There have been some remarkable deals struck over our country’s history. From the Dutch purchasing the island of Manhattan for about twenty-five dollars in trinkets from the local Native American tribe, to the supposed contract between the original cookie manufacturer and Girls Scouts of America when it came to their legendary Girl Scout Cookies, to that of the Silna brothers and their agreement with the NBA when it came to the league’s television revenues. Check out ESPN’s 30 For 30 on these guys if you want to delve in deeper on this deal. Three unbelievably one-sided deals.
There is one though that may have surpassed them all. A deal that very few people know about. Could it be urban legend? I guess. But I don’t think so. I feel like this contract and agreement instead was done not in pen or on paper but rather based on one’s word and honor. Furthermore, the fact that there exists surprisingly little paperwork I think reinforces this point. I myself have searched the internet countless hours, been to the public library and inquired at the reference desk, sought any and all public records and have even contacted each of my two U.S. Senators from the Empire state on this matter. And guess what? Nothing. Like trying to find Mike Brady style blueprints on Area 51 or Google searching “Tiananmen Square Massacre” while sitting at table in a Shanghai café. It becomes an exercise in the very definition of futility. And yet I know a remarkable deal was struck, at some point in the past. It had to have been. The evidence is all over the place.
The fact is, that if one were to go into any men’s locker room of any private country club across this great nation of ours I would bet a year of my salary that one would find, tucked somewhere near the multitude of sinks and counters, usually opposite of the showers Clubman after shave lotion by Pinaud. It’s an automatic. Clubman and country clubs are like peanut butter and jelly. When you find one, you will find another. And so I wonder if there is some rule, some obscure oral tradition like charter stipulating that in order for a country club to come into being it is required that said club be well stocked in Clubman after shave lotion. Really this seems to make total sense. Indeed, if one were stop and really think about it this premise is not shocking- after all, most clubs are steeped in tradition and custom, often doing things and having things done a certain way not because there exists a compelling reason, but merely because “well, that’s how we’ve always done things around here.” It should be noted that country clubs are not alone in this mindset, many institutions and households for that matter follow this pattern of behavior.
“Why do we have so many boxes of Clubman after shave lotion by Pinaud?”
“The Clubman. I opened multiple storage closets and low and behold there are boxes of the stuff. From floor to ceiling. Specifically, the after shave lotion, although a few boxes of the talc are in there too. I think we are covered through this century.”
“Well, that’s how we’ve always done things around here.”
“Jesus, might help explain why members’ assessments go up each year.”
I don’t know but perhaps the answer dates back to the 1790s and the days of the early republic. Mere speculation on my part but hear me out on this one. The French signed an alliance with America back in 1778 during the Revolution, a military alliance that of course helped us defeat the British- their nemesis. In 1794, the United States signed Jay’s Treaty with the British sparking major outcries by the French, specifically that this treaty violated our 1778 treaty with them. My theory suggests that in order to assuage French resentment and anger America agreed to carry Clubman after shave lotion in all country clubs for in perpetuity. At first thought a bit silly but certainly not out of the realm. Truly, a historical one-sided deal that you won’t find in any school textbook!
This theory also becomes more acceptable when one realizes that no one uses the stuff under the age of 75. Now I know country clubs are citadels of white men ages 75 and older which further makes my point but a country club’s membership as a whole is a demographic far from what I believe is Clubman’s target consumer. I am in my early forties and my anecdotal evidence demonstrates that no one is lathering up with Clubman in my age demographic or younger. . .
In full disclosure, there was a brief time in my life when I would wear Clubman on occasion. Not proud of it but the experience did deliver a true story and memory that I will never forget and forced me to reevaluate my after shave lotion selection as a result. Today I don’t use any after shave at all.
In one instance after a wedding years ago that my entire family attended out of town I had left my dress loafers and bathroom bag mistakenly with my father’s luggage. In my bathroom bag I had Clubman after shave lotion which leaked and somehow got into my loafers. My father, not a Clubman guy by any stretch of the imagination came by and dropped off my stuff. Handing it all over he said “Here’s your bathroom stuff and your loafers. You may want to leave your loafers outside for a bit because they smell like a French whore.”
Without my theory the only plausible explanation is the Clubman sales rep. is the greatest salesman of all time. In an age when having a face properly moisturized is the standard bearer for dermatological health, the Clubman sales rep. says “No way. . . why have a healthy face? Instead, let’s completely dry out your face with enough alcohol to fail a sobriety checkpoint.”
From the Dutch in Manhattan, to Girl Scout Cookies, to the Silna brothers and now Clubman. Who knew, right?. . .
The benchmarks for some of the greatest deals in modern history.