Clothes (Don’t) Make The Man

I remember when men’s fashion consisted of the colour of your shirt, the width of your lapel and the size of your tie.  We’ve come a long way since those heady days when nobody gave a damn what men looked like.  These days, men are breaking out of their no-style straitjackets and showing the world just how ridiculous they can look — given half a chance.  Here are some examples of male fashion statements in the 21st century.

Bush Baby Beards — Unlike their Old Testament cousins. these neatly trimmed wannabes are the fashion statement of a man who desperately wants to be trendy but has minivan payments, a massive mortgage and a job he can’t afford to lose.

Popped collars — Usually found on Lacoste Shirts (those three-button alligator abominations.) They’re the international symbol for “My father’s a lawyer, and now I’m a lawyer, too.”

Half Zippered Polar Fleece — Nothing says Suburban Dad like half zippered polar fleece.

Faux Hawk Hair — For the man who doesn’t have the stones to go full Mohawk.

Tattoos (neck, face or armband) — You think you look like a badass. Guess again!  You look like your IQ and your fashion sense are permanently stuck in the 80s.

Backwards (or sideways) Baseball Hats — The universal style of the heterosexual man who hasn’t quite figured out why women tend to avoid him.

Flip Flops — Except for the beach, the gym and Walmart, grown men wear shoes.  They just do.

Skinny Jeans — No room for your keys, your phone or your genitalia.  No wonder so few hipsters have kids.

Plaid Shirts — OMG!  They’re still around.  Hey, buddy!  You’re not cool..  You’re a waiter from Queens.

Corn Rows — Normally found on a young man who’s just returned from a Mexican vacation.  His girlfriend thought it would look cute, and he thought he’d get laid.  (They were both wrong.)

Ear Gauge — These tell the world you’ve worked at Starbucks for so long you’re finally on the day shift.

The Man Bun — Just sad.  Really, really sad.

Beanie Caps — Whoever keeps resurrecting this damn things oughtta be ashamed.

Zany Socks — Unless you’re a tenured Art History professor, terminally English or a certified pompous ass zany socks do not make you any more interesting than you already aren’t.

And finally:

The Gangsta Hoodie — If you’re over thirty and still wearing the gangsta hoodie, you need to take a look at your life.  Seriously, something‘s not working.

Swearing — 2022

My computer went poof!  The lights went out, the screen went blank and there was silence from its hardwired cerebral nerve centre.  Meanwhile, in the real world, there was much unplugging and plugging, tapping and swiping, even shaking and banging – the usual human response to electronic misdemeanors.  Plus there was a torrent of obscenities that rose in the air, formed a dark, darker, darkest cloud and is now floating somewhere over the Pacific.  No, it didn’t do me any good to shout my way through a vulgar vocabulary I’ve collected over half a century but … and it’s a big but …  I felt better.  That’s what swearing does.  It makes you feel better.  Unfortunately, like most things the millennials and their progeny have gotten their mitts on, in the 21st century, swearing is being ruined.

I’m old enough to remember when swearing was an art form, a verbal quest to find words that expressed the primitive soul that lurks inside all of us.  In those days, people generally didn’t swear in polite society.  Swearing was reserved for exasperation, frustration, anger, the end of the argument – all the most primitive emotions.  People swore when the pudding boiled over, or the neighbour wouldn’t listen to reason, or the cat crapped on the carpet.  Swearing was reserved for those special times when ordinary words just didn’t cover it.  It released the tension, so we didn’t toss the pudding across the kitchen, punch the neighbour or kill the cat.  These words were forbidden, and so, with one broken taboo, we became badasses.  We stood toe-to-toe with life’s evil fortunes and refused to be bullied.  Then it was over.  We metaphorically washed our mouth out with soap and carried on.

Unfortunately, these days, swearing is used as punctuation.  In the ordinary course of conversation, it’s splashed around like ketchup on a redneck’s breakfast.  It literally doesn’t mean anything anymore.  It’s lost its punch.  When you call your best friend a bad bitch on a daily basis, what do you call her when she actually is one?  And that’s why the millennials spend every waking hour offended.  They have no way to release the emotional pressure.  Here’s the deal.  When I trip on the stairs and bang my shins, I send out a wave of invectives to the world, from the person who chose to live on the second floor (me) to the carpenter who built the offending structure.  Millennials can’t do that.  They’ve already used their strongest words describing the latte they had at lunch and there’s nothing left for when real problems happen.  So — when life comes along and pees in their porridge, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it.  And it serves them right, the $%()#! bastards!

E-Friends – 2022

One of the coolest side effects of our society’s relentless technology is Social Media.  It has allowed us to turn our world into one gigantic village — which means we’re all cyber-neighours.  Everybody on this planet is now one tap, swipe or click away from everybody else, and billions of us have taken advantage of this.  Think about it!  We all know someone we’ve never talked to, never touched, never smiled at, or even seen.  These are the strangers who are our friends – our e-friends – and in the 21st century, we all have them.  There is still some debate over whether these e-friends are as good or even the same as IRL (In Real Life) friends, but in a couple of generations, this won’t even be a question … because … and here’s the best bit – e-friends are way better than real ones.  Let me demonstrate.

E-friends never waste your time with long, boring stories.   Regardless of how drawn-out their particular tale of woe might become, you don’t have sit there and listen.  The truth is, most people just scroll down to the end, type ‘awesome,” and move on.

E-friends never drag you off to places you don’t want to go.  When you live on the other side of the world, this never comes up on the panel – thank God.  So you don’t have to sweat the oboe recital, the fishing trip or what’s-her-name’s graduation – just to be polite.  All you have to do is make the right noises when your e-friends post the pictures.

They’re never mean to you.  E-friends are notoriously good-natured, and if they ever do go off the rails, all you have to do is delete them.

When e-friends talk about you behind your back, you’re never going to hear about it.

You don’t have worry about cleaning the house when e-friends come to visit.  In fact, you can talk to them in your pajamas if you so choose – and people frequently do.

You never have to put up with your e-friends’ annoying spouse, or know-it-all sister, or idiot dog who peed on your carpet or any of the other baggage IRL friends always bring along with them.

E-friends don’t force you make hard decisions like “Does this dress make me look fat?”  Normally, those photos are deleted long before they ever get to you.

E-friends never give you the flu.

E-friends don’t make promises they can’t keep.  Ganjit, from Chennai is never going to volunteer to help you move and then disappear the day the boxes are packed.  (I’m looking at you, Sam Newton!)

E-friends always listen.  When you’re talking to them they never get distracted by their phone – cuz you’re the one on the phone.

E-friends don’t borrow your stuff and forget to give it back.  You never have that awkward moment when you discover your e-buddy Betty is serving cake off a plate that she borrowed from you two Christmases ago.

But the best thing about e-friends is:

Age, gender, race, religion, nationality, income, etc., etc., etc. don’t make a damn bit of difference to e-friends.   They are the most egalitarian groups of people on this planet.  So, while most of the world is shouting and swearing and calling each other names, there are tons of little groups of e-friends, kicked back in various small corners of cyberspace, trying to get to know each other.  And that’s totally cool!