Sometimes it’s just plain tough to be a genuine fashion plate.
Take my friend Gregory (please!), who had the good taste on Monday to inform me that among the many souls he knows, I had been handed a real gift – an ability to project a quirky and funny personae in the most important way possible, through my they-ain’t-changin’-at-my-age looks.
“You have that funny Woody Allen face,” he said. It was meant as a compliment – my looks being a happy reminder of that comedic legend of “Annie Hall” fame. Dude, how much higher a compliment can I get?
Oh, boy oh boy, I wonder.
Let me ask you this: Does anybody thinking these things ever stop themselves before they blab out sledgehammer-in-the-teeth-style observations like this and ask, Hmmm, I wonder if Mike would like to be compared, looks-wise, to someone other than Woody Allen?
Hey, now that you ask – Yes!
Let’s say, Brad Pitt would be nice. Those comparisons are not only encouraged, but highly welcome (payment available to those who say it with passion); or maybe, “Hey, Mike, whenever I see you I can’t help but think of Matt Damon?”
But Woody … uh ….
OK, I can’t change what Mother Nature and my parents handed me, and I’ve heard the Woody comparison so many times before that I can practically recite lines from “Sleeper” without a cue card. So Gregory wasn’t saying anything new. But it all feels a tad bit deflating when you’re at the gym every morning, lifting those weights, trying hard to bulk up … and your arms still resemble string beans left out in the hot summer sun all day. I often wonder why women walk past me at the gym sporting three times as much muscle as I do. I’m desperately trying to figure out what their secret is. Hearty milk shakes?
Anyway, I had lunch today with my buddy Brek, a Freeline Media contributor. In the entire time I’ve known him, it would be hard to find a harsher critic of the way I dress than Brek. He doesn’t call me a fashion fumble, he calls me the Titanic of male dressers, the guy who does to male fashion what Milli Vanilli did to in-depth singing.
But today, Brek just dismissed me with a wave of his hand, and said I’d simply fallen off a cliff. And sitting there at Tijuana Flats, he made what may be the lowest comment of them all.
“I’m not even going to say anything anymore,” he noted, in the kind of serious tone usually reserved for medical personnel following a really crummy operation by a physician who’d downed six martinis before raising the scalpel.
“Go ahead, say it,” I dared him.
He refused. I was far too lost a cause, he sighed.
Few people besides me are faster on their feet to admit they’re not slaves to fashion. Anybody who has known me for a while understands I need a fashion designer handling my wardrobe in the same way my 77-year-old dad needs a hearing aid. So I mostly let these crude, hostile, undignified attacks on my character just roll off my back, with a humble yawn, as I moved on to greater concerns.
Besides, at a diner today, my cashier said “That’s a nice tie.”
Boy, was I thinking of Brek right then and smirking. And boy did her eyes glow when she noticed the tip I left on the receipt.
And yet ….
Sometimes I wonder why I invite these comments so frequently, from such a rich variety of people. Why do the Gregorys of the world see the humor in pointing out my resemblance to Woody, and why do the Breks think I need constructive criticism – “You know I’m just trying to be truthful, buddy,” he tells me – about what I put on each morning?
Could it be that I invite all this?
It’s got to be a plot. Possibly sinister government, perhaps Tea Party, maybe even bigger.
It can’t be me.
My mother always told me I looked great.
Who can argue with her?
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