While casting about earlier in the week for something different to do with my Saturday night, I received this notice in my email:

Join fellow corduroyficionados and spend an evening waxing poetic on the wide (or narrow!) world of wale. The Corduroy Appreciation Club meets tonight (11.11: the date that most closely resembles corduroy, naturally) to present its annual awards in Exemplary Usage of Corduroy and share the ‘roy-inspired art and music of both local amateurs and renowned professionals. Author, storyteller — and apparently, ridged-fabric enthusiast — Jonathan Ames gives the keynote address, and the club provides complimentary libations throughout the evening. All you need: an advance ticket and at least two pieces of corduroy clothing.

I do have an extreme fondness both for corduroy and for the books of Jonathan Ames, plus the Montauk Club is just down the street from Will’s house, so I decided that would be our fun of choice for the evening. So last night we strolled down to the grand but slightly threadbare beaux-arts mansion on 8th Avenue to see what sort of people would so publicly declare their love of corduroy. Turns out they were mostly nerdy, shaggy, earnest types in their late 20s to mid-30s; Will theorized that the publishing industry was probably disproportionately represented among the attendees.

The evening got off to an odd start as we were greeted by a camera crew at the front door, part of a documentary film team chronicling the evening. We got our tickets, programs, and name badges and proceeded upstairs to the ballroom for cocktail hour. An older lady was stationed at the door to record–and I’m not kidding here–the type of wale each guest was wearing. Will and I checked in with two items each of medium wale, which was reported as the dominant gauge later in the evening.

At 8:11 (duh) the club speaker reported minutes of the last meeting, held 1|11 (duh again), which were pretty boring. Club founder Miles Rohan then stepped up with his official welcome and State of the Club address, which was pretty amusing, although too long. The membership attempted to vote on the name for their mascot (a whale) and a secret handshake (something vaguely trekkie). The meeting then moved on to Club Rituals, which mainly consisted of talking in silly accents and eating ridged snack foods such as celery sticks and potato chips. Several times, the crowd broke into chants of “Hail the wale!”

We then got a welcome break, at which point I visited the powder room and had a brief chat with guest speaker Emily Gordon of the excellent emdashes.com, and then we reconvened for Jonathan Ames’s reading, which for Will and me was the main draw of the evening. He stepped up with the interesting announcement that this was the first reading he had given drunk in several years (his struggles with alcohol are well documented in his books), but he seemed pretty focused. After heckling an inadequately corded girl and a guy wearing his dad’s 1970s corduroy wedding suit (pictured below), he launched into his famous essay, “I Shat My Pants in the South of France,” in which his favorite green cords met an ignominious end.

After that, there were several other speakers scheduled, but the audience was pretty wound up and the order of the evening was dissolving. We decided we’d had enough, so we stopped briefly to have our portrait taken by Asha Fuller and zip-zipped off to get a late dinner.

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