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A while back, I took my wife out on a date. Part of that date had us going to the cinema. I was wearing a linen suit and knit tie over a subtly patterned shirt. While we were in the ticket booth queue, another couple on a date lined up behind us. The woman complimented me on dressing up and said she wished more guys would dress up to go out. I don’t know how to feel about this. Her boyfriend was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
A gentleman shouldn’t make anyone else uncomfortable with what he wears, so I feel bad for breaking the bro code and embarrassing this man. On the other hand, I was elevating my style and raising the bar for what is expected of him when he takes his girlfriend out.
As a woman in good standing, what is your opinion? Should I be proud for showing a better way, or scorned for embarrassing another man?
Dude…you’re being waaaaay too hard on yourself. It’s great that you dress up to take your wife on a date. I bet she thinks you look dashing, and I bet you feel good wearing a slick ensemble, and I bet keeping the courtship alive does wonders for your marriage. Good for you.
Since I wasn’t there, I don’t know how this other women intended her “compliment.” Was she being genuine and just really liked your suit? Or has she been trying to get her boyfriend to throw away that pair of stained shorts for two years? Obviously, if it’s the former, then I’m sure she wasn’t disparaging her other half, she just wanted to tell you that you looked nice. If it’s the latter, then she gets an A+ in Passive Aggression 101. Either way? Not your fault.
Just don’t go full Donaghy. This clip will never get old.
You should dress for yourself most of all. Then maybe a little bit for the people in your life who appreciate seeing you look nice. But for a stranger, just because he’s another guy? No. And this sort of goes back to a recurring theme in Ask A Woman–we as sartorialists being made to feel bad about looking presentable. I’ve tackled how to respond to the question “Why are you so dressed up?” I’ve answered quandaries about whether you should try to match your friends slothful attire. Here’s the deal: some people don’t care what they put on their body. If you live in the States, change “some” to “many.” I was at the airport last weekend and a group of high school girls were ALL wearing sweatpants that were three sizes too big, black sports bras, and white men’s undershirts. Oh, and a pound of make-up. But unwashed hair. What. the. hell. You take a dollop of shampoo to that rat’s nest, young lady, and find some britches that fit you properly for the love of all that is holy! This trend of not tending to one’s appearance–even hygiene–seems to be spreading (or else I’m getting crotchety in my old age), and the result is that people who do tend to their appearance are made to feel bad for “dressing up. ”
I know, it’s annoying to have to deal with other people’s weirdness about the fact that your sweater doesn’t have marinara stains on it. But–and hear me out on this one–there is something really important about taking care of yourself. I’d like to use the word “spiritual” but since I’ll vomit if one more celebrity says, “No, I don’t go to church, but I consider myself spiritual,” let’s just say it’s…holistic. If we are going to go to the gym and eat fruits and whole grains and use our brains at work or school and get lucky with the foxy person in our lives and balance our chakra during meditation….then dressing and grooming well is one more part of that responsibility to take care of the whole person.
Is it a little vain? Of course. But ever since cave people looked at their reflection in a puddle, we’ve cared about the way we look. So be it. I’m not saying you have to buy designer labels or be a certain size. I’m just talking about spending five minutes deciding what you’re going to wear, and making sure it fits properly, is clean, and that you feel semi-decent in it. Get it from a thrift store, the mall, or the Champs Elysees, I don’t care, but take the time to take care of yourself.
It’s important–I really believe that.
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Note: Many thanks to the guys on the Dappered Facebook page for helping a lowly preview text/editor out yesterday. This situation smacks of some bizarro reverse c*ck block. Like some other terms that don’t have equally accurate synonyms, this one might have gone in the preview text, but Christian S. provided “mantagonist”. Had to use it.