Magic is meant to inspire awe. It should suspend your disbelief and make you question all that is true in the world. At the Magic Castle in Hollywood they achieve these results in stupefying fashion. I’m rendered speechless not by any sleight of hand, but rather a wardrobe slight from one of the most inept managers upholding the silliest dress code ever created.
One must be invited by a member of the castle to enjoy the entertainment. This part of the journey is almost charming if you consider e-mailing random magicians and pretending to have seen their act in order to get an invite a good use of your time. I finally secure an invite through a friend of a friend and set up the date.
The evening is a surprise for my lady who mentioned in passing months earlier she wanted to go really badly. (Shout out to myself for remembering that) We arrive early at the valet. I take one step out of the car and the valet asks if I have read the dress code. I am confused because I’m dressed like a motherfucking GQ model, I reply yes; in fact I read it twice. He cringes and says I cannot come in dressed like that. Dressed like what? The poster boy for welldressedman.com? No, he informs me they will not be able to accept my pants. I am unaware my pants sent in an application, but just to clarify why will my pants not be accepted here? Here is a brief excerpt of how the next 5 minutes went.“Well sir, they are denim-like.”
“What? But they aren’t denim.”
“Yes, but they are denim-like. They have rivets”
“What did you just say to me?”
He gets the manager who comes out and also informs me my pants will not be accepted.
“I am sorry to inform you we cannot accept your pants. They are denim-like.”
“But they aren’t denim! They are cotton twill. It’s a completely different weave! I don’t understand what the problem is?”
“Well they have rivets.”
“If one more person says fucking rivets…”
I look over at my date, she can see things are getting out of hand, and to be honest if she was not with me I would have told the guy to fuck off and left. There is nowhere in the dress code that states pants can’t have rivets. Have a look for yourself. There is, however, a few things that they do accept that I think will give you a good idea of what kind of institution this place is.
DRESS CODE FOR EVENING GUESTS:
- Think business attire.
- Men must be in coat and tie (standard or bow tie)
- Exceptions to the “tie rule” are: turtlenecks (that can be folded over), bolo ties, ascots, jeweled collars, ruffled collars and banded collars.
- Military Dress (no fatigues), ethnic and/or religious attire will also be allowed.
- No zippered jackets, outdoor jackets, polo shirts, t-shirts, denim (or colored denim), shorts, sandals, flip flops, sneakers or sneaker-like shoes are allowed.
- Leather jackets (with buttons) and leather pants are allowed.
- No casual attire will be allowed.
Two very important things to note on this list: Turtlenecks (that can be folded over) and leather jackets (with buttons) and leather pants ARE allowed, but god forbid your H&M twill pants have a couple rivets on them so help you Jesus and the divine power! I repeat. TURTLENECKS….THEN IN PARENTHESIS (THAT CAN BE FOLDED OVER!) End of discussion.
After calming down a tad, I ask what the solution is. He first displays a bit of competence and says he will go check if there are some pants I can borrow. Fine. This kind gesture is quickly destroyed when he comes back out and tells me in a sarcastic tone that they need to be taken to the cleaners because, “You don’t even want to know what happened to them.” Did someone shit in them? It’s shit isn’t it? No? Can I put them on past my knees? Then let me in to this goddamn castle!
His second managerial gem is to suggest I go back home and change pants. It’s 6 pm in LA on a weekday. Kindly go fuck yourself. The final solution is to go to H&M down the road and buy new pants. I swallowed my pride like a porn star and set off to buy a new pair, while my date waits inside.
I lumber down the hill in my suit, neck sweat on full blast when I get a call from my girl. They don’t have my reservation for dinner. After some guidance on my part and some master sleuthing on his behalf, he determines the reservation is under my name. Yes, of course it is….I don’t even know what to say to that. That’s not the first name you check? I ask if I may return to my quest to buy new pants. He assures me we are on for the 8 PM dinner and show. Wonderful.
I will give everybody one guess what happens when I get to the H&M. They only have denim pants in the entire store, riveted up the wazoo. I almost collapse in frustration, but keep it together long enough to ask the salesmen if I can buy his slacks. He contemplates calling the police, but ultimately mentions that they may have one pair by the mannequin. I slowly walk over to the pale hipster and find a pair of black dress pants discarded by the window. I pray to Hedi Slimane I can at least pull them up around my formidable thighs. 34/32’s. They won’t zip up, but they will do just fine for a night of magic.
I return to the Magic Castle with my mismatched dress slacks, a sweaty mess with my evil no good cotton twill denim-like riveted pants in hand. I lock them in my car and finally enter the hallowed mansion. After one beer my anger subsides and I enjoy the night of talented magicians. Despite the hoop jumping, I will be back, and when I do I will be in a bedazzled tuxedo with rivets, and a turtleneck that doesn’t fold over.