So, Mark, this one's for you. You were wondering what happened if I actually veered full into rantville? I dug into my old writing archives and pulled some of my editorials from my buddy's old mailing list. Despite the fact that the one I've included here makes it sound like, well, like I really earned my theater degree, I think it's pretty close to the full, in person meltdown. This is about 8 years old now, so take it for what it is.
Okay, so there’s no business like show business, and you live fast, die young and above all, leave a pretty corpse. What do these two cherished American axioms tell us about ourselves? We are one seriously vain culture. No big news, right? Right. Okay, so now that we’re all agreed, what can we say about our vanity?
Turn on any given episode of Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight and you will be bombarded by sickeningly sycophantic, startstruck horseshit about who was wearing what where and which alarmingly gay fashion expert had a near fatal aneurysm over it. One point of clarification here, the word gay in this context refers not specifically to homosexuals but to the community of men sporting lisps, triangular chin beards, turtlenecks and an unhealthy knowledge of fabric types. The kind of people who make you pronounce the word croissant correctly, who order coffee drinks with names more complicated than the scientific names for most venereal diseases and that cost more than the treatments. The kind of people who think Chloe is a nifty, hip name. In short, the kind of people who should be added to my ever expanding list of people who should not be allowed outside without a helmet. But I digress.
My rage in this case is pointed not at celebrities and the celebrity chasing tabloid media.
These people are paid very well to make spectacles of themselves and each other, paid, I might add, with the money we spend on their product. That said, I do occasionally wonder what causes celebrities (typically the women, but occasionally the men) to make personal appearance choices that dramatically reduce their personal attractiveness when they are not being paid to do so. It’s one thing when a beautiful actress gets a strange haircut to play a role for which she will be paid a hefty sum of money, but quite another when she decides that, in between seasons on her hit show, she should roll the dice on the miracle hair salon that is the local Nurseryland. But again, I digress.
I said that the target of my rage on this particular topic is not the celebrity, nor the drooling, borderline retarded schlubs that follow them around and take pictures of them doing useless things that we are then supposed to care about as though it were an offense to the cosmic order for the premiere of the Manimal movie adaptation to go unnoticed. No, the target of my venom this time around is none other than us, the media hungry, frantically unhip public.
In Las Vegas recently I witnessed fashion flubs that could possibly have scared Mr. Blackwell straight and could even have left Joan Rivers speechless. For this, these sartorially challenged individuals (who shall remain nameless since I was too busy laughing to bother to meet them) should be given the Congressional Medal of Honor. Before I go too far, I should note that I am speaking here as a critic of fashion, which of course means that I know nothing about it. But enough about me, on to the dirt, that is the earthen motif.
Complaint #1: Women with colored hair.
While this phenomenon is not an inherently problematic one, there appear to be several areas of this rather delicate operation with which the bulk of our female population is unfamiliar. These issues, when dealt with properly, greatly enhance the appeal of the woman to men surrounding her. Handled improperly, they induce men to ask for an hourly rate. Allow me to provide the following helpful hints.
1. Just because Christina Aguilera saw fit to dye the lower half of her head blue, this does not make it a good idea for you. People like Ms. Aguilera have image consultants and hairstylists with one name on speed dial. People whose hourly rates are higher than most psychiatrists. You however, have ponytail holders and a sharpie. Do the math.
2. Bleach jobs are rarely as good an idea in truth as they seemed to be in the planning, especially if you are not white. This is not a racial statement, but rather an observation about color interaction. Platinum blond is not a color that mixes well with dark skin. You are not fooling anyone. Pale white people can usually pull it off, but rarely do it properly, hence the number of people you see walking around looking like a road pylon took a shit on them.
3. Uncorrected botched dye jobs are particularly bad. If you dye your long hair and find that it looks bad, cut it. You are only doing yourself a disservice by wandering around with well styled, but plastic looking hair.
4. Pastels do not naturally occur in human growth. Lavender, orange, blue, green, and other colors not generated by chromosomal combination should be ignored. You don’t look daring, you look like you slept in a kindergarten tempera set.
Complaint #2: Those shirts with no backs.
Here’s the deal, that thing you have, the one comprised of a sequined dinner napkin and two matching shoelaces? Yes, that one. It’s not clothing, it’s table linen. Wrap it around a fork and go put on some clothes.
Complaint #3: Strap lines.
If you wear a bikini to play, tank tops to shop and spaghetti straps to functions, stop it, at least during the summer. Your back looks like a Sanskrit manuscript. It’s not sexy. It’s geometry.
Complaint #4: Men in leather pants.
Go home and put on some jeans. You’re not a rock star, and if you were, you would probably be responsible for more schlock like With Arms Wide Open and I would be forced to put on a Metallica CD and crush your head with a rock.
Complaint #5: Cowboy Up
If you live in or are visiting a major city center, leave the boots, belt buckle and cowboy hat at home. You stick out like Ron Jeremy in a convent. Stop it. And for God’s sake, take that damn sticker off your Neon. One more thing, Calvin is a city boy, so take that sticker off too. A real cowboy would kick your ass faster than he’d shoot a cow stuck in barbed wire.
The list goes on and on. Sadly, there are more problems involving women than men, but men wrote the rulebook, which means that we get to do things the easy way. Then again, visit a golf course and you will see that many men have obviously never read the book their ancestors clubbed so many women to create.
So what can we do about this? How do we keep from becoming walking fashion travesties? We can’t listen to our European cousins since they’re the ones who started all this insanity in the first place. Fashion designers are no help. Watch an awards show. These people are so whacked out they make me want to watch the Jerry Springer show for a little normalcy. I don’t know, maybe we should all just go back to cheetah skins and loincloths, at least the current cast of Baywatch should, if not permanently then definitely during sweeps.
But seriously, we have to do something, unless of course evolution is showing us that the next stage in our development is Bozo the Clown, in which case we should just set off the nuclear warheads and see if the cockroaches can do better in a few thousand years.
For what it’s worth, my advice is just to do what you do. Stop trying so hard, it’s never as impressive as you think it is. You’ll be much better off .