April 16th, 2009

Mad Red


The sound of rushing water brought Brigid slowly but persistently back to the land of the living; the room was dim except for a vague yellow light from under a nearby door, and the bright red LED "6:47 AM" that was poking her in the eyes. She blinked and pushed herself up onto an elbow, to discover that she was in a room she barely recognized, clad only in a blanket and her socks. The rushing water was now identifiable as the sound of a shower coming from the vaguely-yellow room.

My socks? she thought, and the evening came back to her. Oh yeah. Cole's place. Okay. Why the hell am I awake at six in the morning? She gathered the blanket around her shoulders and curled into a tight ball, but sleep evaded her.

Within a minute or two the shower was turned off and miscellaneous bumps and shuffling sounds consistent with somebody drying off sounded through the wall; then the bathroom door was thrown wide, and Brigid's skull was assaulted by a vicious, vaguely-yellow light. "Mmmrph!" she said, and curled up tighter.

"Hey," said the silhouette of Cole, spiky hair going in every direction. He crossed past the foot of the bed and started rummaging around in his closet.

"It's early," said Brigid.

"Got class," said Cole.

If I had class, would I be in this bed wearing nothing but my socks? Brigid thought. "Huh?" was what she actually said.

"Tae Kwon Do," Cole said. "Belt test today. Gotta get there early and set up. You want breakfast?" Brigid blinked; he was already wearing sweats and a T-shirt that read "Leaping Tiger Martial Arts."

"Ermph," Brigid replied.

"Well, if you do, there's cereal. Lock the door if you go, 'kay?" He leaned over and kissed the side of her head. "Later," he said, and walked out of the room, carrying a pair of sneakers.

"You hopeless romantic you," Brigid murmured as she heard the front door close.

-The Gneech

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Classic Style

When Dandyism Becomes WTFery

I aim to dress up rather than dress down; this is old news. However, there comes a point at which sartorial agony crosses into ranting insanity, and George Will has just crossed it.

Long ago, when James Dean and Marlon Brando wore it, denim was, Akst says, “a symbol of youthful defiance.” Today, Silicon Valley billionaires are rebels without causes beyond poses, wearing jeans when introducing new products. Akst’s summa contra denim is grand as far as it goes, but it only scratches the surface of this blight on Americans’ surfaces. Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults (Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men) and cartoons for adults (King of the Hill). Seventy-five percent of American “gamers” — people who play video games — are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six — so far — Batman adventures and Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps, coming soon to a cineplex near you). Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy’s catechism of leveling — thou shalt not dress better than society’s most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism — of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste. Denim is the carefully calculated costume of people eager to communicate indifference to appearances. But the appearances that people choose to present in public are cues from which we make inferences about their maturity and respect for those to whom they are presenting themselves.

Er ... what? 0.o This isn't commentary on style, this is more like the paranoid ramblings of a schizophrenic.

The only reason I happened upon this is because kinkyturtle posted a link to it, commenting that it reminded him on one of my own posts on the subject of dress (I'm guessing it was this one). I am gratified that he was quick to point out the distinction between my wistful desire that people would dress better generally compared to this column's scattershot condemnation of anyone who doesn't Act Like a Grownup for Chrissake — but at the same time to be mentioned in the same context of such raving lunacy has given me pause.

So for the record: if you like denim, please, by all means wear it. I have no idea what George Will is smoking.

-The Gneech