Yesterday, a friend of mine commented on the iPad that I'd recently purchased. I'd been wanting one for a while and a great deal presented itself to me one afternoon while surfing the net. My friend asked the standard questions relating to my purchase; how much memory, was it 3G or not, etc. Satisfied by the answers, he made one final comment, "You do know that you bought an iPad 1 right? The iPad 2 is much sleeker, it weighs less, it's faster." I just smiled and asked how he liked his iPad; his comment, "I don't own one, it seems like too much of a status thing to me," left me with a smirk on my face. This is the guy that will only wear a watch if its a Tag Heuer, Movado or some brand approaching Rolex; shoes must be from Trask or Johnston & Murphy or shipped over from Italy in cedar-lined coffins. This is the guy that once told me my vintage Izod raincoat was passe, even as he sported part of the current season's collection, same cut, different color (funny how the little alligator gets noticed more readily on passe yellow)... I've always wondered what the attraction was to big name status brands; I was always taught that quality and function out-trump label placement or designer's name. My mom always told me to buy a few expensive things that will mate with many others: I imagine if I were female, that would have meant handbags or shoes or jewelry; as a gay male I aspire to a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk and a Steinway grand piano (suddenly my LL Bean shorts, new to me shirts & Levis Slim Jeans will get an instant upgrade...as will every room in my house, especially if I position the instrument in front of my bay window). I can't justify spending 22K for a steamer trunk (just imagine the luggage surcharge flying Delta with that beast!) much less as much as my house cost on a piano (did I mention the instant house appearance upgrade?), so I can sort of understand sporting the not quite a Rolex Rolex, but why does one need to be outfitted head to toe? Putting this question to my friend, I got an answer I expected to hear, "Because men notice me." I certainly noticed what he was wearing the first time we met, I couldn't tell you his eye color or height or hair style; I couldn't even remember his name until we'd met 3 or 4 times, I'd simply refer to him as the guy in the horrible Polo pants or the guy with the ugly Ed Hardy belt. True, I did notice the labels of the clothes he was wearing, but I'm not sure they conveyed the message he was hoping they'd send.