Friday, June 19, 2009

An old sea dog muses on fashion trends

SAN DIEGO – One of my closest friends in Lebanon sent me a joke last week which I thought was funny but not politically correct.

The joke noted everyone in California spoke Spanish 150 years ago and not much had changed except for women enhancing their breasts and men holding hands.
I have some serious thoughts about the sentiments in the joke but will save them for later. Responding to my friend, this old sea dog mused about the different differences between now and my younger years.

I believe there was a conspiracy to get males to wear baseball caps in funny ways. I think a really goofy looking young man who had no success in getting women to pay attention to him came up with the idea of convincing his peers to wear ball cap backwards or crooked.

Goofy-Looking Guys

Having been a baseball catcher who had to wear his cap backwards, I know there is nothing goofier looking than a guy wearing his ball cap backward. The guy would look even goofier with the hat bill off center, serving no functional purpose.
So now, really unattractive guys have a chance. They are no longer competing against cool looking handsome guys. The playing field has been leveled. All the guys, good looking or not, look goofy.

I cannot figure out, however, why anyone would wear their pants lower than their hips. The discomfort factor, which has to be significant, should pale to the fear of dropping their drawers in public.

I am equally befuddled as to why any male would want to wear what I can only describe as really baggy women’s capri pants. Perhaps they, like the owners of those vehicles somewhere between a truck and a SUV, couldn’t make up their mind between normal trousers or shorts, or didn’t have enough money to buy both.
While on pants, I also wonder why any male would wear pants so low he showed the world he wore really ugly underwear. I don’t understand why women wear their pants so low they resemble plumbers at work. Finally, why would anyone pay upwards of hundreds of dollars for worn and torn jeans?

You Aren’t Peyton Manning

Then there is this huge industry of athletic jerseys. I can understand why folks like to wear team colors and look-a-like uniforms. There is a great amount of security in dressing like everyone else. After my military experience, I shy away from conformity yet I cannot understand why anyone, especially adults would wear clothing with someone else’s name on the back. I mean, most of them don’t even remotely resemble Brett Favre, Michael Jordan, or Manny Ramirez. Who do they think they are fooling?

Then there’s this tattoo mania. My daughter has discussed getting a “discreet” tattoo to make a personal statement. Knowing our priorities change, I asked her what she would do in the future if her commitment changed. I learned such a concept as changing commitments is not something a 20-year old can accept as possible.
I am amazed someone would pierce their skin to resemble folks I met in New Guinea who were one generation and several miles away from their cannibalistic roots. I can’t even comment as I just am not “with it.”

Generation Gap

But I also remember chomping at the bit to wear my shirt with the collar up and unbuttoned to the sternum, my hair long enough to sweep back into a ducktail, white socks, pointed toe shoes, and Levi jeans with no belt. But Castle Heights had me in gray and gray, and when not in uniform, my parents kept my extreme leanings in check.
When I went to Vanderbilt, I learned white socks were de rigueur; my pants must be gray flannel; my shirts had to be Gant with buttoned-down collars; and I had to wear Bass “Weejun” penny loafers.

The Navy pretty much took me out of fashion trends. When I re-entered the business world, I was told to wear conservative suits and ties, closely cropped hair and no after shave.

My generation ridicules the fashion of the younger generations. I am often taken aback, but I recall my parents’ generation being appalled at our fashions.
Now, I pretty much wear what I want when I want except to make my wife happy by not looking like a slob when we go out together.

So I won’t beat the younger generations up. They will eventually go practical too.

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