Things to beguile the charmless (Part 3)

Sunday 4 December 2011, 6.00am HKT

(Continued from Part 2)

WITH BARELY THREE WEEKS LEFT for the Christmas buying period (a.k.a. the pagan cash-elimination festival), getting just the bare mininum of charms is, well, frankly, bare and minimum. You might just have to offer up some sacrificial baring to make up for your threadbare offering.

Dingly-danglies to add to

The ‘rule’ is to add a charm to the bracelet with every passing of a significant event. The event doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your life. For instance, you can get a spaceship for having witnessed or lived through the 1969 moon landing. Decide for yourself what ‘significant’ means.

Basic protips

Pewter turtle charm, goldplated, US$1.59

4. WHERE TO BUY. Everywhere, basically. Cheap as well as expensive charms are sold everywhere in North America and Europe. In Asia, Westernised designs tend to be pricier and Oriental ones cheaper. For vintage charms, I haven’t figured out a pattern yet, but it seems the United Kingdom and the Eastern seaboard of the USA are good bets. This is probably because the fat and ageing British women dig charm bracelets, and that somehow gets carried over to fat and ageing American women. Women and cowgirls in the Southern states of the USA seem quite a bit taken to wearing charms too, so that’s another place to look.

5. CONVERSIONS. Earrings often get converted into dingly-danglies, and vice versa. If you can’t find a particular charm design, consider improvising a pair of earrings. Very often that works out much cheaper than buying a charm of your desired design.

6. FIRST PET. Always a winner with the girls. Most of us will have had some sort of miserable, misbegotten creature as a pet — starved and cold, unloved and forgotten like Patroclus — that ended up being killed and dismembered (or dismembered and then killed) during our childhood years. My first pet was a turtle (never starved, unloved, ‘liquidated’ or dismembered), so there.

7. SIGNATURE HOBBY. Actually, most of us have no hobbies (apart from watching Internet porn or bickering on chat forums). Some bikers might find a bicycle charm rather quaint and humorous, a good play on the word ‘biker.’ Try a club or a baseball bat if aggravated assault happens to be your pastime. Camwhoring doesn’t count.

8. FIRST-EVER TRIP AWAY. That is, away from your hometown or country. The birthplace advice (in Part 2) applies here also — be imaginative. My first-ever trip away was to Singapore, so it had to be a merlion, mainly because a durian charm is cannot be had for love nor money. Sorry, I can’t help you if your first trip was to Duluth, Wisconsin/Minnesota (pop. 86,265).

Peace sign charm, US$2.07

9. RELIGION. Oooh, danger. Also rather goes against the whole idea of charms (being essentially paganistic). A string of Catholic and Protestant crosses, Stars of David, Buddhist swastikas and Muslim crescent moons just don’t have the same cachet as — well — anything else. These charms unnerve airport security as well. Nothing against religion, but just sayin’, y’know.

10. CHARM FOR EVERY PLACE LIVED. Another winning formula. You decide on the time limit to qualify. I set mine at three months. See Part 4 later for my complete lineup.

11. JOBS. This could be hilarious. If you belong to the Heroic Generation (prewar-born) with one single lifetime job, it could be kind of dull and one-dimensional, but good for epic bragging. If you’ve been (or are) a porn star, consider getting the cunning linguist charm mentioned before in Part 1.

'Writers Block' - a vintage solid sterling silver typewriter charm with moving parts - perfect for bloggers like you and me

Advanced protips

Vintage silver garage charm with car, 4.2 g, 10x15mm, £25

12. PHYSICAL ENDOWMENT. Could be risqué, could be insulting, but definitely entertaining. If you’re born with rabbit-like feet (like The Naked Listener), slender and bony, try the opposite and get a chubby or clubby foot charm. If you’re talented (big breasts = ‘balcony’) or have assets (big bum = ‘garage’) or long legs (‘electric pylons’), you could try something more pornographic.

(Quality of life just improved knowing you’re into balconies, garages and electric pylons.)

13. GAMBLERS. For Americ*nts and Eurofags, the choice is obvious and one-dimensional: a pair of dices, playing cards, a roulette wheel, horses, dogs, a whistle (for rigging ball games), etc. For Far Easterners, get him or her a shark’s tooth (but not a shark’s fin), a mahjong tile or a moneybag. Don’t ever give a book charm to a gambler (it means to lose big time).

14. NATIONALITY. This isn’t so straightforward as it seems. What do you get for a multi-passport holder? What to get for an American who’s of (say) Irish-Swedish-Puerto Rican-Navajo extraction? Faced with a ‘multi’ (a ‘hapa’), at least you could settle on one choice out of many.

15. KICKS. What pleases you? What riles him or her? Is he easily fascinated by colour and motion (as do I)? Is she a grammarfag? Into nursery rhymes? Dig avoidance personality disorder? Charms for kicks can really test your imaginative talents to the hilt.

Here is a very rare silver charm dating from around the 1960s. This articulated charm is of a couple in a four-poster bed. Beneath the bed is a lever that can be used to sit the couple up and down. This is quite a large-sized charm, measuring about 17mm wide. From Antiques Avenue in the UK, priced £38 (US$59) plus 17.5% VAT.

16. TIN OPENER. A can opener in American English. Perfect for the lad who’s had his first virginal experience (the girl, not necessarily the boy himself). If she’s lost it, give her a tin opener too. Some people never get a tin opener, sad but true.

Are you an 'opened tin'? Miss Bibi sodacan liptop charm, silver, £115

The lemons (what to avoid)

17. NUMERAL 4, or anything in fours or two pairs. Applies to all Asians, because ‘4’ sounds like ‘death’ in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and many other seemingly fictitious Asian languages. It’s not superstition, not when you get ‘the finger’ in return.

This '4' is okay. Clover charm, US$23.28

18. NUMERAL 7. It might mean ‘seven heaven’ to Yanks and Eurinals, but ‘7’ signifies the obligatory postmortem vigil that nearly every Asian must go through after a death in the family. A ‘7-11’ charm is considered fothermucking bad taste to most Far Easterners.

19. NUMERAL 9. The most dangerous number in Western horoscope. Never mind, because you could always excuse it as meaning ‘blissful happiness’ (as in the 1946 phrase ‘up/floating on cloud nine’).

20. NUMERAL 13. Another tricky bastard. It’s lucky for some (like yours truly), but the plague for others. Jewish boys (and increasingly girls as well) on reaching age 13 go through bar mitzvah, but I don’t reckon they’ll take a ’13’ charm for that.

21. NUMERAL 14. Worse than ‘4’ and definitely a no-fly zone for all Asians. It sounds like ‘dead for sure’ or ‘dies for sure’ in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.

22. SCISSORS, KNIVES, SWORDS. Don’t. They mean severing of friendship or relationship. Some moronic Far Easterners (mostly Chinese) excuse it as meaning ‘sharp,’ which rhymes with lei (‘lucky’). It doesn’t mean what you think it means, you idiot.

23. SHOES. Don’t give to Chinese, especially newborns. It’ll be misinterpreted as a curse, consigning the baby to a ever-roving life of hardship. Try boots instead. Emperor Caligula (his name meant ‘boots’) was one fearsome and lucky dude, notwithstanding his cruelty and madness.

24. TURD, POOP. Self-explanatory.

25. CLOCKS. This is tricky. Srsly. Old-fashioned Chinese, Japanese and Koreans avoid giving gifts of timepieces or things of that shape. The Chinese phrase ‘soong joong’ (‘delivering clock’) rhymes with that for ‘funeral passage.’ The less superstitious among them are fine with clock-shaped charms, mainly because (a) they’re not actually timepieces and (b) charms are expensive. In any case, clock charms could be misinterpreted as ‘your time’s up, mate.’

What exactly are you trying to say?

N.B. You will have noticed that Asians (mostly Chinese) have lots of aversions and disinclinations. Which is why gift-giving in Chinese culture is so very important, mainly because it shows the massive effort of will and care that have to be taken in selecting gifts.

* * *

Continues on Part 4

The Naked Listener’s very own lineup of charms and barms

* * *

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.

Images: Turtle and peace sign charms via a2z charms ♦ ‘Writers Block’ typewriter charm via Adorn London ♦ Garage charm via True Vintage Jewellery UK ♦ Can top charm via Cure UK ♦ Clover charm via Cheap Charms ♦ Bed couple charm via Antiques Avenue ♦ Poop charm via Etsy.

2 Responses to “Things to beguile the charmless (Part 3)”

  1. James said

    Parts 1-3 were great! Thanks for writing and sharing it with us.

    I want to read part 4.

    Make with the writing and posting already.


Comments are closed.

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