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Driving gloves? Talk to the hand Add to ...

style@globeandmail.com

Dear Mr. Smith:

Can driving gloves be worn

indoors? And what exactly

is the point of driving gloves, since they don't really keep your hands warm?

Ah, driving gloves. The image brings back my childhood in the seventies, when recently divorced doctors wore ascots and bought Jaguars. They wore those funny gloves - very thin leather, usually deerskin, with perforations along the fingers, sometimes holes over the knuckles, a hole on the back of the hand and a strap or a snap across the back to keep them on - to remind everybody about the Jaguar.

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The idea behind driving gloves is not to keep your hands warm, but to give you a firm grip on a leather wheel as you madly career along a winding cliff road as agents from SMERSH pursue you in a fast car of their own. Very useful.

There is also a fingerless form (called "shorties") for motorcycle riding, which are popular among drummers for speed-metal bands.

The last time I saw a pair of driving gloves seriously worn - aside from at Halloween, as part of a "pimp" costume - was on a guy standing under a red light, guarding the entrance to a strip club in a dubious part of town. He was wearing the fingerless type. He had a grey ponytail, a beard and a leather jacket proclaiming his affinity for a particular make of motorcycle. He also had tinted aviator spectacles. And he was exercising the leather in the gloves by pounding one fist into the other palm.

You can decide for yourself if these connotations are something you want to cultivate. And you can guess what I think of driving gloves, worn outside or in.

Ask Mr. Smith a question,

or view the complete archive,

at Russell Smith's online advisory service, XYCanada.com.

 

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