Carrol Vertrees: Clothing still makes the man
Carrol Vertrees June 16, 2012 8:02PM
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:17AM
Watching the bright red cardinal and his lady friend at the bird feeder is educational. First, just see how handsome he is — she is cute, maybe, but conservatively dressed.
Sometimes, he feeds her a seed — he’s a gentleman, you know. She seems to expect it. It may be biblically linked — the first organ transplant came from a male — maybe not voluntarily, but it still counts. A treetop tryst probably is part of this routine.
Historically, males have been the providers, but that is changing. Fashions are changing, too, and we males are being left behind. Way behind.
It bothers me, although at my age, almost everything bothers me. Looking at an old photograph of a daytime baseball crowd (baseball is supposed to be played in daylight) and you see a veritable sea of guys wearing their felt hats. What has happened to the hat thing? Now, guys wear caps, often backward, or no hat at all.
Then look at events like the Kentucky Derby — women wear skimpy clothes and huge hats that they have to hold against the wind. It is a style show and we males lose. What is it about female hats? Why don’t women have to remove their hats when the national anthem is played? Do female candidates throw their hats into the ring? No, they just smile and we cave in.
One of these days we may have a female president. I wonder if she will wear trousers or stick to dresses.
The clothes thing is a puzzle. Take sports, for example. Years ago, girls who played basketball wore bloomers — hardly any part of their anatomy was visible — you know, it was all so ladylike. Guys wore short shorts — I did in my non-illustrious high school career. Now, look — guys wear long floppy things that reach to their knees and female players wear shorter things that leave some of their anatomy exposed — like their muscles. What is going on?
On our golf courses, females wield their mashies and niblicks and putters almost as well as the fellows. But check the sartorial bias. Women golfers wear shorts — or some may wear nifty slacks — they choose what they think will break par, beauty wise. I say, hurrah.
But look at the men. Pro golfers have to wear long pants, no shorts. But their caddies can wear shorts. This suggests that it is a gentleman’s game, but we realists know better. Years ago the pro guys wore neckties!
I have not worn a tie for months, maybe years. And I am clear out of the hat thing, which has been taken over by women, who one of these days will be running the whole world. I can see it when the female cardinal sort of stands around — being second in the pecking order — as if she knows her beau in red will bring her a tidbit. There is female wisdom in all of this. Males are losing the style show. Guys apparently were meant to be, if not drab, at best rather dull, sartorially speaking. Why is that? I salute the cardinal. Long may he strut.
As I watch the busy redbirds at the feeder, I notice a bit of cockiness — they seem to think they are No. 1. Their female friends know better, but they just pretend, as it seems to be in real life. Hardly anybody notices what we guys wear, unless it is awful. Women know this. Wearing those crazy, but interesting hats and clothes that we guys notice is part of the plot.
This hits me even in the choir loft, while trying to sing a happy anthem. In some music, I have seen places for separate parts marked for “Ladies” or “Men.” Why aren’t we called “Gentlemen?”
Such bias is all around us. Who is running this big earthly show anyway?