Friday, November 6, 2009

I wear hats!

I just read a men's fashion column that spoke in the most disparaging way about men who wear hats. This annoyed me.

Hats exist for a reason, OK? They keep your head warm in the winter, and shaded in the summer, and they keep the rain out of one's face whenever it falls. They are highly functional, and even more so when the wearer happens to be bald. Like, you know, me.

But somewhere along the line, men stopped wearing hats, ostensibly at the behest of the fashionistas. It isn't that we've wanted to stop wearing them. Guys who aren't concerned about dressing up routinely wear baseball hats in all kinds of weather, and it's not (only) because we love the Mets or the Mariners or the Red Sox. We could throw on a jersey if we simply wanted to express our affection. No, we put on those hats because they make us more comfortable. That, along with modesty, is the primary function of clothing.

So we do wear hats. But sometimes we have to look sharp, and a baseball hat just doesn't make it. This has become an issue for me. I'm dressing up more than ever (which is to say still not often), and when I do, I don't want to have to go bareheaded to satisfy the fashionistas. I don't want to freeze. I don't want to have rain dripping down my forehead and into my eyes if I don't have an umbrella at hand. Exactly why should I suffer and feel awkward or uncomfortable?

I bought a fedora.

It might look old-fashioned, or foppish, or both. Actually, I kinda think it does, on both counts. But it seemed like the best solution. It looks presentable, and respectful of any occasion or location -- better than a baseball hat -- and, oh yeah, it covers my head, and protects me from the weather, in the way that clothing is supposed to.

I used it for the first time at a funeral. I felt a little funny putting it on, knowing that not everyone would like the look, but when the day was cold and drizzly, I was very glad I had it. I will wear it again.

So disparage away, fashion columnists. And keep constraining yourselves in ways that make you really, really uncomfortable.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Can't our marriage succeed in peace?

OK, I'm starting to get a bit annoyed. There seems to be a very widely held notion that married life is, at best, an uncomfortable compromise, and more likely one big rolling conflict.

I'm amazed at the number of people who will ask how married life is, and when I tell them it's terrific, they give me to understand, either by implication or assertion, that it might be easy for now because we're newlyweds, but just wait -- we'll suffer like everyone else.

And this sort of article is only too common.

It's choose your pathology -- fight, fight fiercely, or avoid conflict at all costs. Nowhere but nowhere is it suggested that a loving couple can communicate effectively, reach reasonable conclusions, share goodwill, give to each other, see eye to eye on most things, and constructively work through such differences of opinion as might exist.

Look, we get that we're lucky, and I think it's fair to assume that we're not in the majority. But please believe me when I tell you that we do exist as a genuinely happy couple, without suppressing feelings, bickering, glaring, or hollering.

It doesn't hurt that we both came to this marriage having been through very difficult relationships. It doesn't hurt that we were both well into our 40s, and didn't incur any scar tissue resulting from immaturity and early mistakes. It doesn't hurt that we're both pretty responsible financially, and fairly well employed, and not especially acquisitive, so that money isn't an issue. It doesn't hurt that we don't have children to worry about and potentially disagree about. It doesn't hurt that we're both in fine health.

And it really, really helps that we fit together so well -- that we complement each other in some helpful ways, and think alike in many other important ways.

Yeah, yeah, it's early yet. But we've already built up a huge reservoir of good will. We're cloyingly affectionate, strike a healthy balance between time together and time apart, and truly enjoy each other's company. There are no danger signs. (And we had plenty in previous relationships.)

So maybe it's unlikely. But it's possible. And it's great, whether other people like it or not.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Out of control

I started blogging about Nancy last fall, and along the way I'd say something to her about a random subject, and she'd encourage me to blog about it. Usually it would seem out of place in the blog about her, although sometimes I made exceptions.

But it occurred to me that I could spin up another blog to throw such things into. The problem was that I'm a dilettante, and am interested in a variety of subjects that have little or nothing to do with each other. Which one to blog about? Or should I blog about all of them? And would anyone care about any of them?

This spring Nancy was on a writing retreat with a friend who is reluctantly dipping her toe in the dating pool. The two of them got to talking, and decided that they should encourage me to do a blog about internet dating.

They didn't need to twist my arm -- things have gone so well with Nancy that I want to spread the word, and I spent so much time dating and learning (as I thought) how to do it right, that it seemed a shame to let all of that perspective go to waste. Now someone was agreeing, and so the second blog was born.

Well, that broke the logjam blogjam, and I couldn't help but take the opportunity to spin up all of the other blogs as well. I think the current set should be able to absorb most of what I have to say. I imagine some of them will be lightly read, but at least the blogs are separated out in such a way that there's a reasonable chance that the reader will find something of relevance in whichever one pulls them in.

So now I'm suddenly out of control and blogging up a storm. It ought to be fun for one of us, at least, and I hope it will be for a few others as well.