|by Eric Morrison|
|The Fashion Dog Days of Summer
The summer heat is beating down on our heads, and sizzling summer fashions have arrived! I love the casual summer feel, with baseball caps, T-shirts, shorts, and comfortable shoes. However, some of us push the delicate fashion envelope just a bit too far during the summer season. Therefore, I humbly offer the following summer fashion tips. Understand that I am no fashion plate, at least as a boy. I've been known to (gulp!) run to Wawa in the middle of the night for a pack of smokes, clad in Garfield pajama bottoms and a T-shirt that should have been landfill material last decade. So if you see me soaking up the Rehoboth sun this summer and breaking my own fashion rules, have a little sympathy for me. Even we wonderful gay people can't always be perfect.
First offfootwear. My biggest pet peeve in this area is people who wear sandals or flip-flops and shouldn't. If people might mistake you for the antichrist because of your cloven hooves, do not wear sandals. If you could slice up the Thanksgiving turkey with your big toenail, do not wear sandals. If your nails are as thick as Dolly Parton's foundation or as yellow as the summer sun, don't wear sandals. Pedicures are relatively inexpensive ways to treat ourselves, so please treat yourself to a pedicure and treat us to a pleasant foot-viewing experience. If you choose to hide your piggies in shoes, please include socks, and not ones that come up to your knees. Nothing says "old fart" quite like a pair of striped tube socks pulled up higher and tighter than Joan Rivers' face. And do I even need to mention socks with sandals?
Contrary to my partners' belief, I feel strongly that sandals work with just about any outfit, as long as they're on par with the style you're searching for. Although 99-cent Old Navy plastic flip-flops don't cut it with a stylish pair of dress pants, a comfortable, tasteful, open-toe sandal looks mah-velous and feels great on your tired puppies. Basic black non-Jesus-sandals are just fine with long pants. And, for the love of all that's gayNO CROCS! If you feel the need to have crocs on your feet, do us all a favor and dangle your legs in the Everglades. Lastly, leave the jelly shoes at home with the peanut butter.
As for your top (and I don't mean your partner), choose wisely. If you wear a muscle shirt, matching muscles are a necessity, not an optional accessory. There are some guys out there who look great in muscle shirts. I'm no longer part of that happy tribe, so my muscle shirts, at least for now, remain in the bottom of my dresser drawer where they should be, awaiting the glorious return of my former 20-something body. Although muscles are a must-have accessory for muscle or sleeveless shirts, white deodorant is a must-not-have. Choose a clear deodorant so you don't lift up your arm and look like you have George Washington's powdered head in a lock.
As for other shirt-choosing tips, carefully choose to tuck or not to tuck. Muffin tops are only attractive on baked goods. At all costs, avoid sheer or fishnet shirts. They're too gay for even Tom Cruise. Slip on slogan T-shirts sparingly. It might be funny the first time I read it at happy hour, but by last call, the novelty has really worn thin. Classic, plain T-shirts are always in style and are always a safe choice, unless you plan to cover them with more gaudy necklaces than Mr. T. Finally, your shirt should not be louder than the DJ. Do dazzle friends and potential romantic partners with your charm. Do not blind them with your clothing. Hawaiian shirts only look cute in Honolulu.
For your bottom half, long pants and jeans look fine year-round, but many of us prefer shorts in the summer. Just try to avoid cutting off a raggedy, faded pair of jeans you wore in high school and calling them "vintage." Daisy Duke shorts should stay in fictional Hazzard County where they belong. Biker shorts should cover your derriere only when it's perched atop a bicycle seat. And if you choose to show off your legs, make sure they're not as pasty white as the Pillsbury Doughboy. Sun-worshipping, with all its cancer-causing dangers, is no longer "hot." But neither are legs that look like they've never seen the sun. Finally, if you have limbs (or a back!) as hairy as Sasquatch, give them a trim or a wax now and then. Or at least give everyone at the bar something to talk about by braiding up some cornrows and tying them off with colorful plastic balls.
Accessories are a must have for the gay summer, but bewaresome heterosexuals will design and sell gay people anything to make a buck. Over-accessorizing could even be part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to convince intelligent, fashion-forward Americans that we'll waste our notoriously ample "disposable income" on any old thing or any new fashion. In an effort to boost our image nationwide, I humbly offer the following handy guidelines for accessories. If you like oversized sunglasses, why go only half the way? Head to your local costume shop and pick up a pair of those gargantuan clown sunglasses with lenses the size of your head, and put Paris and Nicole to shame. Also, no matter how many muscles are rippling up and down your arm, it just does not look masculine with a "manbag" hanging off your fingers. Unless it cleverly disguises an oxygen tank, leave it at home. Do the same with your fanny pack, or you deserve a fanny spanking.
We all love the bling, but as with cocktails at happy hour, a little goes a long way. You may feel like a queen for the night, but don't walk out the door decked out in more gold and gems than Cleopatra. It's always a good idea to rate yourself on the gay accessories scale before you walk out the door. If you're wearing three anklets, two necklaces, bracelets up and down each arm, and eight earrings, you're tipping the scales far too heavily toward the pink side. And as for rainbow anything, just say NO! That's a no to rainbow jewelry (unless very subtle), rainbow shirts, rainbow belts, rainbow shoelaces, and rainbow suspenders. You're not Mork, and you're not from Ork.
If you'd like to add to this summer fashion faux-pas list, or report a summer fashion emergency, contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 07 June 13, 2008