entertainment reading Uncategorized writing

Letters From the J. Crew Dude, Part 3 — The Conclusion

To those readers who have not read Part 1 and Part 2 of Letters From the J. Crew Dude, I strongly urge you to do so before you read Part 3. You will understand the overall flow and have a greater sense of the psychology of the Dude and why it ends the way it does.

If you cannot hold back and want to dive headlong into Part 3, then here is a brief recap of the real life origins of Letters. When my wife and I first started dating, she met this guy in a bar. They chatted in an innocuous way and he claimed to be a model. She didn’t believe him, and told him so, then later saw him in one of my J. Crew catalogs. I was inspired to create a story line that this guy was infatuated with my wife, and insanely jealous of me. I wrote a series of imaginary letters to my wife (with cutouts of the actual J. Crew Dude). The Letters here are based on those actual letters. A fuller explanation is found at the beginning of Part 1.


Dear Lady of My Dreams,

This is the last letter you will Ever receive from me. You will have to savor it, and it alone. There, the truth sits before us, like a chained barge in the river Thames.

It has been awhile since our, or rather, my last communication. No doubt you noticed I was not in the last several editions of the J. Crew catalog. And naturally you wondered about me. Many do, I often wonder about myself.


Anyhow, I am with a new brand: I’m Mr. London Fog now! It’s foggy, it’s so Sherlock Holmes…the pints of ale, the soccer violence – it’s invigorating! No more dopey clambakes in Bangor, no more Telluride fake snowball fights in damaging UV ray sunshine…I’m all international sophistication and polish now, all about those black cabs driven by toothless dudes with cockney accents. London is a city of dignity, and unlike Miami, nobody wears thongs at dinner, mainly because it’s too cold, but even if it was warmer nobody would because all Londonites have attended posh schools where manners were taught and lesson one was: Don’t sit your bum down for dinner if it is only covered by dental floss!

No, no…do not think Mature. London Fog is Sophisticated. All sophisticated international people wear proper outerwear when weather conditions are inclement, while J. Crew buying Americans pour beer over their naked, green-painted selves at subzero football games. Over here hooligans at sporting events might trample each other to death but they wear sensible and chic outerwear when doing so.

That is Beatrice in the ad with me. Never believe a word from her. The water was not, as she claimed, a warm 68 degrees, and she did not throw that flotation device to help me, or pay me my 5 pounds in hypothermic dare money. Don’t challenge her to a pub crawl either. She stores alcohol in her giant ears and will stand over you and laugh as you wallow helplessly on the pavement.

I’ve moved on to a new brand, and to be perfectly frank, I have moved on from you. Not because of your consistent lack of reply to my letters, but because, in every way in my new life, I’m in a different place. A jolly good place!

So I bid you, as they say over here, good day.

This is it. You blew it. Goodbye.

No more.


— J. Crew Dude


(1 week later)

Dear Lady (no longer of My Dreams),

I must make one thing clear, just for posterity, and that is the sole reason for this contact. So please, do not read anything into this communication (certainly no subtext regarding my feelings).

I will reveal an important truth to you, but only with assurance I can keep the matter strictly in your confidence. Do you promise? Very well. After I reveal the hellish nightmare I endured at the worst, most brutal, photo shoot ever, which taxed my physical and spiritual limits, you will agree with me that I had no choice but to leave J. Crew!


We travel now to the marshy hell of the Everglades. Sebastion’s insistence I wear an insulated swamp jacket for three hours to get this shot was my first indication that the top J. Crew brass had changed their feelings about me.

Is that the Volga boatman there, or a simple janitor? No, it’s me!… stirring muck. Gee, I wanna buy that swamp jacket because wearing it I can stick poles in the mud! Unspeakable gases were released from my poling, so sickening and putrid my female compatriot is turning her head. Only my consummate professionalism prevented me from barfing into the gatormobile.


Yes, live gators inhabit this ecosystem, which made it all the more galling and cruel when I was forced into this vessel, a “canoe.” There’s a reason even Indians phased this one out, a modern development called “stability” which solves the “capsize” and “drowning” problems. So there I was, in a blue chamois and striped waffle t-shirt, up to my elbows in marsh fleas, at the whims of the tide, man-eating reptiles thunking against the gunwales. There’s a reason I’m on my knees: I’m praying to Annie Leibovitz that my inner terror will not interfere with chamois shirt sales.


Don’t even ask me what this shot is selling, besides humiliation and a sympathy for political prisoners. It is called the Feet in Bucket While Sitting on a Hard Metal Thingy in Your Undies torture and a special session of the United Nations banned it. Two hours to get this gem? Sebastion, you evil shit, you were unable to crack me. I stuck my damn feet in that bucket and sold those undies because I am a Pro. But J. Crew’s message to me was clear so I quit.

I’m free from my tormentors, and with a more sophisticated brand.

So, with that bit explained…a final goodbye to you.

It is done.


— J. Crew Dude


(3 days later)

Dear Lady of My Dreams,

My confusion and sobbing, my lack of enthusiasm for the application of skin care products, the watching of Lifetime movies… it can only mean something powerful and transformative is going on inside me. Personal development! I’ve been doing introspection! Not thinking about how wonderful I am, but about how I might actually be flawed, or may even be — oh God, the pain – a Jackass.

Honesty! This self-actualization process has raised my level of consciousness until I am now capable only of total Honesty. I now know how Lincoln felt! I will admit this to you: J. Crew let me go. They fired me! Newer, younger dudes with no crow’s feet and more energy for youthful romping have taken my place in the catalogs.

Why has the sun forsaken me? People over here live inside a grey cloud and have no tanning beds. London Fog is a damn rain jacket. It’s for old grey dudes who shuffle off to old grey offices. It’s a cavernous rain tarp, meant to cover every ugly inch of the old man inside. I’ve fallen down in this world. The pretty face ain’t pretty enough anymore!

But from pain comes knowledge. Here’s another advanced, mature person concept I have learned about: Humility. I now understand that my great success turned me into a bloated egotistical monster. I have Matured, and finally I have gotten over myself. I have not been eating Shepherd’s Pie in dear old London town, but the bitter sweet taste of Humble Pie. All those unanswered letters!… It was your way of forcing me to find myself, to get real in my life.

I’ve done it! My ego is gone, wiped totally clean. You crafty, lovely temptress! It was your plan all along. So congratulations.

Now I’m ready for you.

I’ve earned your return letter!

And I eagerly await it.

— J. Crew Dude


 (1 day later)

Dear Lady of My Dreams,


I realize I’m going out of turn here, and you’re likely in mid sentence penning your congratulations to me on my personal development, but the fact that both JC Penny and TJ Maxx have made calls to my agent is kind of a huge deal.  So naturally I’m telling you because I’m sure you agree.

The old me would have gloated that I was back on top, and made a lot of noise about being the face of a billion dollar industry, etc., but not this time. I will merely note for the record that I’m likely back in the American casual wear game.

Don’t count out the old Pro just yet. I’ve got snowflake sweaters and tartan flannel boxers and classic chinos still to sell!

But enough about me.

Now it’s your turn!

Go ahead.

— J. Crew Dude


By robbskidmore

Robb Skidmore writes upmarket literary fiction. He is the author of “The Pursuit of Cool”, a critically acclaimed coming-of-age novel about love, music, and the 80s, and the novella “The Surfer.” His short stories have appeared in many publications.

One reply on “Letters From the J. Crew Dude, Part 3 — The Conclusion”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s