“There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?'”
“The mood will pass, sir.”
― P.G. Wodehouse,
My dearest cousin asked me to write a post for “Odd,” and I asked her to give me a topic. She said, “fashion”. Now, most of you don’t know me, but if you did, you would realize just how strange that request is. I reasoned that I don’t know why some people like to receive flowers, but I don’t have to know why, I just need to know that they do. Similarly, I don’t know why some people’s clothes are so important to them, but I know that they are and I try to react accordingly.
Here are a few pertinent Cousin Craig fashion facts.
1. I do not own a tie, a sport coat, dress shoes, or even dress pants.
2. I own khaki pants and khaki shorts, and I wear them every day (one or the other, not both).
3. I do not shave. Please hear me out, dear reader. I did not say that I do not shave regularly; I said that I do not shave. I have not shaved more than once in the past 20 years. I do use a trimmer on occasion.
4. Haircuts are limited to once or twice a year. The rest of the time, I simply cut off hunks as needed.
6. I have one pair of shoes.
7. I wear T-shirts. My favorite T-shirt has a picture of Jesus on it and reads, “I never said that.”
8. On fancy occasions, I wear a collared shirt.
9. I am not a pretty man.
Keeping these facts in mind, it is hard to understand why anyone would want fashion advice, tips, or even opinions from me. It would be like taking a blind person to a collection of paintings and asking, “Which one do you like?” For my cousin—and in my efforts to climb out of the family’s pen of black sheep and into the realm of the somewhat accepted—I will give this thing a try. (“Odd” disclaimer: Cousin Craig asked for a topic, I gave him one of several. Where this one goes, I certainly don’t know, but let’s join him, shall we? )
#1 – Shoes and Belts. Please don’t misunderstand me, reader. I’m not saying that the following don’t make sense to some people; I simply want to illustrate that whatever genetic code makes them make sense has been omitted from my DNA strand. I cannot understand why someone would have ten pairs of shoes, unless they are triathletes. Why are shoes so special?* Aren’t they just things to keep the mud out from between our toes? Why do the color, width, and clasp of a belt matter? I have a black belt. It’s important because it holds up my shorts. It has no other function in my mind, unless I get shot and need to stop the blood pumping through my leg. (How often do I release the pressure on that again?) Anyway, I appreciate how nice you all look, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. (Craigaleg, because I love you and you work on a college campus, and attend family funerals, please click on this emergency first aid link.)
#2 – Hats. What’s the obsession with hats? Unless you’re starting at second base for the Cubs, you don’t need to wear a hat all day, every day. Women going to the Kentucky Derby should, of course, keep their hats on for the national anthem. If your one-size-fits-all adjustable baseball cap reads, “I am Thad’s bitch,” take it off during the national anthem, a prayer, or maybe even always—even if your ponytail is strung through the hole in the back of the cap (I know, the struggle is real). I like hats and have no problem with them in general. They are like gum to me: once in a while, chew some gum, but not all the time, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A COW. (I agree, and a backward baseball cap confuses me. Are you coming or going?)
#3 – Swimwear. I am a guy. I try to be a man, but all too often, I find myself slipping into that comfortable station of being a “guy.” With that in mind, I have to ask the fairer sex a fair question. If I walk into a room, and you are wearing nothing but a bra and panties, I have seen you nearly naked and have violated your privacy. If I see you at the beach in something approximately the size and shape of a bra and panties, I can look but not stare. If I have any physical reaction to either situation, I am a pig. I can’t speak of women’s reactions to checking out hairy, penis-toting men, but I can tell you that your being mostly naked in a social setting makes just socializing harder. Please, for the love of God, if you don’t want me to see your breasts or butt, don’t show them to me. If you do show them to me, rather than holding my reaction against me, hold them against me. Men, nobody should be able to tell whether or not you were circumcised by seeing you in a banana hammock. Shorts please, no one needs to know that lefty is bigger and hairier that righty. (Ok. I can forget that imagery)
#4 – Wedding dresses. As I said, I’m a guy. I think it says a lot about a wedding that a man rents his outfit and a women spends six-month’s pay on hers. I think that if that make their hearts happy, then they should, by all means, have what they want. A wedding is a beautiful thing, which can make you cry from joy. Very few things can do that. Whatever my attitude toward fashion, I always defer to the bride on her wedding day. I leave the criticism of the dress and all snarky comments to her closest friends—her bridesmaids. One of them will inevitably say, “It looks OK on her, but I would never wear it.” Relax, Susie, your single and closer to forty-five than thirty; the chances are good you won’t have to worry about it. (Is that too mean? No, it’s mean to diss the bride.)
#5 – Kids. Parents, I speak here from the outside looking in, but I implore you, do not make your children dress alike. Not ever. If they want to, fine. (What about matching dog and human outfits? Too much, right?)
#6 – Models. These people who model clothes, who are they modeling for? I mean, I don’t want to see what the clothes would look like on someone nothing like me. They might look great on a bulimic six-foot model who eats less in a day than your average hamster. What does that have to do with us normal humans? The first thing I want to know about a garment is whether it will be ruined when I spill something on it. Mrs. Chris Hemsworth might want to know what a suit looks like on a demigod (because he plays one in the movies. Keep up, people). Most of us, however, look more like the guy with a whistle and a black button-up shirt with “Vince” written across his left breast pocket, guarding the door. You know, the guy who looks like he had the left side of the Wendy’s menu for lunch and is already dreaming of dinner. (You lost me but George Clooney always looks good)
#7 – Tattoos and piercings. Most will disagree with some of this post, but almost all parents will hate this part. Once your children become old enough to make their own choices, they will make mistakes. Guess what, you did too. You can try to advise them, but I assure you, your words will sound as hollow and ill-informed as the ones your parents gave to you. For whatever reason, some people like to put holes in or markings on themselves. This is their choice. I look at these things like the time I put a nail through my hand on a dare. It was a mistake; I still have the scar. But it was my mistake to make. All we can do is love them. We can help them up when they fall and help them along their way, right? And, of course, pray for nothing permanent on the face. (People used to pay a quarter at the circus to see the tattoos and piercings people wear today. I have a few, or maybe a lot of, opinions on this subject. I’m judgmental. My adult* and I are good on this topic.)
#8 – Halloween. What happened to this holiday? It was once for kids. The average costume was cheap and so was the candy. Now, it’s more like whoreloween. ‘Nuff said. (Yep, last year’s costumes included a toddler slut.)
#9 – Day to day. Wear what you feel comfortable in. Wear what makes you feel good. Never mind what’s socially acceptable; drape yourself in velvet if you want to. Just be willing to pay the price for your decisions. (I love my new purple crocs!)
#10 – Work attire. Picture a person who is treated the way you would like to be treated. He or she may be a real person or someone in your head. This should be a person who has done what you are doing and is successful. This is a good place to start when asking yourself, what is appropriate work attire? For example, when I was a stripper, I looked at big Ron. He wore a thong and a leather collar. He made a lot of money, and I wanted to be just like him, so I wore a thong and leather collar too. This is the secret of my success and can be read about more fully in my memoir “Undress for Success!” Then there’s my dear cousin, who must have idolized Lola. She was a showgirl, a yellow ribbon in her hair and a dress cut down to there. She would merengue and do the cha-cha, etc. (One step forward, two steps back …)
I guess there’s one thing I’ve learned while trying to write this post, and it’s that I know nothing about fashion. I hope that at least maybe it made you smile or even laugh a bit. At least we’re not like Cole’s mom, still in that dress she used to wear, faded ribbons in her hair . . . (Will someone please take me to the fair?)
Odd Loves Company,
* Why are shoes so special?* Perhaps Cousin Carla can share on this topic (Kb)
* My adult, my dear son, the other of us, the millennial, Coleybear and sometimes Cole. (Kb)
* Yes Debbie, I posted the picture at the top with you in mind ♥ (Kb)