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Archive for August, 2009

I can say, unscientifically, that the women I know care more about fashion than most of the [heterosexual] men I know. We ladies keep up with trends (Fall is coming, have you stocked up on navy blue nail polish and boots that go slightly above your knee? And why the hell are the ’80s back?!) It’s true that women dress for each other, because most guys really don’t notice half of the details of the outfits we carefully assemble. As for the gents…”dressing up” is a button-down shirt and jeans, and maybe a sweater on top if its chilly. If they feel like switching things up, they’ll wear a gray sweater instead of a black one.

It seems so simple, but it takes a man some effort to look good. One guy I know asked me how a man could, at least marginally, keep up with trends to avoid looking like his mom picked out his clothes. Here’s how: Men’s clothing doesn’t change much, but the shapes of that clothing does. So, here’s a breakdown of a typical man’s wardrobe, and the do’s and don’ts:

Jeans

  • Hot: Tighter fit, lower waist, boot cut or straight leg, long enough leg so the back of the hem is about an inch from the ground. I generally like a darker wash, as they can be dressed up or down.
  • Not: High waist, tapered ankle, too short of an inseam. Icky lighter wash, or that weird medium blue wash that was big in the ’90s.

T-shirts

  • Hot: Tighter fit, longer length. Crew neck is classic, v-neck is a matter of taste. Just avoid the douchebag neck. Solid color is great, wear patterns with caution. Some people can pull off the ironic message shirt, but make sure people actually find it funny. The older you get, the less cute it is.
  • Not: Nothing is weirder-looking that a too-short over-sized t-shirt that gets wider toward the bottom so it fits like a circus tent. No ugly old touristy shirts.

Button-down shirts

  • Hot: Again, a tighter fit (noticing a trend?) with some stretch for comfort. The fit can be looser if you intend to tuck the shirt in (so you might have some looser ones for work in more traditional colors like white and blue, and some tighter ones for going out in funkier colors or patterns).
  • Not: Those light blue oxford shirts with the collars that button down. An untucked shirt with a looser fit — you get that circus tent effect again. Any colorful shirt with a white collar and cuffs.

Non-denim pants

  • Hot: Flat-front, no cuffs.
  • Not: The opposite.

Dress shoes

  • Hot: Lace-up in brown and black will take you far. Navy suits look fresher with brown shoes and belt.
  • Not: Loafers or anything with tassels.

Sneakers

  • Hot: Anything of the low-performance variety (Pumas, those gray suede New Balance sneakers, etc.)
  • Not: Puffy white running shoes, unless you’re actually going for a run.

Other tips: Own proper outerwear — A wool coat in black or camel and a trench coat in either of those colors. Maybe a leather jacket also. Three crew-neck or v-neck sweaters in neutral colors (black, brown, gray, navy) will take you far. Keep your clothes in good shape and replace items that are worn out. Nothing is sexy about a sweater with holes in it or a t-shirt with sweat stains. You don’t need a lot of clothing to build up a good wardrobe. Don’t wear jewelry beyond a watch and wedding ring, and invest in a nice watch.

So, there you have it. This is a list of what women in the age range you want to date find attractive. Listen to your mom in general, but not about fashion, as she picked your clothes in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which were two very unfortunate periods of time, sartorially speaking.

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Glory be!

My modem broke and I was without internet access at home for a little over a week. Granted, I could check my email and stuff from work, but I don’t blog from there. And I wasn’t about to try it from my phone. Anyway, now that I’ve caught up on about 9 days worth of friends’ tweets, I’m back to blogging. I massively reduced my internet usage while it wasn’t working. I was a lot more productive!

A conversation with a friend led me to an interesting realization: Men are expected (according to society and all) to approach women they find attractive, while women are to be chased. However, men are not as good at reading social cues as women are, so they freeze up during the approach because they can’t tell if the woman wants it.

The friend offered this metaphor: “It’s like God gave all women red plumage, and then made all men red-green colorblind.”

So true.

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The system is down

The internet connection has been spotty at best at CHO HQ all day, so I’ll make this a quick post before it goes out again.

Shameless plug!
Reader Dixie, who wrote in asking about how to kindly let a guy know you’re not interested in another date (she’s letter #2), is blogging about her dating experiences. Check it out!

More hilarious Google searches
Among the more predictable Google searches used to find this blog, I bring you these:

“asshole exhibit”
“i like to be handcuffed”

Who doesn’t, really? Have a good week, everyone!

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Somehow, I will tie this back into dating, but even if I don’t, I just wanted to share. This article from the Washington Post is an interesting read, and the comments are worth a look. The jist: Sarah Fine, who started teaching for a charter school in D.C. in 2005, is quitting. She articulately lists the reasons she so quickly burned out on a job that had once been her passion. The comments range from sympathy and support to flat-out insults. People accuse her of being coddled and self-entitled, because though she claims she went into teaching for altruistic reasons, she’s leaving for selfish ones. Several commenters say that they don’t need “quitters like her.”

For some reason, comments like that struck a nerve with me. Some time ago I switched jobs, and there was definitely the mindset from some co-workers that I was selling out and they didn’t need quitters like me who couldn’t hack it (this was an extremely small minority, most co-workers very completely supportive). To which I say: whatever. I’m not out to impress anyone. I’m not out to save the world. I’m out to find something to do for 40+ hours a week where I don’t come home feeling worthless and exhausted, and I don’t fear Mondays. So the nay-sayers can keep their “ideals,” I will keep my soul.

So, obviously, I side with Sarah Fine on this. Life is too short to put up with shit. Really! That whole thing about never quitting and “staying the course”…seriously? This isn’t Iraq. And even that’s a questionable use of time and resources.

In the past few years, I’ve become a fan of quitting things that don’t work for me. Job no good? Find a better one and quit. Friends bringing you down? Cull the herd and only stick to those with whom you can have a positive, fulfilling friendship. Is your relationship unhealthy to the point where no amount of talking or counseling will fix it? Don’t waste your time when you could be spending that time with someone better for you.

This philosophy might make some people think I’m an inconstant friend, a poor employee, and a cruddy girlfriend. That isn’t true. I’m loyal to friends, but not when the friendship becomes one-sided and I end up having to pick up after an emotional mess who refuses professional help when they need it. I’m a solid worker, but I don’t let my job become my life. I’d be one hell of a girlfriend to the guy who appreciates it.

Don’t think of it so much as quitting. Think of it as editing your life. You don’t need clutter in the form of an emotionally-draining job, friend, or significant other. Life is short and it is to be enjoyed. The world needs quitters like Sarah Fine. Sometimes, the best way to make your point is to vote with your feet.

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Read it here.

What I find interesting is that this article tells you to listen to your intuition. Simple advice, isn’t it? But so many of us don’t. That little voice in your mind, or that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, will not steer you in the wrong direction. If something’s telling you a relationship isn’t good, listen. The rest of your body tends to realize things much sooner than your heart.

Another good line from this article: “People who have great relationships don’t spend very much time talking about them to others.” True story! I can tell when a friend of mine has met someone good when I ask “Hey, how’s [significant other]?” and all they have to respond with is “They’re great!” before changing the subject to the fact that the Mad Men season premiere is next week. It’s when I ask and they launch into this long speech filled with rationalizations that I see the doubt in their eyes.

So, the takeaways: Listen to your gut, and the more you need to analyze about your relationship, the worse it’s probably going.

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A friend tipped me off to this little gem, where a man named Dimitri leaves two voicemails for a woman named Olga. Apparently he met her on the street and she gave him her business card. Then he proceeded to leave two extremely long, oversharing voicemails where he comes off as a narcissistic, controlling, mentally unstable asshat.

Men, sometimes women play games. They give you their number but never call back, or play hard to get. It’s annoying, I know. But if you left a woman a voicemail like Dimitri’s, she wouldn’t respond for fear of her safety. If you’re laying it all out on the line like this because you’ve been toyed with by women before, it’s not going to get you results. Just like you don’t like to take the blame when other men have hurt a woman, we don’t like it when you automatically assume we’re going to hurt you before we’ve even exchanged last names.

I once met a guy at a bar. We talked for awhile and got along well, so I gave him my number and clearly said, “I’d like to go out with you sometime.” Later in the evening he asked if he could kiss me, and I politely said I’d rather get to know him a bit better first. Suddenly, he got defensive, and said now he wouldn’t call me, that I’d have to call him, because he didn’t want to call me if I was just going to reject him or ignore the call. I was like, “What? I said to you not 20 minutes ago that I wanted to go out with you, and I gave you my number. You know what that means? That I want to go out with you, so you should call my number.” I wasn’t going to fall for this shit.

So I never called, and in a few days he called anyway. We went out for dinner once and I never saw him again. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t even bothered, because he went from zero to asshole in 3 seconds, but I gave him a chance, and he was actually perfectly polite on the date. But yeah, if you get weirdly aggressive because you don’t get your way, don’t be surprised if women you meet disappear.

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