and that he quite clearly had both his ears.)
I think it was Picasso who, one night when I was settling up, asked if I knew what they called me.
Moi? Uh, Erik, I presume.
He smiled and turned the cash register/computer monitor around so I could see it. There were my several reasonably priced domestic lagers, all listed to somebody named “Paisley.”
Paisley?, I thought. Then I looked down at my shirt. Oh, right.
When it comes to fashion, I like my dress shirts the way I like my Van Halen albums: loud and dated. It is a choice that may make you question how qualified I am to edit this, our fashion issue. You’ll be relieved to know that when it comes to this issue, I offload much of the creative control to people like our immensely talented assistant editor, Gisel Habibnejad, who knows fashion the way I know useless Marlins trivia. Gisel can tell you what to wear this season just as surely as I can tell you that Josh Willingham and Gary Sheffield are tied for third on the Marlins all-time hit-by-pitch list.
Which is not to say I’m going to apologize for all this paisley I wear, mind you. As a native of this colorful Fort Lauderdale jungle, I don’t want to dress like the third Secret Service agent on the left. I like a bit of color.
I also like the bar down at the proletariat end of Las Olas. I don’t normally reveal personal favorite spots in print, but it doesn’t much matter in this particular case. The establishment in question is Two&, the bar and bicycle shop at the east end of Las Olas’ main commercial bit, down by 7-11. It doesn’t matter because as of this month, Two& has closed.
I liked it because it was like me – local and a bit different. It was the kind of place where some sweaty schmo in a paisley shirt could get a couple beers and a nickname rather than a raised eyebrow from a trendier-than-thou server.
So then, fashion advice from your friendly neighborhood editor? In fashion as in bars, there are plenty of dull choices. You be you. For some, that’s a little black dress or a sharp suit. For others, it’s a shirt that looks like an eccentric aunt’s couch. Wear what you like, but wear it because you like it. Put some Two& ethos in your closet.