Today’s Man: Why Do Men Dress Like Slobs?

Today's Man

When men say they’re going to slip into something a little more comfortable, they really mean it.

Why do men dress like slobs? Although they aspire to be dashing career professionals during the week, a singularly male sensibility takes over when the sun goes down, or the weekend arrives, and they revert to basic maleness. Whether the man is a creative genius or a financial player, he’ll wallow around in 10-year-old track pants and a 20 year old T-shirt. Men, it seems, like to be slobs.

A friend of mine believes this particular male quirk to be a genetic condition. “Men were born with one hand on their crotch and the other on the remote control,” she says, “so how can they take time to dress.”

Don’t get me wrong. I like men. I’m crazy for men. To me, a man looks his most sexy and fabulous on Monday morning, just before he walks out of the door to go to work. The scent of his aftershave mingles with the aroma of morning coffee. His hair is brushed so that each one is in its preordained place. The Egyptian cotton shirt looks smooth and crisp. The jacket hangs like a dream. The pants break at just the right place. He and his magnificent tie are poised to take on the day, polished, confident and ready to spin the wheels of fortune. I am awestruck as he takes his impeccably groomed self away, to share with his professional family.

Following the dictates of nature, the worm turns. Men feel they’re putting on a uniform; turning into their fathers; selling out; or worse, becoming bland ciphers. Putting ties around there neck is a symbolic strangulation, they insist, rather than a splash of color to enhance their eyes

Do guys have to look into a mirror for confirmation? I ask a male psychiatrist I know. “Our looks are not important to us” he says. “We are magnificent in our ugliness. We smell. We scratch ourselves. We’re still the crown of creation, in our opinion.”

He’s lying. And contrary to popular belief, casual Fridays are not a life enhancer. A money manager shrink-wrapped in last summer’s jeans does not look as though he can call the shots, especially when he’s handling my investments. They call it being comfortable. Well if you’re not comfortable in your suits fellas, lay off the donuts. At least the office intern is a sharp dresser. That’s encouraging.

The expectations of life partners vary. Certain wives do not tolerate slobs, especially if they knew their husbands when they played football, basketball and hockey. These wives expect their husbands to hold in their paunches at all times, or at least wear a nice expensive shirt to camouflage it, and take them out for lunch. “If you want to let it all hang out,” they say, “go on a fishing trip with the guys.”

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Sara Waxman
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.