This summer as we dined at The Mint
in Lewistown I almost dropped my
Manhattan. That's because a long, lean,
tall, and devastating cowboy strolled
by our table. Resplendent in his straw
stetson, skin tight wranglers, worn
boots, and appropriately tight tee, he
was quite a sight to behold. Then...
he took his hat off. And like the walls
of Jericho, suddenly my every fantasy
crumbled before my very eyes. You see,
underneath his toque was hiding a rather
unattractive, balding, middle aged man.
All of the above is simply a reminder
that accoutrements can often make
the difference between perception and
reality. After donning one's armor,
even the oddest of fellows is prepared
for sartorial battle. Some claim that
the secret to their success was their
tailor and rightfully so. Someone with
a deft needle can hide a multitude of
sins. There is an art to strategically
dressing for one's position in life but
it may be easier than you think. All
that is required is some extra effort.
Medal of honor
There's a reason that a Brigadier
General's chest is covered with
ribbons and medals. While an
indication of stellar service and
bravery, all that stuff is certain
to defer attention from one's belly.
Uniforms are among the greatest
works of tomfoolery. Much like
a Gibson Girl's corset, entombing
a mound of flab in an aggressively
tailored straight jacket transforms
any man into a Greek God. And
subtly instills a sense of power.
After years of trial and error, most of
us develop our own uniform. Since
the advances of age have assaulted
my demeanor, I do my best to mask
the prior evening's sins beneath a
perfectly tailored sport coat. Little is
as magical when it fits and one can
still button it! Underneath I'll often
layer a vest or cardigan which again,
help hide my hump. The good news
is that men judge other gents by their
shoes. Hence my proven passion and
pricey pile of posh Italian footwear.
In my Mother's day, every woman wore
a girdle to hide life's ebb and flow. Not
only did it constrain any errant flesh, it
forced one to sit up straight. There has
been many a time that I've manned up
and put on some "Manx." Encased in
an elastic prison, one easily achieves a
svelte silhouette. However that plus the
decrease in oxygen intake and increase
of manly sweat does not create a pretty
picture. Hence one quickly figures out
that man-o-pause and Spandex are not
a viable vehicle to battle one's bulge.
Cheek to cheek
At times I find our culture of literally
letting it all hang out rather baffling.
With all of the tools available to help
display a better outlook, why do most
prefer to show it all? What is meant
to support is meant to be hidden. Yet
boldly displayed Spandex and Lycra
are responsible for fashion's greatest
crimes. A tight tube top on the wrong
lass can appear like a rubber band on
a rotten tomato. Something is about
to blow at any time and one thing is
certain - it won't be pretty.
At this point in life I'll do whatever
is necessary to hide nature's evil
advances. One remnant of my prior
fashion foibles are skinny jeans.
I considered shifting to caftans a la
Mr. Talley as indulgences have now
built a protuberance midway from
my shined shoes and sagging smile.
Fortunately I lost much of my mass
moving to Montana and even more
strolling Italian piazzas. Hence this
urban cowboy will keep it skinny
as long as they're made in my size.