I’m not talking about your mouth when the smell of steaks grilling over the fire hits your nostrils.  Nor am I talking about Harvey Weinstein’s reaction to seeing a fresh young actress who wants a part in a movie.

Nope, I’m back to my old gripe about people who dress like slobs.  Theodore Dalrymple takes up the cause:

Indeed, if there is one thing that unites mankind today it is casual slobbery in dress.
This is rather odd, considering that so many people seem to spend a lot of their spare time shopping for clothes. The fact is, though, that however much time they spend on shopping, they will always look just as much a mess as ever. They choose, but they do not discriminate.
Our unwillingness, and increasing inability, to dress elegantly represents the triumph of self-esteem over self-respect. We dress to please ourselves, not others, and not looking like a slob takes effort, especially keeping it up through the day. Convenience is all, and it is easier to throw on a few casual clothes than to dress well.

What sparked Dalrymple’s ire was his experience at a couple of airports:

Sitting in two airports last week, in Paris and Riga, it suddenly occurred to me that I had not seen a single person who was smartly, let alone elegantly, dressed.

Now I seldom disagree with Teddy about much, but I do on this occasion.  Imagine this scenario:

You get dressed to go to an important business meeting, so you do it properly:  ironed shirt, tie, decent navy-blue suit, leather belt and shiny black lace-up Oxfords.  You check yourself in a mirror and damn, you look good.

But did I mention that the important business meeting was out of town, and you’d need to catch a flight there?

Now go back and reflect how difficult it’s going to be when you’re confronted by the surly TSA apparatchiks at the airport.  Belt? Take it off.  Shoes? Unlace them, and take ’em off.  Jacket? Run it through the X-ray.  And that gold tie-clip?  We’re going to pat you down and run you through our Magical Cancer-Generating Full-Body Scanner, bub.

All of a sudden, a tee shirt, sweatpants and slip-on moccasins make a lot more sense, don’t they?  And the net result is that you look like a slob, because it’s a big enough chore to dress properly in the first place without having to do it all over again at the airport in front of hundreds of people.

However, while I may make a (grudging) allowance for looking like a slob under the above circumstances, the next scenario is absolutely unforgivable.

You’e married to one of the most beautiful women in the world — an actress, as it happens — and you have to attend a promotional red carpet event with her, to hype up her latest movie.  So you both get dressed and let the limo sweep you off to this important event.

Your wife, of course, looks sensational:

You?  Not so much:

It’s even worse when you look at the pair of them together (and small wonder she’s not looking at him, I imagine, out of pure embarrassment):

This is “dressing up”?  A shabby cardigan, an untucked golf shirt, too-short casual trousers, socklets and sneakers?  Are you fucking kidding me?  

What bemuses me (and I’ve had this thought before) is why Anne Hathaway didn’t take one look at this slob and tell him either to change into a tux or stay the fuck at home.

I don’t care how “fashionable” this little fart thinks he is, or how important he may be in the business, or any of that crap:  there is no excuse for this.

What this is, folks, is a total lack of respect;  for the event, for the occasion, but most of all, towards his wife.  In the old days, he would have been horsewhipped for looking like this outside the home — which is one of the many reasons I hanker for the old days.

Now:  where did I put that sjambok?


  1. I lose my mind every year on Memorial Day and Veterans (Armistice) Day watching American veterans shambling down the street dressed in castoff bits of camouflage uniforms, jeans, and tacky ball caps. Thanks, Vietnam hippies for creating the trend and perpetual stereotype of veterans as unkempt bums.
    The British and Commonwealth vets still do it right. You show up well groomed and in your suit and regimental tie, with your medals and ribbons properly affixed, and you march with dignity.
    My war brother, who is a fine tailor, and I have begun our own attempts to change this by wearing our suits and our medals to public events. It’s noticed.

  2. > All of a sudden, a tee shirt, sweatpants and slip-on moccasins make a lot more sense, don’t they?

    No, it doesn’t.

    Back in 2005 I had to fly up to Seattle for something, so as was my habit I dressed like a professional (not like gentleman, which is slightly different) and off I went. While up there I misplaced my wallet (ID). This caused me some consternation as I didn’t want to hassle with the TSA on the way back.

    Since I was dressed in khakis, a blazer, and a collared shirt and tie, it was NO problem at all.

    For a while I was routinely flying for work, and I dressed like a professional every time. Got treated with respect and and courtesy. Even the time they found a 9mm case in my carry-on.

    Don’t want to bother with laces at the airport? Or wear a nice pair of loafers with socks and a pair of trousers.

    There are excuses for looking like a slob when leaving the house–in the middle of some project when you have to run to Home Depot/Lowes for another thing. When you’ve just finished that project, and you need dinner–so you’re going through the drive through at Good Times or whatever.

    But when your lady has gone through the effort of making every guy in the room jealous of YOU, then you ought to return the favor by at least *trying* to make every woman in the room jealous of HER.

    The problem of course is that most men have no idea of how to dress.

  3. To paraphrase an old joke, if we want them to be impotent, we gotta have them look impotent. The more that people are encouraged to live loose and sloppy, the more complaisant they will be in the public arena.
    No trouble from the foreman, he’s in the union too.

  4. To be honest, I don’t think much of Ms. Hathaway’s dress, either. It looks like someone draped a big length of gray T-shirt fabric over her. Yes, she probably looks way better in it than I would, but still, I’d prefer something a little better fitted. The sandals are cute, though.

  5. I’m a round, ugly SOB, but I do try to dress appropriately for business. The less perfect your figure, the more you benefit from more formal attire. The man who looks like a fat slob in a T-shirt and blue jeans can change into a suit and look like a prosperous pillar of the community.

  6. True story.
    Back in the day I was a field engineer coming out of a 16 month gig in Saudi Arabia. Company owed me three weeks paid for vacation anywhere so I opted to fly to Amsterdam first and have my wife fly over to meet me there.(I had an $18 ticket on Delta for her because of my mileage.) So she shows up at the airport an hour or so ahead – never having flown overseas – and checks in, gets her economy seat, and sits down. About 20 minutes later she hears her name called to go to the ticket counter. Seems the airline had overbooked the flight. And had to reseat a couple of passengers in first class. The punch line – she was told they asked because of the “professional way she was dressed”(blazer, slacks, sandals, make-up, hair, etc.).
    You have to understand that wife had been a professional runway/floor model when she was 15y/o and NEVER went out of the house after that without looking as if she was on her way to a shoot. Cost of that ticket was – as I said – $18 out of pocket. Actual cost back then for that first-class seat was in the neighborhood of $2300 one way. All because she knew how to dress.
    ‘Course the downside in our life was that it took her ~2 1/2 to 3 hours to “put herself together” for a really serious gig.
    G-d,I still miss her…

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