Monday, March 19, 2018

Khakis and a button down

I'm a 38 year old married father. I work in the grocery business. Most days I work inside a refrigerated walk in cooler. When I work I wear a butcher's coat and a red apron over my street clothes.

In the course of about the fifteen years I've become a tee shirt and jeans kind of guy. If I dress up, it's for a wedding. Which means that every time there is a wedding I have to buy an outfit to wear, because the last suit, dress shirt, slacks and or blazer I bought doesn't fit anymore. I don't comb my hair most days because of my standard issue logo adorned baseball cap. So when I decide to "dress up" people don't know what to make of it, but I'll come back to that.

Once upon a time, I was a shirt and tie and pocket square kind of guy. First, when I sold cars and then when I ran a bus station. I owned a wide array of suits, dress shirts, ties, vests, slacks, dress shoes and belts. I even had a pocket watch. I took pride in dressing well.

The challenges then and now were to find affordable quality apparel in my unique dimensions. In other words, I realized quickly that most suits in my size were either black or blue. Everything else seemed to be overpriced. I remember belts in my size that could handle the daily wear and tear were 60 bucks and up. Don't get me started on "Big & Tall" shops and online stores. We're talking 50 dollar shirts, hundred dollar pants and 300 to 600 coats.

Recently my interest in dressing well saw a resurgence. I guess it started when I watched the new Queer Eye on Netflix. Many of the subjects were regular, hard working family men who got into a rut and forgot how good it felt to look good. They got used to easy and familiar, so didn't make any effort. After witnessing the transformations, I realized that it wasn't as complicated as it seems. Every guy got a cut and a shave. They bought them collard shirts that could go from casual to dinner date, based on the type of pant and footwear and a standard blazer. It occurred to me that I didn't need to hire a tailor to dress better. What inspired me most was the change in the way they saw them selves. They way they interacted with their loved ones and there willingness to embrace the change.

It's interesting that in society today,  wearing a collard shirt with some khakis is "dressing up" It fascinates me when I look at pictures of men in the first half of the 20th century. Men wore slacks and a shirt and tie. Not just business men, or rich men. Butchers, barbers, even shop keeps. In the early days of commercial flight it was considered a luxury, so when a man boarded a plane, he wore a suit. Athletes wore suits when traveling to games. Athletic clothing wasn't a thing until the 60's. Prior to athletic wear, there was sport attire.
Even young men's attire was dressier. It included a shirt, slacks, a vest and a news boy cap.

Fast forward to today. Monday's are my office day. I usually spend my day reconciling the previous week and planning for the current week. I sit at my desk for at least 6 hours, which might not seem like much to some. Yesterday, I decided to buy some khakis to wear today with a dress shirt or a polo. So I wore my new khakis, a striped blue button down long sleeved shirt. Tucked in of course and some gum bottom Pumas. Topped it off with a vintage Kangol wool cap and a canvas messenger bag. It really wasn't  that dressy. I saw it more as business casual. One of reasons I chose to dress was because I have "face to face" financial meetings with my bosses on Mondays. I felt that if I wanted to be taken seriously when talking business, it wouldn't hurt to look the part.

When I got to work. Most people didn't really notice. I did get compliments on my jacket, hat and total look.  The men had the most questions. I got the awkward, "what are you dressed up for?" or "what are you dressed like that for?" Like what?Then there was the, "are you going to court?" or "you got a date after work?"
Depending on who asked, I catered my response. I told one of my bosses, "so I feel like a man when I'm being denigrated in our meeting today" I told another guy, "I dressed up for you" My favorite was, "because I'm a man"

Overall it was a cool social experiment. In my meeting, I definitely felt that my bosses were more open to my ideas and complimentary. I spoke with confidence. They looked me in the eye when I spoke and I didn't leave that room feeling brow beaten as i have on other occasions. It convinced me to do it again next Monday and whenever I have another meeting. As I build my wardrobe, I may end up dressing the part everyday and maybe inspire other guys to do the same.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Year in review 2017

All week I've been thinking about what I wanted to write about this year. If you're not keeping track, I didn't write a year in review for the last couple of years.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

White Christian Male

It has become disturbing how the White Christian Male or WCM are being portrayed in the media. WCM are our neighbors. You may even know one. Ever since the horrific events in Las Vegas, I've begun to think how the WCM had become the poster boy for American Radicalism. Let's disregard the fact that 54% of mass shootings in the United States since 1982 have been perpetrated by a WCM. You have to remember and understand that the majority of right wing politicians and civil right violating law enforcement officers in this country are WCM. Some even secretly belong to the KKK. It is beyond me how a segment of the population can be seen with such hatred and disdain.

I never imagined living in a world where an entire group of men of a certain ethnic group and religion could be judged solely on the actions of a few. What's next? A WCM Ban? Thank the Lord Jesus Christ that an intelligent, level headed WCM has taking the reigns of this country to lead it back in time to when The White Man was The Right Man.

This is how I imagine the average WCM, GOP wing nut thinks. This ladies and gentlemen is called satire. Unfortunately this joke has become a reality. The war on decency and racial harmony has begun. Well, at least this generation's chapter of it.

It stated even before Mr Trump took office. During his campaign. He was giving the secret signal to America's closeted racists. Many who's parents and grand parents remember the good old days when racism was a way of life. When we didn't mix or mingle. Of course, with the advent of the 20th century, things began to change. People of color began to be treated equally. They began to vote, get educations and hold positions of power in industry, finance and politics. White America tried to fight back, but were silenced so their Racism became dormant, until the Great White Hope came to save them and say, It's OK to hate a people based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation, just as long as they are not Straight White Christian Males.

Black lives don't matter. All immigrants are dangerous. All young Black males are thugs. If you say it and hear it enough, you begin to believe. You begin to blame all your problems on them. You think that somehow you have been mistreated. The best part is you know that since you are WCM, you will never be deemed a terrorist, no matter how many people you kill. You will never be charged with a hate crime, no matter how many People of Color you denigrate, harass, maim and murder. Your a WCM and you can do no wrong.

Pish Posh you say? Let's take away the W and the M and leave the C for Christian. How can a God fearing Christian hate their fellow man. I guess the same way that you think that all Muslims are militant and want to blow us up. Based on what? The WCM uses religion as a shroud to justify their behavior and disdain for other human beings. Religion does not create saints. There have been wars waged based on religion. God would never condone violence and hatred for anyone. Religion was create by man to serve man. People of every creed have misrepresented their core beliefs in order to persuade others to think how they think and con them into believing that they are serving God by killing destroying their "enemy"

At the end of the day people will believe what they want. They will blame the world for their problems and unfortunately they will hand down their beliefs to future generations marring any chance they have of living a harmonious society everyone is truly respected and treated equally. In reality, equality is a myth. It's a shiny trinket that the White man invented to con the natives into believe that they were worthy. It's equality on their terms. Don't stir the pot or complain or you will be harshly reminded on who really pulls the strings. The treatment of Colin Kaepernick is the greatest demonstration of the existence of inequality in America. You can be black, you can throw the ball, you can be rich, but you can't call us out. You can't stance for the continued injustice in America.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Get Down Part II [A Review]

The second part of Netflix's The Get Down came out today. Last year I specifically got Netflix to watch the first part of the series. I was hooked. A show like this is made for a guy like me. Although I was born in 1979, I do remember listening to early Hip Hop and Disco records at home at an early age. I'm also a Hip Hop head, so seeing the graffiti, the breakdancing and Djing was also right up my alley.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

For: Granted From: Now On [A Pep Talk]

Never take what you have for granted. No matter how meager, insignificant, or ordinary it may seem. Just remember that there is always someone willing to do what it takes to get what you're taking for granted

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

[My Hip Hop Story + The Evolution of Hip Hop Review]

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the birth of Hip Hop, titled The  Evolution of Hip Hop. From a cinematographic standpoint, I feel it was well produce and directed. They did a good job of covering the basics, they focused on the music more than anything. It included interviews with key figures, although some were completely excluded. It's perfect for a rap history novice, who may have never been exposed to the culture. If I were teaching a Rap History class to grade school children, I would have them watch this film.