Clothes Shopping Where I’m Not Wanted

Even as a “soon-to-be 50 year old”, I still like to think of myself as a snappy dresser. It’s really all I have left. The hair on my head is falling out and miraculously reappearing in my ear and my body is morphing into some uncontrollable blob, so anything I can do to cover up with nice clothing is not only sparing me indignity, it also is, I’m certain, appreciated by those who have to look at me.

I have become, in my eyes at least, a fat, bloated hog. I sweat when it’s 55 degrees and my only exercise comes from walking outside to smoke and bending over to try and touch my toes to stretch out my hamstrings.

There are a couple of pieces of wisdom I have garnered over the years though that I feel compelled to share with those who share my affliction. Always wear nice shoes. They will draws the viewer’s eyes downward and away from your whistling nose or your sun-damaged scalp. It’s much better to be complimented on a nice new pair of Allen Edmonds wingtips that you’re sporting, than to have someone staring at your disproportionate head size compared to your giant burgeoning gut. Also, I’ve been wearing a lot of plaid lately. Really, gingham shirts are a Godsend to me. I find it throws off the eye of the viewer and makes me appear thinner. The multi-colored squares confuses their rods and cones making it difficult  to get a feel for just how oddly shaped I’ve become. With these shirts, I have become a walking eye-bending optical illusion. A human Mobius strip, if you will.

Why do I need these fishing line like hairs in my nose? It wasn’t thick like this when I was a kid. Is there some pollutant that hovers around the five foot mark that causes this? Is it now protecting me from something? Why didn’t I need them when I was younger?

There aren’t a lot of men’s clothing stores at the mall anymore, if there ever were. Let’s face it, most men my age have their shopping done by their wives but women have stores for every make and model that they come in. There are stores for skinny women, stores for your larger class of women and short women have something called Petite. Mix all those stores together with all of the sizes and lifestyles that go with the aforementioned classifications and you have the definition of disparity. We men have five sizes to pick from. Five. And really, we have only three. There’s Small, Medium, Large, XL and XXL. Men don’t wear small or medium. I call those sizes extra-large boy. You may call it Asian XL or Slim-Fit.

Sure you have your fitted shirts with sizes like 18 ½ – 34 but you have to be measured for that and few men are going to slow down enough to allow for fitting. I’ve been fitted for dress shirts before and I know my size but knowing my size isn’t the dilemma. The problem is finding a shirt that particular size. I have short arms that rival someone genetically damaged by Thalidomide exposure. Picture Cee-Lo Green or if you’re not familiar with him, a T-Rex. Mix that together with that fact that I have eaten myself into looking like one of those Russian onion dolls and voila! I can’t reach the bottom of my pockets anymore.

Anyway, I’m at the mall with my wife recently and she’s popping in and out of one store after another, treating them rather frivolously, as far as I was concerned, but when you have the volume of material available, why not? I, on the other hand, am stuck with the department stores who begrudgingly throw out a smattering of men’s clothes, mostly, I think, just to draw in more women. One store, a major retailor, has a whole level dedicated to women’s wares. The entire second floor is booming with hip music and even has a lighting scheme. Where is the men’s department? In the basement in a tiny little corner surrounded by bedding and kitchen appliances. They had more options of coffee grinders than they did men’s shirts. I’m 49 years old and I do not want to wear team jerseys with some crack head’s name on the back of it! However, according to this store’s demographic research, I do, as that was all they had for sale.

I gathered myself and headed back out into the mall determined to find a store that shared my appreciation for looking good at my age. First stop, Express. I was greeted by Ian and by greeted I mean to say that he looked me up and down and said out of the corner of his mouth, “let me know if you need any help.” Ian was a prissy, glorified bagboy and was not the slightest bit interested in trying to make a sales commission off of me and clearly did not greet me in the style afforded the young, thin and hip. I had the feeling that what he was really saying to me was, “let me know if you need any help with that mess you call a body and please get out of here and by the way, the first step to making a better you is to admit that have a problem and do, indeed, need help.” He looked at me like I was the Elephant Man and the only way I was going to be allowed to buy anything would be to first promise to rip out any tags that connected me with their fine store. Ian was clearly more interested in having my not ruin the “street-cred” of his product than a commission.

Fortunately for Ian, nothing in this store fit me as, apparently, they cater to “men” who wear the aforementioned extra-large boy size. Having told Ian to go fuck himself, I walked out with as much of my self-esteem as I could muster and headed to the next store this one doing business as H&M.

This was not a better experience. The girl who worked in this establishment simply nodded at me upon entry as if to say, “Yeah, right, you fat old fuck.” Much like the department store, the “men’s” apparel was shoved into a corner and most of it sized for a boy. I would need to develop a nasty cocaine habit and start clubbing on Ecstasy before I could fit into any of this gear. In addition, the music in this place is programmed, I think, to drive people like me away. It was some irreverent, hippity-bippity club banging scat played intentionally loud so that if I stayed in there longer than the time it takes to buy a gift card for my daughter or my would-be effeminate son I would be lying on the ground writhing in pain like I was experiencing a full-body neural seizure.

What’s with the smell in Abercrombie? Why is it so dark?

I did not end up buying anything that day. What I did do was stop for Italian on the way home and ate a gigantic meal with a meatball the size of my fist but this kind of behavior is what got me into this predicament in the first place.

Looking good, Billy Ray! Feeling good, Louis!

Billy Joel gone full retard….

Billy Joel

I have for many decades kept Top 5 lists on hundreds of subjects. I feel like it helps me define myself in some twisted way. Now that would also mean that there has to be at least five items to add to a particular list, hence I have no Top 5 Best Nickelback Songs but they surely could show up on my worst things ever list along with Hitler and cheap toilet paper that lets poo get on my finger.

I love Billy Joel, not the late 80’s Billy Joel but the 70’s and early 80’s Billy Joel and I hate Christy Brinkley.

Billy Joel brought us songs like Piano Man and Captain Jack in the 70’s. His songs were not songs you play to feel good, they were filled with emotion. He was a man who sang about life and mostly the pain of life. He was a man you would want to sit down and have a drink with, mostly because he would make you feel good about your issues while he laid out his fucked up morass. His album The Stranger doesn’t have a bad song on it and could easily stand as a greatest hits collection on its own. Enter Christy Brinkley. You’ve heard the term “Jump the Shark?” She made Billy Joel jump the shark; he went full retard.

Back in the 70’s there was a television show called Happy Days, not great TV but it was all we had. There was a character, Fonzie, who was your typical 50’s badass, leather jacket and all, except he never really did anything bad. Well, I guess he rode a motorcycle and in 70’s television his hog was a euphemism for gang rape, hard drugs and irreverent music. Today’s “Fonzie” would be shown raping women, shooting heroin while head bangin to Foo Fighters but back then you’d have to lobby the Federal Communications Commission to say the word hormone.

Anyway, this stupid character Fonzie decides that he is going to jump over shark infested waters on waterskies, of course, wearing his trademark leather jacket. Can’t imagine salt water being good for fine leather but from then on the show was absolutely unwatchable. Fonzie cleaned up his act and I think actually became a teacher. Hence the term, “jump the shark.”

Seriously, New York State of Mind is one of the best songs ever made. It literally makes you want to be in the city and I hate New York City. This man who brought us such amazing music meets this horrible yet admittedly gorgeous model at the top of her field and suddenly he’s giving us the likes of Uptown Girl? The video alone makes me recoil in horror. He’d doing choreographed dancing in an auto repair shop in it for God’s sake! It’s like he was under anesthesia and woke up saying incoherent, idiotic things and someone happened to be there filming it and, oh yeah, they showed it to millions of people. Lord knows we’ve all done stupid and embarrassing things to try an impress a women just not in front of the world on a stage, or an auto repair shop, in this case.

Speaking of videos, the number one worst video of all time has got to be “Dancing in the Streets” featuring David Bowie and Mick Jagger. If you haven’t seen this I encourage you to find it via your favorite search engine and watch the most deplorable display of bisexuality ever filmed. Mick’s shirt actually becomes more and more untucked and unbuttoned as the video progresses. It’s like a four minute play by play of Bowie undressing him. I actually turn away from embarrassment while watching it.

Back to Billy Joel, all of the passion for the agony that was his life was now being spewed out of him in gay theatrics and pathetic pandering to this horrible women. I don’t begrudge Joel happiness and certainly none of us would have turned down a chance to bang Christy Brinkley but, damn, hold on to at least a shred of your dignity!

I also had the impression that he was rubbing her in our collective faces. Kind of like one of those fuckstick kids in your neighborhood who always got ice cream and made sure to come outside and eat it in front of everybody.

I have an idea that at this point in his life even Joel realized what a jackass he made of himself because he has vowed to never make an album again citing “not wanting to open himself emotionally.” All I can say is, thanks, because if it’s going to be some testament to getting laid, I can do without it.

That being said, here’s my list of the Top 5 Best Billy Joel Songs –

Best Billy Joel Songs

New York State of Mind


The Stranger

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

Baby Grand (I believe this to be a post-gay release but still good)