Fashion? Guys Don't Need No Stinking Fashion



We males think we look smooth the way we are.

The Style issue of the New Yorker got wadded into my mailbox last week, as it does once every year. This is never enjoyable for me. First, it means I will not get another magazine for two weeks, as the effort the New Yorker staff puts into birthing the Style issue means they get a week off afterwards to go drinking in Manhattan. Secondly, it means I can just read the opinion column and skip right to the movie reviews in the back, pausing only at the intervening pages if they have cartoons on them, so the magazine gives me much less than my usual two hours or so of entertainment.

This is because I don't care about style. I know enormous advances are made in style every day. If fashion were science, these leaps forward would probably be the equivalent of building a Chinese restaurant in orbit or being able to squeeze yourself a fresh cup of Higg's Bosons for breakfast, but they mean nothing to me. I'm a guy.

It's women that are in touch with fashion, even women that have just thrown on a pair of sweatpants, flip-flops and a Hello Kitty blouse so they can blend into the rest of the crowd at Wal-Mart. My girlfriend has a pair of shoes that cost as much as a low-end used car. I cannot tell the difference between them and the many other pairs of shoes she owns which, after wearing them out for the night, will result in her feet throbbing with so much pain she won't even consider having sex after we get home, but I am told there is a difference, even if only other women can tell what it is. Other women recognize the shoes and admire them, although I suspect that admiration, expressed or unexpressed, is often just a coded form of blood-curdling hatred, because the girls tend to roll that way.

On the other hand, we men don't need fashion because we think we look good already. This is a near-universal male hallucination. It is not confined to men who pretend that in this age of Google Glass that razors and scissors have yet to be invented or guys that wear shorts cut off so dramatically that the pockets hang out, exposing the outlines of their car keys, drug stash or spare bullets to the world, especially when they're sitting in a lawn chair. No, we all suffer from it. I'm no exception. On an average day, meaning I'm not going to a wedding or a funeral or pretending to work at my day job, I throw on a t-shirt with the name of the small Mexican fishing village where I wish I was instead of here printed on it, along with a plain pair of cargo shorts or jeans.

I avoid patterned pants because I don't wish to be mistaken for a golfer.

This 150 peso t-shirt serves the same function for me as the twelve-hundred dollar shoes do for my Significant Other. Other men who fish look at it and ask "You've been to Loreto?" I smugly reply yes, and they walk away as jealous as if they had found out I was a backstage bra adjuster for the Victoria's Secret models.

And I think I look fine. While my special lady, already an exquisite natural beauty, spends forty-five minutes on hair and makeup before we step out, I am free to flip idly through various college football games that I care nothing about on her monstrous HDTV. When she finally asks "Are you ready?" I begin my grooming chore, which consists of looking in the mirror to make sure I don't have any cilantro stuck to my teeth.

And I seldom do. I'm good to go.

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