Friday, April 22, 2011

Review: Middle-Aged Men's Fashion

I recently glanced at a review of men’s fashion in the New York Times and I thought, “That’s total bullshit. I don’t know a single man who wears a “snowflake-embroidered topcoat, loose trousers and a logo cardigan." I’ve never seen a single one of my friends wearing "a Mylar suit with elastic cuffs, worn with rubberized canvas boots.” In order to bring into existence a fashion review that more closely squares with what middle-aged men actually wear, I’ve created this short list of the most reliable fashion choices for middle-aged men this year.

1. The Weathered Look

When fidelity to one’s wardrobe knows no bounds and twenty-plus years of wear-and-tear haven't diminished a man’s love for that certain shirt or hat, the result is a look that’s impressively moth-eaten and threadbare.  Understand that a man going for this look must replace old items at some point; but he can do so by purchasing ten identical items and then working them into his collection seamlessly. A closet full of indistinguishable button downs is a must!

2. The Golfer

Equal in uniformity, double in cost, the Golfer look has in common with the Weathered Look a commitment to an almost insanely narrow range of apparel. Constantly at home in khakis and collared shirts, the golfer's look hasn’t changed for fifty years and it appears to be holding strong for another fifty.
3. The Laid-Back Church-Goer

Even the most extreme opinions on matters of religion, race, and politics can seem charming as long as one presents them with the right sense of panache. In order to lead prayer groups in public schools or build ministries that foster an acute sense of xenophobia, it’s important to not present an image that’s too retro-50s. Go for argyle sweaters and stiff hair gel to appear more modern and accepting.

4. “The Geoffrey”
The Geoffrey look is for the man who has refused to grow up and wants the world to know it. Look for his trademark out-of-season jersey, blistered thumbs from gaming and "man-cave" accessorized with posters from Bud Lite and Stay looking fast, loose, and uncommitted by shaving every third or fourth day and stay away from pleats of any kind.
5. The Effete Intellectual
Weakness is strength for the effete intellectual whose look seems to say, "You might be able to kick my ass, but I'll find some irony in the situation that you won't be able to understand even if I explain it to you." Scarves in any season, thick-framed glasses, and bumper stickers that aggressively support cycling and environmental causes may round out this look.

6. The Defeated Father
Given up on manhood? Shifted into auto-pilot for the foreseeable future? Looking to dress yourself in a way that cancels out any sense of sex or personality? Buy a small inventory of grey sweatshirts, labelless t-shirts, dark blue jeans and white tennis shoes and accessorize, perhaps, with a hat or button from one of your kids' teams. No one may ever look for your individual identity again!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Burden of Leadership

One of the hardest things about running a website as large and as popular as mine is making creative decisions on the executive level. Certainly I can get input from my readers (though my stats currently show that I have zero readers). I can also take suggestions from my large and well-paid staff.  But when push comes to shove, I have to be the guy to step up and make the tough calls.

That said, I must announce my most significant decision to-date: I am changing the title of my blog. Although I realize that some of you hypothetically may have become very attached to the original title, "The Occasional Retreat," I have decided it's time to move on.
I have considered the following list of possible titles: inkworm, predictable disasters, retreat, crystal moth, one inch deep, "here's to you, apocalypse," aa bail bonds, the leaking balloon, runaway kite, tree kite, "head gear, rubberbands," and bike vs. pedestrian.

Some of these titles, I realize, suffer from the same problem as the original title - they are lame. Others may be trying too hard; others might be confusing or terrible.  So, nebulous, non-existent audience, I ask: what do you think. Which title is best?

First Post

A word on why I wanted to create this blog: I've been checking out other people's sites lately and reading a lot on line.  These days I'm a big fan of Faith Gardner's site "By Faith Alone"; like everyone else I've loved McSweeney's Internet Tendency forever; I've been loving Seth Fried and Thomas Cooper. I like Jason Jordan's site for ideas about where to look for things to read. I like Ravi Mangla and Amber Sparks. I love to visit the site of the great Carol Peters who's been a great friend and teacher as well as a literary inspiration.  I've sent fan mail to stars such as Laurel Gilbert and Andy Mozina. I've been rejected by some of the nation's leading publications.

So I woke up today and told myself that I want to be a part of the conversation too. I figured I would go ahead and create this blog for the world to see.