It's only human nature to be sort of resentful of people that make everything look effortless. They accomplish things ordinary mortals somehow can't; they look good the second they wake up, they glow with the kind of charisma that's reserved for the truly cool, and everyone thinks that everything they do is either awesome or adorable or both.
They're so goddamn perfect, they make you puke a little in your mouth every time you think of them.
So forgive me if I sighed a little in exasperation when a familiar Fedex package greeted my return home a few days ago. I may have even rolled my eyes a bit. But between you and me, that's mostly because handling anything Rapha makes me feel [even now] sort of...frumpy.
Because Rapha is polished. Almost blindingly so. And what's worse is that polished perfection actually delivers.
Which explains even Competitive Cyclist's inability to fully criticize Rapha. Even with the excessively stylish way in which Rapha riders apparently change a flat, and the prevalence of the word "gentleman" in their events [but then again, the Rapha Ladies' Club would sound either like a geriatric brothel or a really skanky male strip club], somehow they're not completely out of touch with reality. That's not to say they're perfect - until they get a women's line in production, even I won't give them that - but given their fairly large range of products, there's almost a surprising amount of thought instilled in each piece.
But lack of a women's line isn't the reason for my frumpy feelings. It's like being lined up next to a supermodel; she can be the nicest thing in the world but she's still a goddamn supermodel. It's not her fault that her biological luck makes me feel depressingly self-conscious, but it still does. So when I opened my presents from Portland to find a Winter Collar and a sick bottle opener from Rapha's "Stars and Watercarriers" event, my first thought was:
"My giant Asian head is not going to fit through this [Winter Collar, not the long chain the bottle opener came with]."
It actually did, though. Quite easily, in fact. And Rapha apparently being scarily clairvoyant, yesterday morning was cold and rainy; the kind of weather where cotton bandannas or silk scarves simply do not cut it. Puddled around my neck, peeking out from the top of my jacket, the Winter Collar's silky wool is about 5 million times better than a heavy, slightly suffocating wool scarf and about 10 million times better than zipping my fleece jacket all the way up and then having the zipper jab that part where my head connects to my throat and consequently feeling like I'm a few sensations away from choking.
But the inadvertent discovery of the Winter Collar's best feature was all courtesy of the annoying rain pelting my face. Out of habit, I pulled up whatever was around my neck to cover the lower half of my face, and if it wasn't for the morning traffic, I would have stopped to gape and caress.
Because unlike the fleece balaclava that I formerly could not live without, the elastic of the Winter Collar doesn't crush my nose - an extremely important fact when you spent your childhood with a clothespin on it to make it as pointy as possible. That might have been enough to win me over completely, but there's more. The almost-sheer weight of the wool means that breathing though the fabric doesn't result in the lower half of your face becoming a suffocating sauna. And unlike that now-detestable balaclava, even pulled over half my face, the collar keeps neck and collarbone protected from the elements.
I almost didn't want to take it off when I got to school, despite the self-consciousness involved in wearing Rapha. But checking Twitter, I came across the latest tweet from shitmydadsays:
"That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."
If Rapha wants to be involved with my neck, maybe I really shouldn't question it...