Monday, February 16, 2015

I'm not saying global warming is my fault, but...

                A proper wardrobe should count among its basics, a navy blazer.  It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, a navy blazer immediately dresses up your intentions.  Khakis, polo and baseball cap is not dressy enough?  Simply add a navy blazer and you are ready for Homecoming at Ole Miss, y’all.  And the reason I even bring this up is that for most of my life I was bereft of a blazer, navy or otherwise, and there were times when I needed to bring my A-game, fashionably, and found myself lacking. 
              I posted a photo recently on Facebook to commemorate the significant hairdos that I and my peers Aqua-Netted (or White –Rained, depending on your brand loyalty) into pillars (literally) of wonder.  To borrow from the Post Office, neither rain, nor snow nor Hurricane-force winds at a football game will keep our coiffures from doing their duty.  Now what that duty was, I don’t remember, but whatever it was those ‘dos were doing it, do you hear me? 
              However, my significant locks were not the reason I take finger to keyboard, it was the lovely ensemble I was wearing in the re-taken photo.  I had been elected Freshman Class Favorite at Southwest Mississippi Community College because this is the South and we love our superlatives.  And I wanted to make a great impression for posterity’s sake.  I mean, what were the odds that this would happen again, I thought to myself.  And an honor such as this required a photo for the yearbook with a proper outfit.  And someone as concerned with my clothes as I was, the math was not on my side.  The following equation will assist you in picturing my reality:

‘Great taste’ plus ‘almost-psychotic need to fit in’ multiplied by ‘too tall/fat to wear my 8th grade graduation suit’ divided by ‘no money’ gives us the fraction: diddly/squat. 

This was a disaster of Biblical proportions!  Okay, maybe not Biblical but it was one of my plagues, people.  Oh don’t look so appalled; we’ve already discussed how shallow I was back then.
            The initial photo’s ensemble was the closest thing I had to dress clothes, which included some off-brand big and tall version of Z Cavariccis.  The pants were aggressively ill-fitting due to the generous pleating at the waist that competed with the pegged-for-you-by-the-manufacturer straight legs which gave the illusion that my torso was sitting atop a hot air balloon mid-descent.  It was a pretty as you would imagine.  If you pair that with a two year-old very tight Miami Vice jacket (in sea foam green, no less) and a plaid tie and you get the picture.  Thank goodness I was on the yearbook staff and refused to have that photo printed, in black and white or color.  Oh, I didn’t throw a fit or anything; I just destroyed the photo and negative in a lab accident, like you do. 
             Now, the reshoot was a bit better due to the borrowing of clothing more, but still not quite, appropriate for the occasion.  You see, America had been getting fatter by the decade and the clothing options were changing, but as an over-achiever, I had been getting fatter much more quickly than my fellow countrymen.  In 1988 there was no size 38 (inches) in Girbaud or Guess jeans.  By 1990, when those sizes premiered publicly, I was sporting a 40-inch waist.  Beyond feeling fat and ugly, it came to pass that the only person the same size as I and with whom I could borrow clothes was my father.  Can’t you just feel my excitement?  If I ever wanted to be a stand-in on ‘Hee-Haw’ or break into the country music scene in 1975, I was ready, people. 
If you look very closely, the jacket is of a fabric that hangs in an interesting manner.  Those in the fashion business call it leather.  Yes, dear readers, I was wearing a caramel-colored leather sport coat.  The pants were forest green and the tie was green, white and pink plaid, but not in that fantastic Ralph Lauren sort of way.  It was more along the lines of the are-there-any-ties-at-Hudson’s-Salvage-Center-that-have-green-in-them-smoke-damaged-is-okay-my-mom-can-get-the-smell-out sort of way that most people shop.  Thus the reality of black and white photographs in the Who’s Who section when you know I wanted that photograph in full color on the front, and every subsequent, page.  Upon revisiting the photo this week, it looks disturbingly like the commemoration of the wedding of some cult preacher and his 5th sister wife who is missing her left thumb.
I ended up wearing that same outfit in my sister’s wedding the following September, where I sang “The Wedding Song” and “Lost in Your Eyes” hidden ever so discretely behind a (rather large) fern.  My sister and the wedding planner both claimed the other had the idea to hide me.  If feel sure they were both telling the truth. 
However, once I transferred to MUW and pledged a fraternity, I had to find a navy blazer.  It was our Delta Sigma Omega uniform, along with our gold and navy striped ties and khakis.  These guys had just gifted me with a chance to be a regular “guy” guy and I was not about to mess this up.  God took pity on my shallow butt and I was able to find a double-breasted navy blazer at Hudson’s for something like $2 due to the fact that it had survived a mudslide in Argentina.
Mind you my significant research into a gentleman’s guide to dressing appropriately had taught me that any man who himself has double breasts, should not wear a double-breasted jacket as it tends to draw the eye to the mid-section and emphasize the girth.  But let’s be honest, it wasn’t the button configuration that brought the attention to my belly; it was the fact that I had a belly.  But it was now a member-of-a-fraternity-belly and that was all that I cared about.  It’s all about having your priorities in place, am I right?
And that’s all I’m saying for now.

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