Sunday, 6 October 2013

do not go gently into that frumpy sweater

This is an issue for guys who are well past their courting
days when the dick did all the thinking and the clothes
you chose looked good enough to get you laid.
We're talking about the next period when you tend to
disappear and want to disappear. That's actually a
result of lower libido, often brought on by marriage,
work stress, and crazy kids.

I think this Guardian story hit that issue right. The guy
didn't want to disappear, so he "dresses well". I don't
think that means red velour suits like George Galloway,
or anything, just taking care to look acceptablee
enough so people don't take a look at you and say
"poor old f$^&ker. I hope he doesn't talk to me".

There's something about being looked at by women
whom you find attractive. It just makes the day go
great. I don't know how the frumpy guys do without
that. That's not to say that you need good looks to
get attention, or get a date. You employ other skills.

I just want to delay the frumpy/grumpy rut, because
you can't easily get out of it. and that means exercise,
oh yes!
It doesn't mean spending a lot of money either, because
I follow this guy's habit of only shopping during sales.

Enjoy this not-yet-grumpy man: The Guardian

Dad fashion and why it matters
The older I get, the more important fashion gets – it's all that stops me looking like a total wreck. And I'm sick of unkind comments about my Sarah Lund sweater so I've got a new picture, see below ...
   Tim Lott       
     Friday 27 September 2013 13.00 BST  
Tim Lott: 'Clothes have transformative power, at least in my own head.' Photograph: Karen Robinson
The more observant among you will notice that I have a different picture byline today. That is because I have taken too much online mockery of my magnificent Sarah Lund sweater to endure. I wanted to replace it with a photo of me in a rather spiffing pork pie hat (available to view for my Twitter followers) but the editors gently, and rather kindly, dissuaded me.
I think they were worried that I would look a bit of a bell end. (Who wears hats in byline pictures?) I might be accused of mutton dressed as lamb. But what can one, as a ratty old sheep, get away with?
Fathers' leisurewear looks very different from the way it did when I was growing up. I have a snapshot of my dad mowing the lawn in a shirt and tie. Some of the same attitude still seems to survive among the elderly Irish gentleman I see in some parts of Kilburn, north London. But in my neck of the woods, most of the dads don't dress that differently from young men.
Despite the fact that the Times reported last week that men give up on their appearance around the age of 46, my locals look pretty good. The clothes are slick – lots of Zara, Cos and carefully signified denim. Then again, they are mostly a decade or so younger than me – so just on the brink of giving up. Within six months, I imagine them all in trousers with elasticated waistbands and sport jackets.
I am now 57 with four children, but I still go to some lengths to dress. Am I trying to be fashionable? No. I have absolutely no idea of what is fashionable and what is not. Most of my clothes are bought in charity shops, or in the last week of the sales.
I am not after being cool. I am old enough now to occasionally receive the age-specific compliment of "dapper" (you would never tell a man under 40 that he looked dapper). That's fine with me. I just don't want to look like those men – undoubtedly dads – you see in the home counties in trousers with shirts they bought on mail order from the back pages of the colour supplement magazines.
If you Google Image search "dad fashion", one of the first pictures you'll see is of Mitt Romney in a blue crew-neck sweater. This what fathers are meant to wear. Sensible sweaters as well as sturdy shoes, anoraks and cagoules. Smart, comfortable, practical are the keywords. The clothes make a statement: "I am content to be entirely invisible. I am a man taken off the aesthetic playing field by the acquisition of a wife/children/wrinkles. I only bothered in the first place because I wanted a girlfriend, and now I've got a wife, I can let myself go to shit."
But I can't go down that path. The older you get, the more important fashion gets because it is the only thing that will stop you looking like a total wreck. You cannot afford bad clothes any more. You can only afford good clothes.
I am not content to be invisible. I want to dress up. It makes me feel good – clothes have transformative power, at least in my own head. My daughters mock me – Rose, 18, never stops trying to get me to abandon the hats – but one of the great things about being a dad rather than a teenager, is that I just don't care any more (the Sarah Lund sweater is an exception – who could take scores of people telling you that you look like the bastard son of Val Doonican and Sue Lawley?).
A few people have asked me, of an ordinary day, "What are you all dressed up for?" And I reply, "It's just the theatre of everyday life."
That sums it up – changing the way you look just because you can for nothing more than dramatic effect. And that's a pleasure that is, or should be, ageless as well as priceless.
• Follow Tim on Twitter @timlottwriter