So what do Brad Pitt and Newbery Award winner Neil Gaiman have in common? Buttons, of course! As in Pitt’s recent film role of Benjamin Button, and in the spooky button eyes of Gaiman’s alternate universe people in Coraline.
I’ve always been a fan of the button, as well as of those gents, and I own a collection of decorative sew-on fasteners vast enough to repair any given article of clothing. I even bought a book that shows you how to get that country look and enhance everything from bustiers to picture frames with a slathering of hot-glued buttons. I admit I have yet to try any of the projects. Decimate my collection for a faux-country-tarted-up bustier? I guess the book just doesn’t push my buttons .
Instead, I’ve collected these button factoids. They require no sewing or hot glue to enjoy, only your “scroll” button:
– Buttons are considered too fancy for Old Order Amish. They use straight pins, snaps and hook and eyes to keep their shirts on. The Puritans shunned buttons as crazy-evil vanity, too.
– Buttons form a major part of countless cliche expressions; cute as a, bright as a, button nose, button your lip…
– Buttons were invented 3,000 years ago but people didn’t figure out how to actually fasten clothing with them until around 1200 AD. Until then they just hung around looking cool.
– The word “button” comes from one of two French words but no one knows which; one means “bud” and one means “push.” It is NOT derived, as many mistakenly assume, from the word “butt.”
– A campaign button from President Obama’s 1996 Illinois Senate campaign sold for over $4,000. Of course, purists will argue that was technically a badge.
– The phrase “belly button” has only been in use since 1877, according to Medterms. I would have thought someone would have come up with it sooner; it just seems so basic.
– “Hnappurinn” or “Button” was the title of a children’s movie made in Iceland in 2008. I don’t know what it’s about but I’m pretty sure Brad Pitt wasn’t in it, and that the children in it aged the normal way, if at all.