Tuesday, December 26

The past again

Cave In-Jupiter
Melvins-Stoner Witch
The Sultans-Ghost Ship
Annie Lennox-Medusa
Van Halen-For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Yes, I'm aware that I bought Cave In's record this year. I'm trying to get a handle on if I like them or not. They're the kind of band that makes music that I'd make if I could. Lots of strange songs. Heavy most of the time, but trippy others. Great sense of lyrical playing around-maybe not great lyrics, but at least clever. And while I like the most recent album, Jupiter is supposed to be their best.

I think, though, they're a band I need to see live.

Everything else is pretty much out there. I'm starting to be pretty sure that FUCK is a not good Van Halen album. But I was 16 when it came out, and it's hard not to love Poundcake in the summertime. I'll probably keep it.

I was reminded today that women look at a guy's shoes. That they use this as a basis for what kind of man that person is.

I get that clothes make the person, frequently. As someone who utterly sucks at clothing selection, I just try to devolve my choices to the simplest things I can: jeans. T shirts. Black shoes, almost always tennis shoes (or 'trainers') because every other kind of shoe I've ever worn in my life hurts my feet, and I walk frequently and hard in my shoes. But also black shoes because they go with everything, short of a white outfit. Or so I thought.
Anything work related: slacks, hopefully darkly colored. Shirt with collar. Sweaters if I need them.

But it doesn't matter. None of this is simple, I'm told. My jeans should be different, so they show off my body. I shouldn't wear white socks with black shoes. A whole host of rules and things that I've got no knowledge of, and honestly, I wonder why I have to give a fuck. Who's making up these goddamn rules?

Nobody wants to be judged on how they look, right? Isn't this the mantra I keep hearing from women?

But we are judged on how we look. To an extent, I understand this; when we're talking about what's attractive to us, there is a visual element that cannot be denied. But there's always the slip, that moment where we cross from: that looks good to that's about them.

I hate it. I hate it that someone will look at my shoes or my shirt and decide things about me. Will see that I'm wearing white socks with my black shoes and think I look like an idiot. I don't think I look like an idiot, I'm just trying to avoid being mocked, but then again, I have to admit that my fashion knowledge is pretty much zero.


The other part of this is: I hate spending money on this shit. It seems so non-essential. Does this article of clothing fit? Is it comfortable? That's pretty much it for me, as far as it goes.
Well, ok: is it dark? Green, blue, purple (ha), black. Let's just stick with those colors, so I don't fuck anything up. White dress shirts are fine; those can't really be fucked up either. I don't like brown or beige or basically anything light-colored. White. That's it. I have a peach colored shirt that I pretty much wear at my peril, since I don't think I ever match the appropriate pants with it. I've got a yellow T that one of my sisters bought for me, but even she said that she knew I would only wear it for the slogan on the front.

Yes, yes; I could look for sales!
But that's just something else that I have to do that I don't want to do. Ebay for clothes. Great. I'm trying to drink here. Sometimes I even try to write.

And it's never just one thing. No. You can't just have pants that fit, because pants don't fit; you need a belt to make sure they stay on. You can't just have shoes that work, you need socks that go with your outfit. And on and on and on. More shit to keep track of. Does this belt go with the outfit? Is the shirt right? There is no; one thing fits all, or hell, I'd even accept 'most'.

They're clothes. They don't get me drunk, or laid; they exist to cover me from the cold, protect my feet from injury, and advertise band logos.

I don't need 3 pairs of shoes. I need shoes that don't hurt me when I walk 2.5 miles in 20 minutes. I need only 2 pairs of jeans; one to wear, and one to wear while the other is getting washed.

And since I'm not going to get it right, I'm going to have clothes pressed upon me: I'm entirely at the mercy of other people. I guess if I could learn it once, and then never have to think about it again, that would be ok, but mostly I just feel stupid, especially when I'm shown things I don't like (as with one ex-girlfriend) but there's an insistance that I look good in them, so I should wear them and like it. I don't like those clothes; why are you making me wear them?

It didn't matter. She knew more than I did, so I should suck it up. (Yes, I realize this has more to do with the kind of relationship I was in than it does about the clothes)

It's just: fuck man. The clothes are clean. They're all of some kind of evil dark shade. What more do you want?

And everyone tells me I should care about this. I suppose I do, but I'm just too utilitarian, and too cheap.

No. I take it back: I don't care about this, and I resent having to care about this. That's really the problem. Everyone else insists that this is important, and I don't see how having jeans that show off my ass will make me any happier. My opinion of what I look like won't change; I don't think I'm that attractive, nor that ugly. I just exist-a bit on the bland side, but nobody ever mistook me for cute, you know? Even if they did, I wouldn't want to be cute; cute is the worst thing to be. Cute is, in my experience, the female catch-all for anything they like; puppies, baby alligators, orchids, shoes, mini-cars, etc etc. It's the McDonalds word of good looks.

I'm happy just not looking like a dumbass. I think-maybe-I've accomplished this. That I have to pay attention to actually looking good, when I'm looking at far more difficult personal issues, confounds me. (Of course, one could argue that if I solve those personal issues, then I'll have to pay attention to fashion. Better to just stick with why unpleasant psychological issues. Less confusing.)

I guess the flip side of this is: I should give it a shot. Instead of resisting and insisting that everone else should accomodate me, I should just accept the advice of the well meaning, and do my best to try and get the things that someone else says looks good, that I can be OK wearing, and then buy that and hope I never have to deal with it again. I don't need any clothes for awhile, but the day will come, so I should prepare for it now. If I can learn a baseline of how it's done, these things become much less daunting, and I can ignore all the rest. Hopefully. If I start mentally prepping for it now, my complaining will be much less when the day comes, and I can take the advice in good spirit, learn from it, and move on.


DM said...

The other part of that is; I don't want to be a stick in the mud asshole about it, either. If given advice, I want to make sure I've got an open enough mind to hear it, internalize it, and move on.

I don't want to be someone who refuses to change. Cautious, sure, but there's more to life than being a statue, I'm told.

Kerry said...

Do have a friend who likes to shop, has decent fashion sense, will listen to your needs and is decisive? I think the goal should be to get into and out of the store/mall as quickly as possible with quality choices. You definitely shouldn't buy clothes that you don't feel comfortable in, because you won't wear them and they become a waste of money.

On shoes: Have you tried Docs? They have a lot of styles besides the boots that are classic. How about Skechers or Steve Maddens? They both have a lot of trainers that are comfortable, but are a little trendier than plain black. I can send you links. How about inserts if your feet hurt in other shoes?

Start with the socks. They're easy to find, cheap, and you don't have to try them on. It's all about baby steps.

Or if you are really not looking forward to a shopping trip, go out to dinner, have 2-3 drinks, and hit the store/mall at 7. Then you have two hours before it closes. That's plenty of time.

Sidenote: I just spent the last three hours watching "How Do I Look?" with my mom. It's one of her favorite shows. Very timely post, sir.

DM said...

The problem has been that, in the past I end up shopping with someone who either a) isn't decisive (my Mom, for all her fantastic intentions, would consider having me try on 10 different items) or b) didn't listen when I said: I don't like that (ex-girlfriend). So you could say I have trust issues here.

I mean, midget strippers have better fashion sense than me, but I'm not friendly with them. But yes, I do know people; they will most likely be tapped, next time I need pants.

As for shoes: I've not tried Docs, nor any of the others. The problem is that they're fucking expensive ($80+ is a hell of a lot of beer, you know?) and if they hurt me, then not only am I out 80 bucks, but I'm pissed off because I'm sore all the time. It just seems so lose-lose.
(and then, if I need inserts, that's like the belt issue: I can't just buy shoes now, I need something else to make sure the shoes function as they're supposed to function!)

I guess it'd be worth it if I could just have a pair of shoes that worked with most everything so I wouldn't have to think about this. And didn't get hurt. You've walked around with me (albeit briefly) so you have an idea of the pace I can set. On concrete, that's some wear and tear on the toes.

I do, however, like the idea of having drinks first, then getting in and getting out as quickly as possible. That might be the most sensible thing I've heard in years.

As with so many things, it's about perception. If I think the experience is going to be awful, then it will be. If I choose instead to learn, it will be far less painful.

Kerry said...

Yes and I remember asking "Why the hell are we walking so fast?"

Sometimes you have to spend more to get quality. If you get $20 shoes your feet might hurt and the shoes won't last as long. Spend $80-$100 on something well made and they will last longer and should be more comfortable. Docs last forever.

Something's got to give. Most likely you aren't going to find the perfect shirt on the first try. You have to try things on. I suggest that you have the person you take shopping with you take as much as the pain away as possible. Have them stand nearby, when you try on the clothes, if you don't like them, toss them out and have the person hang them up for you. That makes it faster.

Also, I have a friend that hates shopping. For Christmas he gives his sister money and she picks out everything. You can give a friend who likes shopping money and they can come back with the basics that you don't want to be bothered with. Socks, belts, and shoe inserts are all basics. Anyone can pick those for you.

You're right though, it all comes down to perception. It will be awful if you think it is going to be, but you can do little things (drinks, limit yourself to one or two stores, limit the time, bringing a friend, having a reward at the end) to make it not as awful. Can you tell, I've done this before?

DM said...

Actually, that's part of the problem-I've spent 80 bucks on shoes, and days later been unable to walk-but also unable to return the shoes. It seems like you have to get it right the first time, or you're screwed out of your money and is a little bit of pain.

But you're right; something has to give. I'll admit that I'm writing this post to get all that venom out, so that come the day, I can just go and be mostly good natured about the whole thing.

Not that I don't appreciate the dialogue or ideas! I do. I just wanted to bitch a little, so that I could get over it, if that makes sense.

What can I say, Kerry. I walk fast. But it got us places quickly, and on cold nights, that's a good thing.

Kerry said...

How about Rockports? They are supposed to be comfortable. They are less trendy than skechers, but they still have a lot of good looking shoes. I think they run about $90-$140 or so.

You should buy nice shoes from Nordstroms. They take everything back at any time. I don't even think you need the receipt. Then you could walk at your lightning speed everywhere for a few days and see if they work.

Bitching is warranted. You seem willing to accept solutions. That's all one can ask. I like shopping and solving problems so it's a good conversation.

DM said...

Heh. It was Rockports that killed me, actually. The other part is, if I spend 90 bucks on shoes, I expect them to last 3+ years, and somehow I doubt they will. I could be wrong, though.

But yes; good advice on the place to get shoes. They just never show their true selves on the first day, you know?

Kerry said...

Well shit. Then I don't know.

DM said...

Heh. 'S OK. Maybe I just need to give those shoes a shot. Maybe they'll be awesome?

Kerry said...

No way. If they hurt your feet once, screw them. Clarks are also known for comfort. I think they make shoes for men. They are even more than the Rockports though. I'm still thinking that inserts are your best option. I wonder why your feet hurt though. High arches?

DM said...

No idea on that one. And since I've never tried Skeechers or anything else...well, who knows?

Fuz said...

We can go shopping sometime if you want; it'll be (relatively) painless. And I won't make you try on goobery shit, but I can show you how to search for bargains, should you ever need to buy something a little more on the fancy end of the scale. I do decently well finding acceptable threads for myself; the process isn't hard. I agree, however, that it's not something one should dedicate one's life to.

BUT–honestly, if you're ever going to break the rules of fashion, this is a town to break the rules in. Well, maybe not the white socks with dark shoes…but overall I think you can get away with dressing in a style that allows you to feel comfortable here in ways you can't in, say, New Haven. I went out today in my alpaca wool hat, a Pansy Division black t-shirt (w/pink letters), olive green long-sleeve shirt, jeans and a denim jacket while carrying my rainbow-colored umbrella, and I didn't feel out of place or weird at all. In New Haven people might have looked at me a bit funny unless I was walking by the art school.

And as for shoes: you wear nice, brand-name shoes. Sure, they're not super-fly, but here in PDX comfort generally > fashion. And women here often know this. And those that don't…well, you don't want to spend a great deal of time with them, do you?

If you ever want to take a shopping trip, though, let me know. I promise I won't drag you through realms of tjbuejwg.