Last week, in the first installment of Trop Weather Editor Roger Sollenberger’s interview with Club Monaco Man Tom Dibblee, Roger and Tom discussed: pants, fit, weight fluctuation, belt indentation, bodily health, sexual function, shades of khaki, corduroy, bruises, transcendence, and billowy dress shirts.
This week, in the second part of the four-part series, they discuss: boxer shorts, bathing suits, and consistency.
Can you give me a snapshot of a Club Monaco Man at home, in late-morning repose?
I’m sitting here in my studio apartment in East Hollywood, having spilled coffee on my rug but having cleaned it immediately, having left the shades drawn on account of the late-summer heat, even though I wish I could see out my window, because I have a good view, and I’m partial to Southern California’s strange brand of bleached-hazy light. And I’m topless and wearing both boxer shorts and a bathing suit with that meshy underwear inside it.
Boxers under a swimsuit? Isn’t that too much containment? Is this the Club Monaco way?
I know. Even for me, this counts as strange. I acknowledge that bathing suits with meshy underwear inside them weren’t meant to be worn with boxer shorts, and weren’t meant to be worn indoors, for extended periods of time, with no prospect of swimming. But I promise that I have a rational explanation.
Explain, then, please. But keep your promise, and remain within reason.
In 1999, I went to Spain with Jake, the man to whom I address my correspondence, and Zeke, the guy who cut his face on an open car door and just finished directing a movie. While there, I bought a pair of yellow and black Kappa track pants. These, it should go without saying, were the greatest pants I have ever owned, even if they didn’t come from Club Monaco. I could lunge in them. I could stretch in them. I could kick and twist in them. They were comfortable, they allowed for my full physical range of motion, and, of course, in keeping with my Club Monaco Man priorities, they were fashionable: black with yellow naked ladies running down the legs.
But, ten years later, they began to get worn out. Specifically, a hole developed in my sexual region, and also, the elastic waistband lost its ability to hold tension. So I relegated these pants to at-home use only, and I began to wear them only when I write. For this, for sitting in a stationary way, indulging the life of the mind, these pants were perfect. It was like I had my own little secret, like I had a secret scandal, knowing that the literature I was churning was written in a state of near illicit exposure.
Was this a boon in terms of the quality of your writing? Or was the hole an impediment, a distraction?
All was well until the hole got too big. The hole got big enough to fit a basketball through, and this, combined with the dysfunctional elastic, meant that, while wearing these things, if I stood up, they fell down immediately. Like, I’m sitting on my couch, churning out the Club Monaco of prose, milking the clothing store vein, churning and milking, making butter, and then I stand up and my pants drop to the floor, and I either can pick them up and hold them and carry them with me to the kitchen, or I can step out of them and let them be. And more often than not, I let them be. So, before long, these pants became a pile of fabric on the floor, too dysfunctional even for churning out literature in the privacy of my own home.
Sitting around your apartment in your underwear until late in the morning on a near daily basis doesn’t exactly seem consistent with the Club Monaco way.
You’re right. I became a guy who sat on the couch wearing only boxers. And let me tell you something. I know from experience that’s not the kind of guy you want to be. You don’t want to be the kind of guy who lives in a studio—even one with exposed brick—with the shades drawn wearing nothing but boxers all day. That’s just not right. It’s not the Club Monaco way at all. It was inconsistent. I was one thing in private and another in public—boxers on the couch, tailored chinos on the street. I suffered from internal conflict. I had to make a change, and for the last few weeks or so, I’ve been at a crossroads. Every morning, I’ve been waking up, trying to figure out what to wear while sitting on the couch so that I’m not wearing just boxers. And today, I chose the bathing suit. I looked in my closet and thought, “Well this bathing suit doesn’t really count as real clothes, so maybe it’ll satisfy that at-home only, just-for-me feeling the Kappas had.” Hence, boxers in my bathing suit. It’s not Monaco, but nobody can see me here.
Part Three of our Club Monaco Man interview will run next week in The Weather.
Tom Dibblee is Trop’s editor. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and his nonfiction has appeared in Pacific Standard, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Point. He lives in Los Angeles.
Roger is a composition teacher at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. He's working on his first novel, and would like to tell you all about it.