Monday, June 27, 2005

Where's the Beef?

There are things about us--about all of us--that cannot be hidden, no matter how hard we try. There is, perhaps, some sort of natural law that provides that deviation from instinctual behavior will end badly. It can be seen in the olde timey motto, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive." And, as luck would have it, that statement always has been, will, and should be true.

I know that I have stated in earlier posts just how important it is to actually pay attention to the world around you on a daily basis; both in the sense that "if you are not outraged, you are not paying attention" and in the sense that you may miss the broader trends and ideas that a myopic attitude would generally tune out. Case in point, there have been a lot of ideas bouncing in my skull (which is surprisingly thick but soft at the same time) lately that would lead one to make broad generalizations which can then be honed into finer--if only more focused--ideas. Deception, fronts, and any other misleading representation of one's self are nearly always misguided and regrettable, and yet seem omnipresent in today's society.

Being an avid people watcher I took lunch in the food court of a shopping mall today. It would seem that summer is upon us, because there was no lack of school age children whiling away their time in the air conditioned comfort of the local mall. A transgression that may be pardoned by the fact that the temperature nearly reached the century mark today here in the lovely suburbs of Chicago. Nonetheless, I was taken by the wide variety of outfits that were being sported in an effort by the masses to be "different". I am an absolute backer of the idea that anyone can wear anything that they want, so long as the clothing is age and body appropriate and pulled off with aplomb. However, I think the lengths being taken by some young people today to prove how unique they are simply looks exhausting. Perhaps it is because I feel that somewhere, deep down in my insides, I feel that there is an 84 year old grouch trying to get out. Or maybe it is my long-standing love of naps, but I just cannot imagine taking all the time to first think up some of these outfits, and then execute the purchase, organization, and dressing necessary to go out in public. I would be remiss if I was to put these people down for their habits. To dismiss them as a lesser person would be perfunctory and unfair seeing as they are quite possibly very nice, intelligent people. My argument is only that people should dress comfortably in styles that can transfer with ease through many social situations, because you never know when hanging-out-with-friends can turn into running-into-friend's-grandparents, who will be polite and tell you that you manner of dress is "unique" or "fun" but will secretly be wondering how your parents could have failed so miserably in your upbringing. Okay, I know this one is pretty much a dead horse, so I'll say only two more quick things about it. 1) When you try too hard for a "look" when dressing yourself, it usually shows. 2) Big ups to my cousin Molly for rockin' the popped-polo-collar and knowing that "if you're going to look good you have to be at least a little bit uncomfortable" is the first rule of fashion. (P.S.- I may not always look good, but I generally THINK I look good, which is often enough.)

The second part of this post is from an amalgamation of four separate things that happened recently, that crystallized in my mind the ideas that will be laid out to you, dear reader, here today. From a conversation at lunch today with a female co-worker, to the casual mention of a recent DVD release, to an article read today while lounging, to an exchange at a smoky basement bar this saturday past the idea of "faking-it" has come to the fore of my mind.

First I will tackle the barrom chat and the magazine article. I am a hairy man. I have come to terms with this. Anyone who has seen me without a shirt on can attest that I'd stand a good chance if lost in the arctic with only a pair of flannel P.J. bottoms. Of course, this is not to say that I'm happy that I am wooly, but rather that I have accepted it. It is part of my life. I didn't ask to get hair everywhere, but it was deemed that it should be so, and here I am. Until recently my prevailing thought on the subject was "ewww, gross", but recent shifts in attitudes--mostly mine--have lead me to think of it in a different light. This follicle situation is not a voluntary position I am in. Were it left up to me it would just disappear. And, of course, there are many ways to see that happen these days, I had to weigh those options against the fact that I shouldn't not have to endure the pain and financial loss necessary to achieve a smooth back simply to look like a pretty boy. I am charming, fun, smart, and witty and if a girl is going to discount me because of some unfortunate hair growth then it is probably best that I recognize that she is not the kind of woman I am in the market for anyway, right? Right. Some might call "sour grapes" on this kind of attitude and that is fine with me. Those are most likely those are the people who have just been spurned due to their own shallowness. That being said, a young woman reached down the back of my shirt and felt my back hair in a bar the other night. Whether she was disgusted or not is unknown to me, because the acted with grace and tact by not freaking out one way or the other. The world needs more people like that. As a final note on this bit here, I'll ask again for comments to be posted here--this time by the ladies only--stating your opinions on back hair, or hair in general, being a dealbreaker. Do not let anything I have said sway you, be honest and open, because life is more fun that way. Thanx.

The other part of being yourself that has me thinking today is the idea of acting differently than you instinctively would in any given situation. Obviously there are exceptions to this idea, such as farting at black-tie affairs, and really anything where manners should come first, but people should also try to represent themselves as true to form as they can in every day life, I think. While dining today with a female co-worker the subject of the behavior of young men came up. In asking my advice it was related that, having insisted upon this young woman taking his phone number he failed to return the ensuing call. I tried to offer advice, but the best I could do was suggest the way that I would find most humorous if accosted by a woman whom I had failed to call back. It occurred to me that this would be the natural response from the kind of girl I find interesting, but it might not be my friends automatic way of handling things. As a clarification, the way I told her to approach the young man was to say "Way to call me back, DICK!", an answer that I would find charming in its roughness, but perhaps would not work on other men. The point being that sometimes suggestions do not offer answers, and that people are better of going with their own true-blue inclinations rather than what others suggest or what they think someone else would expect. Honesty IS the best policy, so DON'T have a different act for different groups of friends or acquaintances but DO know how to handle yourself in myriad social situations--this includes being polite and charming, no matter what.

Okay, I think that's all for now. I'm really sleepy, but everybody should really get back to me on that back-hair thing. I really do want to know, and it is as easy as clicking on the little comment button at the bottom of this post. It won't take a second, and you'll barely feel a thing.

-A.R. Leith

Suggestions for today: If anybody finds themselves with a little spare time and they don't want to spend it helping me apply depillatory cream to my back they should check out these two essays that I have read lately that made me laugh out loud. The first one is by David Sedaris and is (I think) called "Six to Eight Black Men", and the other is by Dave Eggers called "Your Mother and I". Both are good, and funny, so turn off the goddamn TV for an hour and read something. Thank you, and goodnight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Back hair? It's life and not gross. If girls freak out, that's their problem, not yours. Though, sadly enough, I think it bothers more people than not. I would continue not worrying about it, and accepting it as the way things are.