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I have a button dilemma. I own more than a few well tailored button up shirts that I wear with jeans, chinos, blazers, everything. Now that it’s summer I’ve gone almost completely tieless. My problem is deciding how many buttons to unbutton. I always have the top one unbuttoned (of course), but it feels and looks a little stiff. The issue is when I unbutton that second button, about an inch of my black as night chest hair shows. Sometimes if the placket falls open a little, it’s more than an inch. I’m not naturally tan either, so it stands out.
I really like the look and feel of the second button undone, but I don’t want to come off as some rico suave dirtbag at the same time.
What should I do?
Well I’m back from vacation and I’ve learned a lot about myself and life and style and how much wine I can comfortably fit into my body in a single setting. I’m going to be imparting these lessons to you as the summer weeks pass. You’re welcome.
Hair. It’s a big topic, a BIG topic. True story: one of my buds from grad school wrote her thesis on hair. (You’re thinking to yourself one of two things: 1) what the hell kind of thesis topic is that? 2) you went to grad school? seriously? are they admitting everyone?) And we aren’t even covering the hair on your head, we’re sticking to body hair. The most controversial of all the hairs.
So before vacation when I was young and naive, I struggled with this question. Because people are all nuts about body hair, aren’t they? Wax it, shave it, pluck it, laser it, obsess over it. I’m all for good grooming, but I do want to go on the record saying that I think the expectation that we all be these hairless, perfectly smooth beings is a little insane. Kind of like combining sangria with 100 degree temperatures and non-air-conditioned lodging and satin sheets. Before I left for vacation, I thought I was going to tell you that you should go ahead and unbutton to your heart’s content. True, some people might think you are a dirtbag, but most will realize you are just trying to stay cool. But then I took my vacation and saw lots of unbuttoned shirts and bouffant chest curlies…and I reconsidered.
Bad news, Tim: noticeable hair sprouting out of your shirt is not a pretty sight. And, you’re at a disadvantage because of your very dark hair and pale skin. I know it’s not fair in warm weather, but it’s the truth. Good news (sort of): if you still want to unbutton that second button, NOT wearing gold chains nestled in your chest-fro will prevent the rico suave part. Hmmm…not very good news is it? Boo.
I want to say two more things on the subject: a few stray hairs poking out of your shirt is not big deal. I think what Tim is describing is a serious carpet on his chest. Second, the aesthetic I’ve described here is a style, just like the cut of jeans or the width of a tie. The 1970s and 80s loved their chest hair. The 90s and the new millennium, not so much. We’re just not used to seeing people rocking the chest hair out of the neck of their shirt, so it doesn’t appeal to us. But that doesn’t mean that in 10 years we won’t be seeing it again. So don’t fret, most styles eventually swing back the other way. You’ll be channeling Magnum, P.I. soon enough, Tim.
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