Friday: I ponder disturbing trends in men’s fashion
I know what you’re thinking as you read this topic: “Men’s fashion”? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Like me, you might be married to a man who thinks pink and red are complementary colours or that three t-shirts of varying shades of lime and orange are perfect under a burgundy sweater. Or you might be the parent of a teenage boy who dresses almost exclusively in jeans and a hoodie. Or maybe you just look around you at men in general and realize that there aren’t a lot of fashionable options for men, compared to women. But lately, men, or at least men’s designers (which I say with a snicker as I imagine some cabal of thin, bespectacled hipsters try to decide if the smoking jacket could EVER be revived) are experimenting in some disturbing ways with the way men present themselves to the public. So here are a couple of male fashion trends that are kind of bizarre, and not particularly appealing to me, and many others apparently.
1) The Man-Bun: The other day, one of my relatives posted on Facebook, “Is it against the law to punch a guy with a man-bun in the throat?” My response is that legally, it’s probably wrong to do it, but ethically it might be a toss-up. Unless the man-bun was fake, in which case the punch would be a moral imperative. It’s bad enough that men can somehow grow luxurious locks of hair, when so many women, including myself, are stuck with fine, thin hair that no amount of volumizer can help. When my hair was longer, if I tried to put it in a bun, it literally became something the size of a cotton ball. But now, men are deliberately growing out their hair exclusively to put it in a bun. A f*cking bun. What the hell is up with that? If a man has long, lovely hair, he should just let it flow naturally and not constrain it. The man-ponytail was hard enough to swallow, but now men are swanning around looking like stocky, testosterone-y ballerinas. Guys, if you want to put your hair in a bun, you should be required to wear a tutu so that you don’t confuse people. Of course, my favourite look was always the bald man ponytail—you know, the guy with male pattern baldness who grew the back of his hair out REALLY long—a “senior citizen out front, party in the back” kind of thing. What I really want to see is a man who can French-braid his own hair. THAT would be impressive. Frankly, I don’t really know why I have animosity towards the man-bun. I just know that it looks silly. I tried to picture Ken with a fake-ass man-bun sitting atop his shaved head, and it made me laugh. In fact, I’m looking at him right now, picturing it and laughing, and he doesn’t know why. Then he read this and said, “Now I know why you were laughing at me.”
2) The Poo Beard: For those of you who don’t know what a “poo beard” is, it’s what I call those bushy beards that a lot of men are sporting these days. I call them poo beards because I read a study about men and facial hair hygiene which said that swabs taken from hundreds of men’s fancy, trendy beards showed an abundance of fecal matter when held under ultra-violet light. Yep. Poo. Which reinforces what many women already know—men are not very concerned with personal cleanliness. When I was much, much younger, I worked in a doughnut shop to make money for university. It wasn’t a bad job until closing time, when I had to clean the bathrooms. The women’s bathroom was usually pretty decent, but the men’s? You needed a gas mask and full hazmat suit to even go in it. I can’t accurately depict for you how disgusting it was without making you want to vomit (as I wanted to on many occasions)—suffice it to say the only way to thoroughly clean the men’s room was to use a flamethrower. Every night, I was like, “Is it even worth cleaning it? Wouldn’t it be better to just bulldoze this sh*thole down and build a new one?” So the fact that a lot of men have poo in their beards is not surprising to me at all. And fellas, you can put glitter on it, or bedazzle it the f*ck up all you want, it will still be a nest of poo. Just shave that mother off—any woman who tells you she loves facial hair is lying. And shave your armpits while you’re at it—there’s nothing more yucky than a guy in a muscle shirt with sweaty armpit hair. The only time a man should ever grow anything deliberately on his face is during “Movember” when men grow mustaches to raise money for prostate cancer research. (As a side note, I’m lobbying hard for “Vag-uary”, when women can grow out their full Brazilians to raise money for—OK, I was totally stuck here so I asked Ken:
Me: If there was a month like Movember for women called “Vag-uary, what would we raise money for?
Ken: Um…cervical cancer?
Me: But a vagina isn’t a cervix.
Ken: Well, my mustache isn’t my ass.
Problem solved. Ken always grows a spectacular mustache in Movember that I call the “Lemmy”—it’s like a biker/Motorhead thing that really needs a cowboy hat to make it complete. Apparently this year at work, the “Lemmy” was so impressive that his female co-workers began to refer to it as “Big Jimmy”. Ken was initially pretty chuffed, but he drew the line when they asked him to make up a voice for it. I guess “Big Jimmy” was the strong, silent type. And I made him constantly wash his hands before I went anywhere near it.
Wednesday: Korean musical chairs
On Wednesday, I went out for dinner with my brother. We were both in the mood for some Asian food, and downtown Toronto is the kind of place where you can’t move without tripping over restaurants featuring cuisine from every country in the Pacific Rim. (That might be an incorrect reference—my knowledge of geography is, as you probably are aware, really sucky. But it sounds cool.) Anyway, we decided on a Korean place not too far away that we both love, called Yummy Barbeque. The food is great, although the downside is that no one speaks English, and the TVs are constantly tuned to K-Pop bands. The boy bands try to look and act just like One Direction, and the girl bands look and act like 12 year-olds trying to be sexy. Aside from that, it’s a pretty quiet place. Until Wednesday night, when the weirdest thing happened. After we ordered from a waitress who just smiled and pointed at things, we were waiting for our food and chatting, when the owner, a Korean man about eighty years old, shuffled by our table and stood there surveying the restaurant. And thus began the musical chairs. He went to a table near the door, stared at it for a minute, then took one chair and started dragging across the restaurant with him. Very slowly and loudly. Then he put it at another table near the cash register, took a chair from THAT table and dragged it back to the first table. He did this for the next hour. By the time we were done eating, he had manage to rearrange ALL the chairs into virtually the exact same pattern and chair-to-table ratio that they were when he started. No one helped him. No one spoke to him. He was like a tiny Asian zombie. At one point, I said to my brother, “What the hell do you think he’s doing?” My brother, who has a Ph.D, replied, “I honestly have no idea.” But maybe it was some kind of ritual to generate luck and good fortune, because on the way back, I saw a beautiful sweater in a store window, and not only did it fit me, it was on sale for 60% off. Thanks, crazy Korean zombie man.
Thursday: Sex Toys
On Thursday morning, my colleague came in exhausted. “Someone kept calling my cell phone at like 2 o’clock in the morning. It was a wrong number every time. Then I would get a text message or a voice mail. It was making me crazy and I couldn’t get back to sleep.” “Ah,” I said, “that’s why I turn off my vibrator before I go to sleep.” Needless to say, I am NEVER going to live that one down.