Monster Mugs and Tentacles

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  • Most times, Unwinnable is about videogames. Sometimes it is about movies or comic books or TV shows. Occasionally though, Unwinnable is about some random thing that I happen to think is cool.

    I think Homebody Boutique is cool.

    I first noticed the shop this past weekend. I was walking by with my girlfriend, on our way to lunch in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when we passed a store window filled with sock monkeys (and a couple of sock elephants). In the center of the bunch was a black one decorated with sewn on bones, like a skeleton suit. We paused for a moment more to admire him, then hunger moved us on our way.

    Now, sock monkeys have many pleasant associations for me. At their core, they are really rather odd, old-fashioned things, and that is always appealing. Then there is Tony Millionaire’s Uncle Gabby. But more than anything, when I think of Sock Monkey’s I think of David Letterman’s brief and bizarre cameo in Cabin Boy.

    “Would you like to buy a monkey?”

    Yes sir, I believe I would.

    So we went back. Inside were pillows embroidered with skulls, mugs in the shape of monsters and a toilet seat decorated with an octopus. Now, I know what you are thinking: I wandered into a hipster shop, where shoddy ironic junk is sold at inflated prices to unwashed people in too-tight jeans. But by god, I like skulls and monster mugs. I certainly like toilet seats decorated with cephalopods. I should be able to go to a shop that sells those things without being embarrassed about wearing jeans I actually fit in. Or showering.

    Homebody Boutique is the shop for me. You may call it hipster, I just call it cool. Its wares are high quality and reasonably priced. The proprietress (whose name may be Kate Silver…journalism fail, I forgot to ask) was extremely friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. There wasn’t even a whiff of pretension about the place.

    I appreciate the thinking behind the store. Homebody collects practical and decorative items from a whole host of independent artists, almost like a co-op. It serves the consumer – how else would a guy like me find baby doll head soap or one-of-a-kind monster mugs? It serves the artists – how else would they get their idiosyncratic products to the marketplace? And it serves Kate Silver (if that is, in fact, her name) because she gets to make a living curating a collection of artsy oddities.

    In some ways, Homebody Boutique is like the Unwinnable of weird home décor.

    So, I bought the sock monkey. And a mug depicting the world being destroyed by aliens in a tentacled space ship. And I might go back and get that toilet seat…


    I named the monkey Glenn.