Source: www.forbes.com – by By P.J. O ’ Rourke – (Photo credit: ForbesLife)
This story appears in the April issue of ForbesLife magazine, dated April 9, as a feature entitled “Men In Shorts.”
Sometimes, mainly in cold weather, we’re spared the sight of middle-aged men in T-shirts and shorts because they’re wearing T-shirts and jeans. Jeans fit the mature male one of two ways, both dirigible in nature. You make a public impression that’s either Hindenburg or Goodyear blimp.
The point of turning Casual Friday into Dress-Down-Month-of-Sundays is to be more comfortable. But, possessing a middle-aged man’s body myself, I’m more comfortable covering it than displaying it like flabby laundry on a clothesline.
And where do you put your things? I can’t leave the house without wallet, car keys, house keys, lighter, cigar case, cigar cutter, nicotine gum—because I’m giving up cigars—clean handkerchief, spare clean handkerchief for ladies in distress, and a fountain pen in case business correspondence starts being conducted on paper again. I have ten pockets in my suit and need them all, including the little one inside the jacket flap to ensure that I forget where the theater tickets are.
Those who work and travel in what’s basically their underwear require the giant Boy Scout backpacks that you see grown men huffing under in airplane aisles every time you turn around. And when they turn around, you get smacked right in the Scotch and rocks.
Comfortable means “easy.” So: Nothing’s easier than matching a pair of pants and a jacket that look exactly alike. I’ve got a closet full of blue suits and black wing tips. Any tie goes with a white shirt. I can get dressed in the dark. And—what with blinding hangovers from drinking on airplanes to soften the shock of first-class seats filled with graying, jowly urchins—I often do.
The kid-who-stayed-40-years-too-long-on-the-playground look doesn’t inspire trust. If dressing up as a third grader is your idea of how to treat yourself, what’s your idea of how to treat me?
And what’s the rest of the world’s idea of how to treat you? When I was growing up, I was told, “The way you dress is the way you’re regarded.” See Dennis the Menace in the funny pages of your local newspaper to discover how you’re regarded.
Another maxim from my youth was, “Don’t dress for the job you have; dress for the job you’d like to get.” Checked the ad listings lately for WANTED: GRADE-SCHOOL-RECESS BULLY?