Subscribe to Become So Very Clever
What I SAID
Monthly Archives: November 2011
I begin not particularly concerned whether I will be chided for swinging my bat at low-hanging fruit. I at least deserve points for not even commenting (yet) on Casey Anthony.
The point of entry for Penn State’s implosion is my heart. College football, academia and children. When these three entities converge, there is to be a positive culmination for all. Never did I want to see them in a lurid and malignant imbroglio such as this.
If I’ve imparted nothing in this blog, it should at least be my ABSOLUTE advocacy of children, my ABSOLUTE love of college football and my ABSOLUTE reverence for academia. You can imagine my desolate state.
I wonder how many of the students who rioted at Penn State are parents of small children?
One thing students so often don’t know is ANYTHING about the real world – life beyond the walls of their Utopian existence. Their protesting is often offensive, as they don’t have the life experiences necessary to form opinions about that which they are protesting.
Take 10 of the students who became violent and let them spend the next year growing a child in their body and see if they’d be willing to get involved in that melee.
Because Paterno has already admitted he was informed of wrongdoing on the part of Sandusky by a graduate student in 2002, the fact he reported the incident to higher-ups does not absolve him of the responsibility to make certain the situation didn’t get dismissed.
Any person who had knowledge of such violent abuse toward a child had a moral imperative to make certain it was pursued to the extent of their capability. Could small pockets of power been functioning independently at Penn State? Was the football program operating independent of the university? If so, it would seem even more blame lies at the feet of Paterno.
If Sandusky’s conduct had occurred between consenting adults, it’d still have been wrong, having been committed in an environment students can access. However, this was not the case. Sandusky’s fondness for children was rumored as far back as 1998, when the mother of an 11-year-old boy reported shower misconduct to his mother. She in turn conveyed the boy’s claims to the campus police, who dropped their investigation after the county elected not to file charges. What parent doesn’t pursue this?
If one looks at the timeline of Sandusky’s 1999 retirement as the heir apparent for JoePa’s job, never to pursue another coaching gig in college or pro, it reeks of conspiracy to cover up known conduct. He’d been courted by big teams but didn’t accept positions. It would seem to me someone pretty high up at Penn State gave him a pass in exchange for a quiet retirement and the promise not to pursue football further. Could that be part of why Graham Spanier has found himself unemployed?
My question is, why is abuse that began as early as 1994 just now finding its way to the authorities? Granted, it is not uncommon for men to not only not report sexual abuse but to hide it. I firmly believe this goes back to the parents. Parents are the front line of defense for their children. It is critical we don’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend evil does not lurk in the places we consider sacred ground for our children: family, friends, church, camp, charitable organizations, sports and school. Pedophiles position themselves where they must to interact with children. That being a fact, it’s imperative we put discomfort aside and discuss openly that our children’s bodies are their own and only they can decide with whom and when to share it. Touching of private parts by an adult who is not a parent or sanctioned family member is not allowed. Once the child can bathe themselves, no one needs to assist in this task. Touching of private areas is not OK by anyone prior to an age discussed with your child.
We do ask our children to bend to the will of adults, but there needs to be a major caveat to this, and physical touching or closeness that makes them uncomfortable must be discussed and supported. Parents need to create an atmosphere in which their children are not afraid to come to them with fears and concerns. Explain to them you are their protector (not the other way around) and if ANYONE tells them if they do not comply with wishes that are against their will, not to fear recrimination for anyone in the family. Pedophiles use fear, shame, guilt and humiliation to control their victims, so it is critical parents tell their children repeatedly they are their advocates and will support and help them.
Who is responsible for this mess? Jerry Sandusky. Who else? The parents who created an environment that allowed their children to spend time with an adult man and encounter abuse their children didn’t feel comfortable relaying. I understand Sandusky was in a seductive position and parents likely swooned at the thought of their child being “mentored” by the coach, but should an adult man be having sleepovers with young boys? Should the parents who allowed their children to have overnight play dates in the bed of Michael Jackson have been held accountable? I think so.
The entire chain of command at Penn State will eventually have to answer to this crisis. What good is a chain of command if it doesn’t succeed? What about the graduate student who reported his findings to Joe Paterno? Would not a better person to report the incident be the police – even the campus police?
Someone might as well light a match and run because Penn State is going to pay a stiff price for this cover-up. If you don’t believe me, research the Dallas Diocese payout to the victims of that sex scandal. Not even the alums who have been funding the pedophile program, I mean football program will be able to pay the long dollar on this corruption.
Sports have long provided a safe haven for criminal, unethical, immoral and inappropriate behavior, but in this case, it’s gone too far. Many rules and laws have been sacrificed at the altar of what is best for a sports program, but sexual misconduct with a child must not be overshadowed by a high profile program or coach.
Scandal is nothing new. We have athletes who take drugs to improve performance, thusly securing themselves and their teams in the sacred annals of sports, coaches who advocate pain management, which will eek out critical victories at the expense of the athlete, coaches and staff who bet on their own teams and possibly affect the outcome in their financial favor, shopping of children, purchasing of athletes, agent fiascos, drugs, theft … it is never-ending, but this is where the line must be drawn.
If Jerry Sandusky doesn’t have the common decency to stick a gun in his mouth, someone needs to provide a helping hand. Perhaps the father of one of the boys he sodomized and raped?
My biggest question is WHY now? Abuse has been going on for a decade and a half. How did it escape exposure? Hmmm, could part of it happen to be that the graduate student who witnessed the abuse is now a coach for Penn State football? Did he recant his claims in promise of a job? SHAME ON YOU ALL.
OK, Clever Guys, I am certain most of these observations are irrelevant to you, but perhaps you can pass on this information to the 90% of dudes whose version of fashion couldn’t make a highlight reel in late June. Fashion for men doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Just a few moments of consideration before you roll out of bed and leave the house will help take the moron out of the equation. Where to begin? We can start with undergarments, why not? I’m a big fan.
For most men, the underwear they select has more to do with comfort than appearance. For you boys who insist on classic boxer shorts it’s time to explore (because frankly, they’re not hot, and we don’t care if you are comfortable or not). The boxer brief is a longer version of the brief and ideally clings to fit thighs. There are so many options out there it is difficult NOT to come by a boxer brief by your favorite boxer or brief manufacturer. 2(x)ist is my personal favorite for looks, but truth be told, they’re a bit thin and do not hold up well. 2(x)ist does, however, make a nice variety of undershirts, which deviate from the classic T, classic V or typical tank. 2(x)ist is a more fashionable option, as is Nicole Miller, Versace, Calvin Klein, DKNY, though don’t discount Fruit of the Loom and Hanes for stylish and durable undies.
Please note: I made no mention of bikinis or thongs and shudder at the thought that leather and rubber underwear for men exist. None of these seem very Clever, as there is bound to be some chafing? Yikes. Do not get me wrong – there are women out there who like this type of thing, but if I were you, I would not strut out of the bathroom in a leather jock strap the first time you plan to be intimate. Unless you have discussed your proclivities, it might scare the bejesus out of her. She certainly will be wondering when you will unveil the restraints and cat o’ nine tails with which to flog her.
Undershirts are a hot debate and a personal preference. I will say if your shirt is see through or lightweight white, you need some type of undershirt. Do not even consider a low V-neck sweater without something lying beneath. No one should wear mesh except a football player in a practice jersey.
Less is best when it comes to so many things, most notably cologne and jewelry. If we smell you coming before we see you – not good. If you are wearing more jewelry than we are – odd. Nothing wrong with a modest necklace, a bracelet, a watch and a ring, but you don’t have to wear every single piece of jewelry you own every time you leave the house. I operate on the gym rule: If you can’t wear it to the gym, don’t wear it everyday.
Did I say gym? It pains me to think of gym attire. A comfortable pair of shorts and a shirt or tank will suffice. No one wants to see your package – seriously. SERIOUSLY. If your shorts are so tight or brief as to leave everyone in a heightened state preparing for peeking, slippage or, god forbid, that unexpected response – you are inappropriately dressed. Under Armour is a fantastic brand of fitted but modest and stylish workout apparel. Classics are Nike and Adidas, both of which are available at nationwide outlets.
Ed Hardy – over it.
Once a Sigma Chi, always a Sigma Chi, right? Perhaps in theory, but this does not mean you have to dress like a frat boy for the rest of your life. Khaki and chambray is a cop out and any Clever girl would read it as an insult. Put some effort into it. Hell, just a different color shirt!
Affliction is becoming just that. A definite malady for the onlooker. It is not a uniform, guys. You don’t have to be clad head to toe – the beanie or cap, the jewelry, the tee, the shirt, the jeans, the footwear, the belt, the wallet. Honestly, if you must Afflict – BREAK IT UP! Try the jeans and a normal plain white shirt or tight plain black T-shirt. Or, if you are addicted to the T-shirts every single dude on the face of the earth has, then wear them with a NON-Affliction jean and boot. This eyesore is similar to the guy who is swathed in Polo, the logo leaping off cotton and the obviously Polo red boat shoe. You are just asking to get your ass kicked by a dude rigged out in Affliction.
Speaking of belts, if you have belt loops and you tuck in your shirt, you are obligated to find a belt. If you don’t own one, because you are the dude who is perennially tucking your shirt in with no belt, go buy one. Target, Neiman’s, Banana Republic – they are everywhere and in every size. Just one word – your belt buckle should never be bigger than your head.
Anything that might be considered a “get- up” or a “costume” looks absurd. For the young set, the “skater” look, the “goth” thing? None of it looks good. Actually, it looks ridiculous and so does the hair you brush from your eyes every 4.5 seconds. Does every item of apparel you own have to be from Hot Topic, Zumiez or PacSun? Or is it not possible to skate unless? I get the comfort issue, but it doesn’t require you looking exactly like every other dude hanging in the theater parking lot.
If your friend shows up wearing a knit skull cap, take off yours, or play rock-paper-scissors to determine which of you gets to sport it for the time you are together. Otherwise – we are all laughing at you.
Sunglasses inside – you look stupid and NO ONE thinks you’re famous. As a matter of fact, I was out over the weekend and Billy Zane was having lunch next to me. He was not wearing sunglasses – and HE was in “Titanic” and “Tombstone,” thusly, famous. Same for Mike Modano today. Middle of the day, indoor, in public- no sunglasses. There is no good reason for it. Again, it looks stupid.
And since we are talking sunglasses – NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE – looks good in White bug-eye-esque sunglasses. Not even Dr. Christian Troy, who pushes the envelope on sunglasses, could pull these off. Please stop the madness. I’m not sure what Hollywood wingnut prompted seemingly normal dudes to put these on their face but listen to me – YOU LOOK STUPID.
As I said before- anyone who thinks a dog is man’s best friend has never owned a really great pair of jeans. Denim has long been the cotton bottom of choice for comfort and its never ending popularity has lured even the highest end designers into the game. Versace, Armani, Gucci and D&G are all representing. Regardless of your preference- there are two absolutes: jeans should neither be too tight or too loose. Baggy jeans look bad. I’m not suggesting second skin-denim; they should simply rest somewhere near your body. If you are trying to hide some weight, babby jeans make you look bigger and dumpier. It’s better to have two or three really well-made and perfectly fitting jeans than 15 pair that look like you borrowed them from someone twice your size or half your size.
If your inseam is longer than 34, there are a few brands you might try: Seven, AG, Bibliotheque and Rock and Republic all offer a 36 or jeans of an equivalent length. Longer than this and you might likely find yourself (not for the first time) at a store or boutique for taller gentlemen. I’m not encouraging your to spend a month’s salary on a pair of jeans (though it’s possible even if you are the CEO of Disney – it seems there is no ceiling on the price of denim).
There are ways of beating the system- Last Call, Neiman Marcus’ outlet, and Off Fifth, the outlet for Saks Fifth Avenue, Syms and Men’s Warehouse are excellent resources for denim at easily 40-70 percent off regular prices. Express, Calvin Klein, Gap, AG (my ultimate favorite jean for Clever Girls and Clever Guys), Simon Miller, True Religion (which I detest on 99 percent of people – frankly, I’ve seen one man who can pull off this jean), Rock and Republic (my big time fave) are all great brands that will fit any budget.
The ill-fitting suit follows the same path as jeans. It is better, in my opinion, to have a couple really well-made and classically cut suits in black and navy than 10 poorly constructed, shoddily finished out “suits.” If image matters in your business, dress the part- always. Do not stay tied into the traditional striped power tie- there are too many better options. Virtually every men’s store and designer has a line of ties to meet any price point. Let the neck accessory tie into your personality – it’s a little window into who you are.
The wallet chain- No Comment.
No matter how hard you try – there is really NO reason to have your shirt unbuttoned lower than between your pecs unless you have a shirt on underneath.
I’m all for casual, but put on some freaking pants occasionally. I have a friend who wears cargo shorts year round. If it’s cold, he adds fleece and a jacket. What is the deal? Further, have a sense of occasion. Please do not go to dinner at Morton’s of Chicago in the same outfit you wore to Hooters for lunch. While the economy has caused many upscale eateries to relax their dress codes, it is still offensive to those who bother to make an effort beyond rolling out of bed.
Sports-related apparel – I’m talking about jerseys etc … perfect for game day. Hell, I’m the first person to show up in my perfectly-preserved-for-game-day Anthony Carter jersey, but I’m not going to wear it out for the evening unless we’re headed to a sports bar. Sports apparel is not for EVERYDAY – it should not comprise 90% of your wardrobe unless you ARE a professional athlete. Even then …
OK, Clever Guys, while some need nothing other than a well-worn pair of jeans and an untucked white or otherwise fabulous shirt, the look is evolving a bit again. Layers have not been so popular in a long time. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with a traditional button-down and a sweater. Leave the shirt untucked in direct defiance to what your mother would prefer. It looks really good. Wear a sweater and T-shirt with a lightweight jacket or blazer over the top. Anything goes, but if at any point you think, “Does this look ridiculous?” – the answer is “yes.” Change.
Leather is huge – as usual. Outer wear and casual wear have never been so hip and hot, so don’t be afraid to use lightweight leather jackets as accessories to remain on while inside. Don’t blow the whole look by throwing on the quilted overcoat you wore in college. Wool overcoats work for business attire, shorter wool coats are great for casual, quilted hip-length jackets are really hot for winter this year, and don’t be afraid to add gloves, scarves and hats to stay warm (and don’t worry, I have a manly solution for what to do with all that crap while it’s not on your body).
Men are champing at the bit for a carry-all that does not translate to purse, man bag or murse. Since few can function even on a day off without a laptop, the need for a computer case has resolved this issue to a certain degree. Fatboy makes a huge variety of bags for men in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some even have a backpack-esque look, so there is no way anyone would accuse you of being a chick. You can count on Italian designers to come through with great carry-alls for men. A lot of companies are referring to them as messenger bags- designed to be slung over the shoulder upright or diagonally. Prada, Gucci, Coach, Fendi, Tumi, Burburry and Jack Spade have great options, spanning computer case, brief case and carry-all. Don’t be intimidated – no one is laughing unless it’s a tote or a hobo-style purse.
It’s never been a better time to invest in shoes, simply for the fact the options are endless. Men are embracing the flip-flop and sandal (please make certain you have a pedicure), which are great options with jeans, shorts, casual slacks – but please stop there. I saw a dude the other day wearing wool suit slacks and flip-flops and there was no making the leap. Don’t get me wrong. The right guy could pull off a sli- fitting wool trouser, fitted long-sleeve T-shirt with matching flip-flop and belt, but this is tough. My personal theory is wear a close-toed shoe when wearing wool.
Driving moccasins actually have a purpose, so if you have a sports car that aligns your foot in a more lateral than upright position when accelerating, you might want to spare your fabulous loafers by investing in a shoe that will take the beating. My chief complaint with shoes is when they are worn inappropriately. Do not wear a dressy loafer, wingtip or boot with a highly-relaxed-jean-and-T-shirt look. If you prefer a more polished casual look than jeans – slacks and a sweater perhaps – wear those more sophisticated shoes and the inverse is true. My personal advice regarding shoes and boots is to purchase classic items instead of trendy ones. Mark Nason and Robert Wayne are hot now – but for how long? Donald Pliner is a great option for a good-looking shoe that tends to “emulate” the current styles of Gucci and Prada.
If your means allow, I highly suggest a few pair of timeless Prada or Gucci loafers or boots in black and brown. They will serve you well and for a long time, similar to a high dollar “escort”. It must be said, if you prefer a boot, please make sure it is high enough on the calf so your pant or jean is not hung up on them every single time you stand. It is distracting and potentially embarrassing, as you think you are flawless but look clueless. Gucci and Paul Smith both have gorgeous boots that come well above the ankle, eliminating the potential for becoming hung up. Is this overwhelming?
OK, here are some ideas. Trust a well put-together female friend to accompany you shopping for clothing. Avoid trends. Avoid patterns and color if you are not truly comfortable in them. Think layers to bulk up a slender or fit frame and slightly looser-fitting clothing if you are looking to lose some weight. If you have the means, head to a store such as Neiman Marcus or Saks and select a personal shopper. Be advised, it is their job to sell you stuff, so let them know upfront you need guidance but will make all final decisions regarding price. Barneys is another great store with valuable staff members who function as personal shoppers. I’ll expect a great showing tomorrow. Be intentional, Clever Guys. Clever Girls notice effort.