I know. Me using a sports metaphor is like Newt Gingrich promoting so-called “traditional marriage.” But I’m down with the kids, yo. So I’m sticking with my bad-ass sports-talkin’ instincts here.
But I’m really just talking about dressing for work. I’ve been lucky in this department for a long time; in my industry I can wear jeans and T-shirts and tennis shoes, and as long as I don’t look like I’m about to clean the garage or hide the bodies I can pass as “professional.” But in my advancing years, I’m starting to feel that my faded Levi’s and my retired Brooks Adrenalines make me look more like an aging frat boy than an appropriately dressed copywriter.
But I hate dressing up.
I hate dress pants more than I hate Sarah Palin. They’re stupid and uncomfortable. They bunch up your ass. They provide no warmth in the winter and they wrinkle and trap sweat in the summer. And they give low-information citizens the emotional permission they’re looking for to stay uneducated, hostile and solipsistic. (Wait. That last sentence was just about Sarah Palin.)
And dress shoes? Don’t get me started. No support. No useful cushioning. No breathing. No flexibility. And they make your feet smell like old pantyhose and processed leather. They’re like Rush Limbaugh on his wedding nights. Except with tongue. And a sole.
I will never be more than a jeans-and-gym-shoes kinda guy. I love the way jeans breathe and feel soft and provide a sturdy platform for my saggy old-man butt. I love the way gym shoes have cushioning and arch support and the occasional splashes of color. I also love the way the right gym shoes can work in the actual gym and still be appropriate for the office. And when you rely on public transportation and you have to carry your whole day with you when you leave the house in the morning, an all-purpose shoe is a great way to keep your gym bag from exploding like a Teabagger’s head at a not-everyone-is-white-and-stupid rally.
So I’ve been on a shopping mission to find fitted jeans in non-jeans fabrics like poplin and age-appropriate non-jeans colors like dark khaki and dark gray and dark blue. And to find gym shoes that are not too foo-foo trendy to look ridiculous in the gym and not too gym-rat gymmy to look slackerous in the office.
I’ve been on this mission since early spring. And I’ve been in every store on the planet (except Lane Bryant … and Chico’s … and maybe Caché), with no success in the jeans department and only minor success in the shoe department.
Last weekend, I stumbled into a fantastic(ally loud) and wondrous(ly crowded) clothing emporium called H&M—which I think stands for Homosexuals and Metrosexuals—and I stumbled out with seven pair of exactly the kind of jeans I was looking for: fitted, respectably dark, comfortable, office-appropriate and butt-lifting. Except when I got them home and tried them on again, I decided two pair were a little shiny and a little skin-huggy and a little low-waisted and more than a little age-inappropriate, so I took them back last night.
And after I took them back, I decided to poke my head in the Nordstrom Rack next door, which I knew had racks and racks of shoes in every shape and color and style. And I stumbled out with three new pair of shoes that are both gymmy and worky … and totally go-y with my new fitted, respectably dark, comfortable, office-appropriate and butt-lifting new jeans.
Gay as I am, I almost couldn’t sleep last night knowing I got to wear my new shoes in the morning. Plus I was still loving the little Cabaret outfit Mondo wore to the runway show on Project Runway. So I was already a little giddy.
Naturally, the moment I got on the bus this morning at 6:00 to head to the gym, I took a picture of my kickin’ new kicks, though I swear what look like cankles in this picture are just morning water weight. Or something:
See? Hella-awesome for the gym and mega-cool for the office. Everybody wins! Especially once I hid those cankles in my new fitted, respectably dark, comfortable, office-appropriate and butt-lifting jeans: