Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Advice

Okay... so for the most part I agree with you B.A.F.F.L.E.D. However, I think you need to provide a little more direction for the asethetically challenged men out there. So, I'm taking your summer fashion points and expanding on them a bit.

1st - ALWAYS HAVE A HAT IN CHECK. But keep in mind what hat it is, where you are going, and what else you are wearing. And, also keep in mind how your hair is going to look if you decide (or are required) to lose the hat depending upon what watering hole you venture into (note #5). Some bars and clubs wont let you wear any headgear, so make a note of where you're going. Remember, bad hat hair isn't exactly trendy; take a look for yourself here.

If you're in the sun, keep tan lines in mind. The mid-forehead tan line from a backwards baseball cap says, "I love sports, but I don't like talking to attractive girls." If you dont believe me take a look here. I suppose you could give this a go, but I wouldn't consider it a viable option.

And, finally, you should all know the color rules by now. Try to match the color of the hat with something else you are wearing. Or, at least make sure they don't clash, unless that's what you're going for. This is a FAIL. Here are examples of well paired and well worn fedoras. Here are epic fails at piecing baseball caps with outfits. And, here's a good example. NOTE: I don't like trucker hats, but if you wear one, I'd suggest not wearing it backwards. Otherwise, splurge for a fitted baseball cap.

2nd - WATCH YOUR FEET - I agree, try and take care of your feet, though I'm not great at it because I'm always wearing socks. But, this is especially important if you plan on either 1) wearing sandals or flip flops or whatever, or 2) you ever plan on taking off your socks around a human being who appreciates good grooming habits. If you wear socks all the time, your feet may dry out. Invest in some lotion. And, at least make an attempt at keep your toe nails trimmed and clean. You don't want your feet to look like this (funny, not gross). The more athletic male may find that his toes suffer from jamming into the toe of his shoe while being active. Buy shoes that fit! Again, note the color scheme. And, note the following as a universal rule: NO SOCKS WITH SANDALS OR ANY SIMILAR TYPE OF FOOTWEAR! And, just throw out the crocs already... or at least don't wear them anywhere you plan to be "trendy."

3rd - EMBRACE BRIGHT COLORS - I most certainly agree, though I'm not completely sure about the pastels. Look, stores like Express have made colors easy for guys. Granted, stocking up on every shade they have will get expensive over time. If you take care of your clothes, they will last though. Take a look at Espress' Men's line. They have some bright reds, blues, purples, and etcetera that will really light up in bar with dimmed/mood lighting. Granted, a few shades may be "too bright" in the midday sunshine, but you can play that down a bit with darkr colors underneath. You can also wear a neutral or plain color on top, and brighten it with a bright color underneath as well (which may be more appropriate during the midday sunshine). Other stores are starting to get better at providing good coloring in their items, without the $50-$80 price tag. Don't just buy something because you like it, but it because you like it and it goes with five things you already have. Try and mix and match your items. It'll expand your wardrobe emensely.

4th - SHADES ARE A MUST! - But, you do NOT need a $200+ of Oakley's, or whatever, from any Sunglass hut or spinoff store. Hit up a Target. YES, I SAID TARGET. Check out the Mossimo aviators. They have the more traditional ones, and then some kind of squared ones. They have mirrored, and non-mirrored, polarized and non-polarized. No, they dont have the kind that are polarized depending upon the sun's intensity, but are those really necessary? And, the best thing is... they are about $15 each; which means when you sit on them, step on them, drop them, or simply just lose them (like I always seem to), they are not expensive to replace. NOTE: I can't find these online, but every time I hit up any of the local Target stores they have them. Additionally, make sure the style you buy fits your face, and your style. You wanna feel good, as much as you wanna look good.

5th - CHECK YOUR HAIR - Please do. Check the lines, at the edges, especially if you have a short style. If you havent had your hair cut in awhile, you'll likely at least need a neck trim, and a trim around the ears. Check your nose hair and eyebrows for that matter too. You can Google or YouTube how to groom your eyebrows on your own. Do it. It's simple, and you do not need to see a barber for it. And, you wont look like the dad from American Pie every time you hit the club.

Also, I have a major tip for the guys out there who like to spike your hair up. Do you want soft spikey hair like you see all the celebrities have? Have you tried a billion products and continue to have that gunky feeling when you run your hands through it? Or, do you suffer from having to practically glue your hair into spikes every weekend evening? TRY THIS! First, if you want your hair straight, or straightish, go buy a stupid flat iron. Buy it online if you are afraid or embarassed to buy it in the store. The excuse, "I accidentally broke my girlfriend's" is always useful. Buy a cheap one. You do not need a $300 CHI. Second, go to an Aveda and get yourself some control paste. Third, apply a small amount of control paste to your hands, rub it into your hands, then apply it to your hair like you usually apply your hair glues. Then slowly flat iron your hair. WARNING: You WILL burn yourself until you learn to use the thing correctly. Be careful! And YouTube how to use one correctly. Doing this leaves you with a slight shine to your hair, and it becomes much softer. You can then apply a little more control paste if your hair wont completely cooperate in the way that you want it to. It wont work perfectly right away. But, once you understand how it works, you can adjust your system accordingly.

FINALLY - Have some fun with it. Try some new and daring stuff. Who cares if not everyone likes it. It will get you some attention.

I'm just a normal guy... Most the time I look like this. But sometimes, I look like this, this, this, or even this. It may not be your style. Or, you may think I'm butt ugly; that's fine with me. I'm not a model, and I'm not going to sit here and say I'm a fashion expert. I'm clearly not. And, I still make a lot of guy mistakes. In fact, sometimes I still make the mistakes I've listed above. But, I do try. And, I think you'll find the more you try, the more confident you'll be come, and the more fun you'll have. Good luck!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pieces of Your Presence Here

Milky warm like coffee creamer or Half and Half, the September sun baths your face in a glorious refulgence of amber. And calmly, quietly, like a growing blade of grass, awareness seeps in to your nostrils like the sent of dry red pepper. It permeates your ears like the drizzling of a weak rain. Taking your first long opened mouth breaths, the pressure on your chest brings a smile to your lips. And the quaking of your heart, the shivering of your apprehension and goose bumps arrive after you open your eyes.

Light brown, potato skin colored, shoulder length hair covers golden-iced tea eyes and eighteen year old pudgy cheeks. She sighs soft like butterflies fly when she sleeps and it might just be the most comforting sound you’ve ever heard. Her body sways in contrast as her smaller tanned frame takes meeker breaths than your own. And her black, throw back, Miami Vice t-shirt and green shorts are no longer covered by even just one of the few cotton throws surrounding the folded out futon-bed. Three sheets, one checkered in rubber ducks and the other two composed of a plaid pattern, hang around the back and sides of your present abode, suspended from the lofted bed frames above. The fourth side you left open to let the sun in through the window. And finally, one plain white sheet covers your fortress; which she aptly named Fort 2k3.

The name, Fort 2k3 strikes you as a little odd at first. It is the only fort you can remember building that anyone had ever taken the time to name. Twenty years of fort building, and not once had you, or anyone else for that matter, ever named one of your forts. And it is not as if you kept your fort building ability all to yourself all of these years. Sure, your forts started out as simple one sheet forts. The easiest example of a one sheet fort was pulling the footstool about five feet away from the living room chair and laying a blanket over the top of the space between the two.

But no, oh no, you weren’t confined to such simple forts for long. In no time, your forts expand into one’s with various different crawl spaces and rooms that covered half of entire household floor plans. They were massive concoctions that threatened to disrobe every bed in the entire house, even after emptying the linen closet. And if anyone knows anything about fort building, you know best of all that one can never have too many bed sheets when building a fort. And when you’re that young, the idea is clear. You build the fort not only to keep what is outside out, but also to keep what is inside in. And you get to choose who and what is both inside and outside of your fortress’ walls.

When you were five, the decision of what to include and exclude was as big as, could Max, your hyper two year old beagle, join you in your sacred hiding place? Could your fortress walls, built of linen and sewn together by your rich imagination and a heart enslaved by a rib cage much too small for its actual size, bear Max’s rambunctious livelihood? And although that might seem like a simple decision now, at the time, it was as important to you then as was the decision of what candy bar to buy at the gas station. Invite your good friend and risk him destroying your fort, or spend the hours alone with no threat of loosing what you’ve worked so hard to build.

As the years passed the decisions became harder. By age seven you were asked if your big sister could come in. And you couldn’t help but to ask yourself, “Was she planning to steal your fort for herself?”

By age eleven your forts began to change shape. No longer constructed with bed sheets and pillows, the tangible finally began to make way for the metaphysical. In other words, your bedroom itself turned into a fort of sorts, protecting your most sacred secrets within its walls. From your baseball card collection and your championship trophies, from the angry arguments your parents had that you couldn’t help but hear, the walls kept out what didn’t belong and welcomed all that did.

Then somewhere between the ages of thirteen and fifteen your body itself became a full symbol of a fortress. Your experiences with personal growth, puberty, your first kiss, major growth spurts, first girlfriend and etcetera all became a part of what you let in and kept out of your personal fortress. No longer was your fortress a simple extension of your imagination. Over time, it became an extension of your soul. And the decisions you made about what to allow into your fort and what you protected yourself from became extensions of yourself as well.

Returning to your first attempt at a fort; the one made with a sheet, chair and ottoman, you ask, “What else could anyone expect from a five year old? What was the point, the purpose of a sixty square foot fortress with linen walls?” Well if they bothered asking, you knew they’d never understand; and by ‘They’ you mean anyone who was not accustomed to such things as fort building. What is a secret, and how vulnerable are you if under whatever guise you may, you hold nothing in silence? Even five year olds can understand that some things are better off kept as secrets than revealed.

And as the things around you crumble to the ground, as your family falls apart and you move out of your house, your fortress walls thicken, and your rib cage closes tighter as your once bulbous heart deflates. You close off all the entrances to yourself. And the less entrances there are to fort, the less exits. It’s hard to build or hold onto relationships when you cut off all connections. It is a pretty lonely place holding, yourself hostage inside you.

It takes a certain kind of something to reach inside you, and a certain kind of someone to wait patiently for you to do so. It is hard to pull you out of the secret depths of your own soul. The fort you share with her, that you claim you built for her, now holds what inside its walls? You and she are obvious, but it holds your secret most of all. She met you by chance on an elevator. She smiled. You laughed. She offered you a chance to pull you from the depths of sorrow that shown like deep sea trenches in your eyes.

And the glitter of her innocence sparkling in her eyes hid her own sorrow pretty well. From day to day, and week to week chance occurrences, became carefully planned out accidental meetings in back hallways, random purposefully aligned club call-outs, and cast as stowaways to corner cafeteria tables. Time stood circumspectly in the midst of your merging, meshing fortresses. Thinking back you realize James Blunt explains her affect on you best when he sang, “You touched my heart you touched my soul. You changed my life and all my goals. And love is blind and that I knew when, my heart was blinded by you.” And she blinded you and stole your soul, held you captive and would not let go. And as awkward as it might seem, never giving up on you was what you both needed.

Well minutes turn to hours and hours to days as you savor every moment. She cries that sweet sigh, shifts, wriggles her nose and smiles her bright honey eyes at your charcoal speckled baby blues. She climbs over you and lies down on your chest, arms under her chin. She crawls closer and presses her cheek against your roughly shaven, stubble covered face, and you both laugh lightly but playfully.

At only thirty years old she left you for good with a midget version of herself. And every smile from your daughter’s eyes reminds you of the flying hugs she used to give you. You think it is amazing how they shared a love for stuffed monkeys instead of teddy bears and somehow you know she will be addicted to spray-tans too. You can already tell Nicole will be a member of the last great story tellers like she always claimed to be as well.

You keep a picture of Fort 2k3 in your wallet for safe keep. You still have the Walmart receipt she scribbled her number on. She told you just before it was time for her to go that she and Nicole both needed you to be strong. And wiping gut wrenching tears from your eyes she says, “Daddy what’s wrong? Momma said it’s okay to cry. You know what else she said?”
Choking back your tears with the strength of a garbage disposal, “No honey, what else did Mamma say?”
“She said, ‘There must be an angel with a smile on her face, when she thought up that she should be with you.’

And afterwards you think… I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you… And it is true, maybe more true than you would believe at the time. You met by chance on an elevator. As she walked by your eyes kissed a moment and shown matching, mirroring speckles of different colors. She smiled. You laughed. And now sitting here as your eyelids take their final bows eclipsing your soul’s greatest windows with your daughter in your lap, Colin Hays strums to the beat of your calming pulse…

"I'm no longer moved to drink strong whisky
'Cause I shook the hand of time and I knew
That if I lived till I could no longer climb my stairs
I just don't think I'll ever get over you
Your face it dances and it haunts me
Your laughter's still ringing in my ears
I still find pieces of your presence here..." ~ Colin Hay