Let’s all agree that one thing that separates the sexes is the fact that women like to dress up in fancy clothes and look pretty and men also like it when women dress up in fancy clothes and look pretty. But men, however, do not like to dress up in fancy clothes and look pretty. Men who dress well and have cultivated a personal style do it because dressing sharply serves a purpose. That specific purpose is to attract women who are naturally inclined to enjoy fancy clothes that look pretty. Men do not have an innate desire to doll themselves up. The irony, of course, is that the animal kingdom is full of males with bright plumage, flowing manes, and glowing red asses. But if peacocks could strum an acoustic guitar, those Technicolor chickens wouldn’t have to strut so much.
Over the eons, men have developed ways of attracting the opposite sex. These leaps in mating evolution have occurred because men just don’t want to have to dress up to get the attention of women. Women are born with an appetite for fashion. If men suddenly ceased to exist, shopping malls would still be full. Women would still place their index finger on their lip, pop their hip to one side, and study racks of blouses. Men know that women expect them to look good. But let’s imagine a world where the yoke of fashion is heaved off the shoulders of brokind.
In this totally awesome reality, men aren’t complete fashion disasters. You’d think we’d all just wear sweatpants and Metallica T-shirts or just trash bag diapers, but you’re only half-right. Women would win if the male of the species were able to fully make his own fashion choices. What’s always in the top five of any lady magazine list of things women find sexy? Men wearing uniforms; women are stone-cold suckers for firefighters and soldiers. A doctor could enter a supermarket wearing his scrubs and leave with milk, cereal, and a cell phone full of numbers. Batman could get laid anytime he wanted, if he weren’t already balls deep in justice.
Men, likewise, love uniforms for two reasons: You don’t have to think about what you’re going to have to wear and they are not purely aesthetic decorations. Uniforms have purpose and function and it’s a damn shame that civilians and office drones aren’t allowed to wear uniforms. Look, I dress the part for my job. One’s work clothes are a kind of uniform. When I come to work, I am dressed for business. Chainmail, ascot, floppy Musketeer hat. But it’s always so time-consuming in the morning to match shirts and capes, and to find clean underwear. If I had a simple two-piece uniform or a jumpsuit, my life would be simpler.
I think one reason I loved “Star Trek: The Next Generation” so much as a kid is because I loved the idea of a future where the scourge of fashion choice had been eradicated. Everyone seemed so happy on the starship Enterprise wearing their standard-issue gold and black or red and black jumpsuit. [Or blue and black. -- Editor] Uniforms make average people look sharp and ready for action. My sensitive writer uniform aesthetic would definitely be a cross between Marine Dress Blues and “Battlestar Galactica” Viper pilot. Dignified, simple, leathery. I’d look like I could handle a cyborg invasion and/or march right into that warehouse, pick up my street waif girlfriend, and storm out while her indentured servant friends applauded and wiped the tears from their eyes. My leisure uniform would probably be a cross between Roman Senator and Jedi Knight. But this is all fantasy. The reality, however, is that men dress well for the pleasure of women.
Now let’s imagine a world where there are no expectations. A world where women don’t have to stroke egos because men expect the women in their lives to be crutches and men don’t have to look like H&M mannequins. Expectation is the enemy of love. Love expects nothing, and accepts that the universe produces enough perfect things – geodes, waterfalls, nebulae – that it’s obvious people weren’t designed to be flawless. Perhaps we’re the cosmos’ comic relief. Love is forgiving another person for the embarrassment of being human. It’s not expecting them to spend their Saturday afternoon shopping at a Banana Republic.
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