Boys will be boys — with or without their cotton boxers

Britney Spears is a slave to you.

I am a slave to fashion.

I love it. In word association games, when people say “Bible,” I say “Vogue.” Their “comfortable” is my “stiletto.” Shopping is listed as an extracurricular activity on my resume. I am one of those people that knows the significant differences between a mule and a slide. I can distinguish between a stacked heel and a kitten heel. I know a clutch from a hobo. I’m thinking of naming my children Prada, Gucci and Fendi (I think that those names are wholly gender-neutral and perfectly fit for my diva children).

I, ladies and gentleman, was once a Glamour Magazine “DO.” I’m a fashionista and proud of it. I wouldn’t trade it for a night with Brad (or the D-Line), although if you’re offering up Cindy Crawford’s body for me to wear, I can certainly negotiate. So, when I was asked to write about men’s fashion this week, I figured, piece of cake. I like men, I love fashion, what’s so hard about that?

Little did I know that I was gravely mistaken. Men’s fashion is weird and, quite frankly, not so easily assessed. It seems that the men on this campus are uniformed instead of dressed. There are armies of them sneaking about, sporting khakis and blue buttondowns. Most guys our age enjoy their clothing much like they enjoy their women: not too clingy, easy to take care of, easily replaceable, and, above all, easily removable.

So it dawned on me, what does guys’ clothing reveal about their dating (and perhaps sexual) style?

I found no better place to answer my question than at a unique social gathering last weekend. I’m sure that most of you attended it, as it was so crowded I was afraid of accidental pregnancy as I tried to reach the keg. But, regardless, the Alley-Cats-Renting-Out-The-Beta-House-Party was certainly a fashionable experience. Or, as I called it, the Fruity Meets Fratty Extravaganza. The place was a mess of turtleneck sweaters and flat-front pants, Tang T-shirts and baseball hats. Needless to say, the singing group meets alpha male contrast provided an interesting fashion collision. I circulated, trying desperately to make sense of it all.

The first guy friend I ran into fell under the “fratty” category. When I asked about his ensemble, he gave me an odd look.

“Nat,” he said, “I can talk about blow jobs, hand jobs and dance floor woodies, but what do you want me to say about my pants?”

This task was going to be far more difficult than I had hoped. Apparently guys are more eager to talk about what’s underneath their boxers than the cotton-polyester blend they’re made of. And occasionally, I’m more interested in the polyester blend than what’s underneath it.

I moved on to fashionable fratty numero deux.

A handsome and well-built guy, he was extremely eager to discuss his brand-new khaki cargo pants.

“Do you like them? Do you like them?” he asked fervently.

I replied that I did, but to be honest, I saw no difference between these alleged “new” pants, and any other pair of pants I had ever seen him wear. At just that moment his “new” blonde girlfriend showed up. I couldn’t tell the difference between her and the old blonde one, either. And to be honest, I probably would have had a more fulfilling conversation with his pants.

As I moved through the crowd, I searched for one of my more fashionable male friends. I encountered him near the stairs, drink held elegantly in his hand, looking fabulous as ever. Bubble-liscious, even. We did our typical arm-extended, hi wave and blew kisses at one another until I got closer.

I envied his perfectly pressed pants and soft cashmere sweater. Head to toe black with the staple Prada “man bag” hanging casually at his side. The outfit that I had so carefully assembled, consisting of a funky brown belt and ripped jeans (they came ripped — it costs extra) paled in comparison to his high-style ensemble. I was jealous, and he was clearly not a member of the fratty contingent. We looked each other up and down, making mental notes, and inner bitchy comments and then began our conversation.

I expressed to him my concern about dating someone who was more fashionable than I. I think a guy who can tell silk on sight is thinking too much about his ties and not enough about me. If he knows that I bought my bag in spring 1999, I figure his stay will only be a seasonal one.

“Are you kidding me, honey?” he replied. “I would DIE for a boyfriend who could keep up with me! We could exchange clothes ALL the time!”

Hmmm. Clearly his high fashion resulted in some high boyfriend standards. Interesting. I think I’ll stick with that explanation for why I’m still looking for a man. Evidently no one can deal with my heels. Or my attitude.

I moved along, a little more excited. My research was proving to be more and more fruitful.

Riiight.

I ran into the Puma-boy crowd, the slightly disheveled yet cute in their sweatiness — they are the “sensitive” type. The kind that does a lot of community service and care about the environment but only because they are uber-wealthy and are burdened with an immense sense of guilt. Or at least they PRETEND to be sensitive (and slightly disadvantaged). I recently discovered that one of these “unshowered” studs in fact wears NEWLY PURCHASED socks EVERY day. His whole ensemble is a farce. He is lying to the world. Not only is he extra-clean, but he is also extra-anal. AND this finally explained why I’ve never seen him with the same girl twice — he won’t even wash his socks, clearly he’s not sending the post-hookup e-mail. “Far too much hassle,” he said. Hmph.

It is often said, “Clothes make the man.” Perhaps this is true. Or perhaps it is the men that make the clothes, which all somehow explains how they treat women (or men) in and out of the bedroom. Bottom line: I have seen some men in no clothes at all, and they’re just fine that way too.



Natalie Krinsky can get to Science Hill in 4-inch heels in seven minutes. Just do it.

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