Gurney's Inn
April 25, 2007

Low Tidings

Men's Fashion Trends

I have observed a new phenomena of late — guys who wear hoods. Of course, this makes perfect sense during the winter, like when it is snowing outside, but it makes little sense inside a building and no sense when it's warm out. It is a trend that cuts across all ethnic and class lines, especially among teenagers.

To me, if you are an ogre or the Grim Reaper, wearing a hood is a fashionable accessory worth having. It might also come in handy if you are extremely ugly — just put it on backwards. For the rest of us? I don't think so.

I walked into the pet supply shop the other day and both guys behind the counter had hoods on, obscuring the sides of their faces. "Excuse me," I said. "Do you work here or is this an armed robbery?"

Wearing hoods is a silly trend, but I'm assuming it is just that: a trend. Some day soon, one of our brighter young people — and this is such a truly brilliant generation of teens we are raising — will have an epiphany, and realize they are sweating like a Sumo wrestler in an aerobics class because they have a hooded sweatshirt on and it's 80 freaking degrees.

Yes, like the backwards baseball cap and baggy pants, some day sanity will be restored and kids will realize they don't look cool, they look like schmucks.

Unfortunately, sandals have been around for thousands of years and probably always will be. Men who wear sandals are an adamant bunch, and will never wise up. To me, sandals are the silliest things ever made for feet since Earth Shoes were unleashed on the unsuspecting public. (I realize clogs are almost equally nonsensical, but at least you can wield a stray clog as a hammer in a pinch.)

Unless you are an apostle, you should avoid wearing sandals, and if you are one, ask Jesus why he invented the ugly things.

First of all, sandals expose your feet. Women have pretty feet. They are like swans, ballerinas. They are small and soft and the nails are manicured and painted. Some men think of them as sexual objects. I, for example, like to stick them in my nostrils, but that is a column for another time. Women have pretty feet, and it's OK to display them in public.

Men have big, ugly, hairy feet. Our toes look like deformed fetuses. We have corns, moles, blisters, calluses and assorted scars. There is stuff between the toes, bad stuff, stuff that smells like Gorgonzola cheese (I actually think I have some cheese between my big and second toes on my left foot. I think it got there the time I . . . well , never mind).

Because I am an athlete, I have Athlete's Foot. In fact, I have Athlete's Feet and I hope it never goes away.

Real men don't get pedicures, either. Our toenails are jagged and dirty, and far too long except a couple, that snag onto our sweat socks when we put them on, so we've ripped at them with our bare hands until they were weakened enough to be torn away. Jagged, torn, nails with dried blood under them says "tough guy" around my house.

Feet like these should never be exposed. They are to be hidden, like lepers.

Sandals let dirt and sand get under your feet. The straps and buckles hurt. That would be OK if they were cool, but they aren't. Sandals say "burnt out." Sandals scream "delusional poet." We've all seen that guy in our lives, the finger snapping, "serious" poet whose "readings" in obscure book stores and coffee houses attract other sandal wearing losers who pretend they "get it."

A sparrow

Helicopter pads form the vertex

Mother knits

The sun capsizes

And I regurgitate

Everyone claps and flaps their sandals. "Cool, Daddy-O! Cool!"

Here is my guide to men's footwear:

Boots: basically, boots went out of favor 20 years ago. If you don't have a motorcycle, and you wear dress-up boots with pointy toes, you are probably a latent homosexual. Waders are OK — if you're a fisherman; goulashes went out with rosary beads.

Flip Flops: Wearers should be executed immediately. If they are lime green or pink, you should be tortured and then killed.

Bare feet: Unless you are Christ, don't go there. There's a lot of dog poop in these hills, partner.

Sneakers: Yes, but only basketball sneakers that cost over $120 and glow in the dark. Otherwise, consider baseball cleats — they sound really cool, especially when you tap dance. Ice skates are also fun to wear around.

For those who want to know what I wear, you should know me well enough to know only the hippest accessories will do: penny loafers, yes, with the penny in. In fact, I have an appointment with a television producer tomorrow and I'll be wearing them along with my Nehru jacket and striped pants. I'm pitching a TV show totally unique and cutting edge that I'm writing. It's about a nun who can fly. You read it here first.

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