The perils of fashion as a middle aged man.
My disclaimer is that in my middle age, I can now begin to appreciate the trials and tribulations of women trying to find decent clothes that fit, function, and give them a sense of well-being. I say begin because women have always had it harder than men when it comes to fashion and finding said clothing. I have to admit that as a youth I didn’t consider fashion much. Those who knew me then can attest to that fact. For me, it was jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. I mean, I wore purple tennis shoes with pretty much everything except a suit. Pretty simple and since I was reasonably thin in the day it was pretty easy to satisfy my clothing needs. When I got out of the Army in 1986 I was a svelte 142 lbs with a 31 waist. At 5’9” I always thought I was a little on the skinny side. What did this mean? For starters, it was easy to buy off the rack. Additionally, I could wear twenty-something clothing and not look stupid because hey, I was in my 20’s. Life was good.
But something insidious happened. It crept up on me like the monster lurking just out of my range of vision. This monster was incredibly patient and stealthy, always there and seeking to undermine my sense of well being and threatening at any moment to rear its ugly head. Before I knew it, I found myself in the dreaded realm of… Old Man Clothes. As a 50 something I found that all of the clothes, especially underwear, made me look like Ed Grimley of SNL fame. Not only that, those damn marketers knew me so well. I’d go, for example, to buy underwear… Not too glamorous but a necessity. Jockey, Calvin Klein, even the old Fruit of the Loom boys were out to get me. Every package I perused trying to find the best fit for me showed all these 20 something models, bare chested and sporting a six pack. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m thinking that if I get this underwear I’ll be transformed into a lean mean hunk just ready to impress the world around me. Alas, it was not to be because now as a man approaching 60, my waistline hovers between 34-36 and I’m at 180, jeez, where did that 40 pounds come from… So when I do get home with my abdominizer undies just waiting for the transformation to take place, I put them on, and by the way, I have tried briefs as well as the boxer briefs, and look in the mirror… I’ve been deceived, lied to, fooled, because staring back at me in the mirror is some near 60 guy with a paunch… Yep, the six pack is discreetly covered by layers of potato chips, candy bars, and honey roasted peanut butter.
I can manage to hide the paunch with a slightly larger shirt and size appropriate pants. But the problem with size appropriate pants is that it totally consumes by butt. I am now a guy with no ass… Well, I have an ass, but due to my proportions, my waist consumes it and the pants almost invariably slip down below my waist creating this unsightly wad of material where my ass should have been. So far, I’ve been stymied on how to combat this dread self esteem destroyer short of spending hours in the gym, eating nothing but lettuce, and drinking nothing but water… I haven’t made it to the gym on a regular basis since, well ever, so I don’t know at this time if that could still be a viable option… But one thing I can tell you…. That honey roasted peanut butter is delicious.