21 years less a day

Many things are arbitrary. Only recently for example I discovered to my initial displeasure that a pair of Oliver Peoples spectacles I had purchased at a local optometrist’s boutique were described on the manufacturer’s web site as for “Women”.  Seriously?  How did they decide that?

(Ezelle) inspired by the original metal OP-4, the distinctive curves and glass lenses of this feminine sunglass offers a progressive, polished look.

I wrote to the “Concierge” on the manufacturer’s web site enquiring about the designation (and also to confirm where the frames were made in light of their noble proclamation of being a Californian company).  Below is the reply I received.

Hello LG,

Thanks for your e-mail. I would say that the assignment of the women’s sunglass for the Ezelle is fairly arbitrary. The frames are made in Italy, however the company is based in California.

Best regards,
Oliver Peoples Concierge
Oliver Peoples | Paul Smith Spectacles | Oliver Peoples West

Ezelle Sunglasses for Women

Not to put too fine a point on it, here is what I believe to be an almost identical model made by the same manufacturer but which (apart from the metal temples) is curiously denoted for “Men”. Both models sport the distinctive flexible nose pads.

Executive II Sun for Men

The Men’s pair costs more than the Women’s model, I’m guessing because of the brushed silver temples. Otherwise I maintain that the distinction between the two is one without a difference though my persistent examination does reveal that the extremities at the hinges are more rounded on the Women’s model if that counts for anything – perhaps the “softer” touch, geez! And I refuse to proclaim that I am in the process of “transitioning” for having unwittingly purchased the Ezelle model.  But it still smarts.

I have worn eye glasses since I was ten years of age and purchased zillions of frames since then. I have learned that if I like the frames and if they “fit” securely right off the rack (that is, without any adjustment) then I buy them. Nonetheless in this instance my seemingly hardened habit fell subject to odd scrutiny as a result this unanticipated – and frankly unwelcome – gender issue.  Was I missing something?  Was there some subtlety I had overlooked in my instinctive purpose?  I couldn’t find anything that jumped out at me. I even compared the “sizing” details of the two frames and again the differences were minimal and negligible in my opinion.


Eye: 51
Bridge: 21
Temple: 145

Executive II Sun:

Eye: 47
Bridge: 21
Temple: 140

What lingered as an annoyance was the persuasiveness of marketing generally. This escalated to a broadside upon my personal independence. Was I about to submit to the decision of faceless persons regarding the propriety of my retail choice? Did it even matter if the article were for “Women”?  In this age of Trumpism would I venture to contaminate my private discretion with sexism?

NAME: Ezelle

GENDER: Unisex (Male and Female)

USAGE: Ezelle is not a popular first name. It is more often used as a unisex (male and female) name.

People having the name Ezelle are in general originating from United States of America.

These rants are now only mildly entertaining. They are certainly no longer moot as I have  abandoned the prospect of cancelling my order (I mean, really, how could I blame the clerk who so shamelessly promoted my choice in the first place). Besides I wouldn’t care to resile from a contractual obligation on the basis of an issue of this nature, it’s just too esoteric to have any legal substance whatsoever.

All of which brings me belatedly to the point of this article, “21 years less a day“.  I have latched onto that peculiar expression because it has legal significance and figured memorably in my 40-year practice as a real estate lawyer. The expression is an arbitrary time limit chosen by the legislators of the Province of Ontario by and with the consent of Her Majesty. It circumscribes the conveyance of a partial interest in land without government consent. In practical terms it addresses the time beyond which subdivision control of land applies. My specific interest in the clause in this instance is quite unrelated to either land or law.  Indeed its materiality is strictly personal and is only of any consequence because it references 21 years. Not insignificantly the period of 21 years marks the period beyond which authentication of an interest either lapses or occurs.

I can report that it was 21 years less a day that I launched what has since proven to be the best 21 years of my life. This is a forceful comparative assessment because there is virtually nothing about my entire life of 68 years which was unsatisfactory, by which I mean that I have no reason to complain. I have always felt that life has been good to me.  However having said that I also firmly believe that the last 21 years of my life have been especially idyllic. To characterize that period any differently would require me to be far more poetic than I am.  I can only say those years were the best! And if it is not already apparent the reason is my partner in crime. It pleases me to say that unlike many people whom I know, he and I have been inseparable for the last 21 years. For some others it might be considered an encumbrance but for me it is an integral credential. In defence of the recognizable need for individuality and private time I can say that even when we’re together our inherent bloody-mindedness preserves any identity which we might otherwise threaten to compromise. Perhaps it assists that our confederacy arose late in life (I was 47 years old) and apparently our curmudgeonly habits had already taken hold.

When chewing upon this recapitulation I thought about rehashing the singular events of the era. I concluded however that to do so would be tiresome and inadvertently blur the more vital features of the relationship.  While I won’t deny that our many travels together throughout the world – from the Caribbean to the Mayan Riviera to Montepulciano to Sardinia – were marvellous, what makes those events so memorable and savoury was the undiluted essence of the friendship. Insinuating every moment, every particle, of the league was an unmistakeable mutual nourishment and support. I can’t pretend that this theme was forever either obvious or paramount but it unquestionably buoyed the association. It is our fallback feature.

I suspect that many people who have fiery and continuing relationships privately harbour an element of foolishness and silliness.  I know we do.  We have adopted stage-like mannerisms to punctuate our not infrequent lapse into tomfoolery. Humour is not lost upon us. Similarly we manifest our joint affection for life and living by embracing when possible the opportunity for novelty and adventure. And perhaps most important we have resigned ourselves to the unvarnished truths of life and of ourselves, sometimes less than complimentary or encouraging admissions. It is perhaps a judicious interpretation of life that one mustn’t avoid its pressing realities. I hasten to add that we share many of the other cherished characteristics of a strong alliance; namely, courtesy, deference, hospitality, fidelity, care, intuition and loyalty.

February 24, 1996