High-top pink Converse, knee-high pink or black (or pink and black) socks, black shorts, pink “Diplomats” shirt, and a hat to match. Catch me outside like that on any given day. Typically, when I don that outfit, females put me over pretty strong. It is primarily because of the shoes, but I get the attention I so desperately crave either way. That has to be admitted because it has something to do with that, perhaps even the primary reason why I wear what I wear, but I also have an affinity for the color pink. I was quite a fan of Cam’ron growing up. “Yeah, I must clown, I’m from Harlem, uptown, where we flash money, take your chick, and ask you, “what now!?” Come on, man. Top five flows in the history of hip-hop. Anyway, I get my fair share of compliments. Maybe it’s a shock to see a guy dressed in pink, particularly in Tennessee; maybe they just like the kicks. Whatever it is, nothing further than a passing compliment comes from it, not that how one dresses is all it takes for something more, but I believe I have stumbled upon the reason. The problem with dressing like that (the way that I dress), which I assume females can sniff out fairly quickly, is that I am dressing like I am still twenty-one. I’m not twenty-one; I’m thirty-two. My only rebuttal to that would be, well, I feel younger now than I did then, but be that as it may, the fact remains that I am older now than I was then, obviously.
Jordan Peterson came to Nashville recently, and I got tickets to the event. I know how everyone dresses when they go to his lectures (they dress like they are headed to a wedding, job interview, or an upscale restaurant), so I wanted to do the same. Surely, I couldn’t walk into the Ryman Auditorium “repping the Set.” Absolutely not. Black suit, pink dress shirt, black bowtie, pink dress socks, and all-white sneaks. I put my own flavor into it; of course, I did. If you have to believe in something, why not flee? Oh, and a pair of Versace shades at night because, let’s get it, that’s why. “That’s fo-sachee you steppin’ on!” She may read this, but fuck it. I sat in front of the keyboard to tell the truth to the best of my ability. The girl I ended up sitting with, not by way of invite but by the luck of the draw, was also “dressed to the nines.” I thought so anyway. An aptly used phrase, that, “dressed to the nines.” I’d say she is one. At least an 8.7. Alright, alright. I’ve taken enough heat from people insinuating that is the only reason I enjoyed her company. There are reasons beyond that, allow me to tell you. In my opinion, perhaps one not shared, the conversation was “grown-folk” talk. Ah, there it is. I put on a suit and immediately felt different, walked different, talked different, and the company I was with was different. For the first time in a long while, I felt like an adult, you could say. “I’M AN ADUUUUULLLTTTTTT!” in my best Andy Samberg voice. It’s not about the girl, really. Whether you could substitute her for any sophisticated woman or not, I would argue you couldn’t, matters not. What it boils down to is I wanted more of whatever that was. Adulthood felt good, and I wanted more of it.
I hear you, reader. The idea of dressing up just to receive attention does seem like a self-centered motive. While that might be true, are the people who still reside in the land of the singles (or who are still searching for more lucrative jobs, etc.) not constantly vying for the attention of the most desirable “mate?” Here is an idea for the group shouting “patriarchy” at every turn, by the way: I, being single, am not engaged in competition with women. No, I am out here competing against other men. In fact, part of the process is to form as many “alliances” as you can with the opposite sex. A tangent, but something to think about before your next “oppression” tweet. Yes, I want to receive the most attention I can, and to what is it that everyone diverts their eyes? Certainly, not the blandest items or people in the room. People divert their attention to the most attractive or the flashiest. With that said, you won’t find me rocking “bling” any time soon. Frankly, I find that to be too much, and for my money, it looks stupid. There is a line, then, I suppose, between presenting yourself as best you can and trying too hard. I’m sort of working my way through this as I write and as you read. I guess the question becomes, “how would I (or you) wish to present myself to the world?” and “what actions can I take to match the image which I am trying to present (although dressing or looking the part is a good start), without coming across that I am desperate to do so?” Convoluted question(s), sure, but precise, I feel.
At a “meeting,” a friend of mine shared something that prompted this whole piece. He said before he went on vacation to Miami, he had on a pair of pants here, where we live, in the sticks, that his wife particularly liked; however, when they got to the hotel in Miami, which happened to house several professional golfers, suddenly, that same pair of pants weren’t so appealing. “Are you really going to wear those?” she asked. My friend shared something with us that, while undeniably true, is interesting nonetheless. “I’m the same fuckin’ person she has been with for X number of years, no matter what the fuck I got on.” Beyond that truth, you would never picture Jesus or Gautama stepping foot in a function “dripping,” as the kids say. Well, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter what one looks like. All that should matter is the content of one’s character. This being the case, the thought process (not to say my friend had this thought process) of dressing down in a setting like that seems only to serve a negative attitude, does it not? You might think, “To hell with these people and their money. I don’t need to look flashy or flaunt money to know that I am a quality human being.” True enough. Still, I’m not sure I buy the line that one cannot compete with money regarding what we wear. You can always do your best. In any event, dressing down in an atmosphere like that more than likely squanders any opportunity that could come your way. They probably won’t like you because you didn’t try, and you certainly won’t get invited back. Keep in mind that I’m not directing this to my friend. Concerning my friend’s wife, I haven’t a clue what her view on the matter was, but if it was something like, “I want to see my man compete with these other guys because I know he can,” that I completely understand. It dawns on me this was a bit of a ramble, so here’s the point: Do your best to look your best.
Sofia Franklyn used to be on a shitty podcast that I didn’t listen to (No, really, I never listened. Just clips on the ‘gram), and she chronicled her time with a guy she was dating, whom she referred to as “suit man.” I’m “suit man” now, that is, whenever an opportunity presents itself to travel outside of my thirty-mile, home-body radius. I’d wear them all the time if I could, but I’m not going to waste an outing getting dressed up to go to “Dollar General” or this shitty job, which happens to be where I do all my writing – because I have the time here. Yes, a whole new piece in and of itself, but let us stick to the way we present ourselves. As stated, changing the way I (or you) dress (not the way we look, which is an important distinction to make) changes the way I think and feel, from childlike thinking to adultlike thinking, and appears to attract “adult attention.” What I do with that attention is another ball game. You know what, though? As far as I can tell, some people adult way too fuckin’ hard, leading to living a joyless life. There is a line somewhere. Sadhguru says children are full of joy; therefore, youth or feeling young has nothing to do with age. “Youth is how much joy you have in your life; old age is how many conclusions you have made about it.” When it comes to how we might dress, don’t just wear shit because that’s what other people do. Find your style, add your flavor, and be an adult with joy.