Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh Baby You Know What I Like

As I waited in my doctor’s office last month for a flu shot, a young man—perhaps in his twenties—walked in wearing those baggy shorts. You know the kind: low-hanging, below-the-gut pantaloons that make a guy look like he just shoplifted a dozen corn muffins from Acme by shoving them down his pants.

To that he added matching gold hoop earrings, a ponytail (some of which stuck out of the little band he had tied around it) and of course, he was sporting the requisite rubber flip-flops on his big, bare, clown feet.

I’m sorry guys, but bare feet anywhere—outside of your home or a swimming pool—is NOT a good look for us. And when we were teens, we did like girls in ponytails; I remember it as a decidedly attractive feminine hairstyle.

It was so much more acceptable to us guys than say, a beehive, or pageboy cut: the former was a bit over the top, and the latter a bit too…well…masculine for a girl. Even though it didn’t look that good on Prince Valiant. He was a 1950s comic book hero whose escapades were set in the days of King Arthur. He had that pageboy style that always had me confused whenever I read his comic strip—Is that a guy?

Well, that young man in the doctor’s office reminded me, not of Prince Valiant, but of a time back in 1970 when we were on duty in front of a line of Viet Nam War protesters—mostly young men—who were attempting to hand all of us cops a flower. Flower children are what they called themselves. We of course, were in uniform. But so were they, in that just about every one of those guys wore a ponytail.

Later that day, my lieutenant waxed philosophically to us and declared that the Soviet Union was trying to turn the young men of this country into women. That, he announced, was their ultimate goal.

Hmmm…baggy shorts, earrings, flip-flops (worn by certain men even in the winter for some bizarre reason) and ponytails…could the Soviet Union, some 20 years after its demise, have actually accomplished their objective?

It was more than 50 years ago that the Big Bopper sang, “Chantilly lace and a pretty face, pony tail hangin’ down…”  I’m relatively sure when he wrote those lyrics, he didn’t mean us guys, because along with those big, bare, clown feet walking through a shopping mall in flip-flops, ponytails—and Chantilly lace for that matter—just don’t make it for a guy.

Much of this chic trendiness has infiltrated the National Football League, perhaps the most (at least previously) macho organization in our culture. Many NFL players like to sport diamond earrings, and some even do so under their helmets on game day (Freud would have a ball with that).

Few activities are more virile than a muscular man fiercely barreling his way past several hulking adversaries intent on tearing his head off. It’s quite exhilarating to watch this mano a mano exchange as a runner scores an NFL touchdown. It’s the essence of raw masculinity.

Why then must the runner immediately get in touch with his feminine side by segueing into ballet via a sweet little ‘pirouette’ (or is that an Arabesque move?) with some dainty ‘hip-shaking’ added for good measure? What the hell is he celebrating, his touchdown or his duality?

I hear more earrings are lost on the football field that way.

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