05 June 2007

Women of New York: Kindly Knock It Off.

There are those in my profession that keep a very close eye on trends. It's advisable, given a field so influenced by socio-political movements and "what the people want." Plus, one is expected to be as attractive (or, as a possible trade-off, intense) as one can. Actors are meant to be seen, and being easy on or fascinating to the eye is a definite plus. Some would even say it is a necessity. Certainly in New York, one has a great variety of beautiful people, a lot of whom aren't even performers (at least in the occupational sense). With the advent of the metrosexual (or as I like to call them, the image-conscious frat boys who have been relieved of the terror of occasionally being branded gay) even the straight men are in on the details of a beautiful appearance and the latest fashions.

I can't be bothered to follow trends from moment to moment, and have no particular instinct for it that would allow me to pick them up without effort. It has been this way since I was a wee one. In high school I was well known for wearing literally nothing but black, every day. A good deal of making that choice had to do with not having to choose much in the way of an outfit each day. (I love the sequences in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and The Royal Tenenbaums in which characters go to their closets to select from identical suits [and I'm pretty certain that's a bit borrowed from one of the great silent actors' repertoires][not to mention Einstein's habit of it].) I have grown past this technique, but I still am caught unawares by styles and trends, particularly those having to do with clothing.

A clothing trend for women that has walked up to me and smacked me in the face a few thousand times, now that warmer weather has sloughed its way into the Baked Apple, is the T-shirt dress. The very short T-shirt dress. Like, pretty much just a T-shirt, maybe men's size. I should have seen this one coming. What with the encroaching influence of American Apparel and our recent fascination with shifting in and out of the 80s pop culture, this was bound to come up. I guess I should just be thanking my lucky stars (you could be my lucky star, but I'm the luckiest by far) that the side ponytail has remained in remission, and that said T-shirt dresses come in a variety of styles apart from the typical Flashdance variety. Instead, all I can say is this:

Kindly knock it the hell off, Women of New York.

Oh, ha-ha. He's having a comical rant, along the lines of Dennis Leary, Dennis Miller or Patrick Lacey. Oh this should be good, full of sardonic wit and wry commentary on his society, all the whilst keeping himself in check with merciless self-deprecation. Ha-ha.

Seriously. Knock it. Off. Knock it off.

I don't think you fully appreciate the effect you're having on the average heterosexual male (or homosexual female, I presume), Women of New York. Each and every time I see one of you wearing one such "dress," I am instantly and involuntarily transported into a fantasy that you are in my bedroom and I am making you a delicious breakfast of an omelet, whole wheat toast, a glass of cranberry juice and a french-pressed mug of coffee. Because, you see


It's Pavlovian, or something. I mean, it's documented fact ("It's science.") that it doesn't take much to make men think about sex. I'm not holding you responsible for that, WoNY. I am merely pleading with you, please, to consider that it's a far worse thing to invite the idea that I've already had sex with you, and may get to again, if it's a Sunday and neither of us have anywhere in particular to be. This misconception doesn't put you in danger, of course, unless you consider having an omelet and surprisingly intimate conversation with a strange man dangerous, but I beg you to consider the effect it may have on the public at large. If legislation can be proposed banning iPods for endangering pedestrian traffic, should we not lend the same consideration to those afflicted by the T-shirt dress distraction factor?

And no, no: It doesn't help if you wear a broach, or if the T-shirt is artfully pleated or even if you've added a stylish belt to the ensemble. I still see the so-called dress and think, "Oh. My Lake Braddock Intermediate School production T from The Miracle Worker. Good choice. That one's soft." Maybe you think that wearing tights and boots with it helps to establish--in spite of its cotton magically patented to absently cling to absolutely everything underneath--a more developed sense of outfit. Sorry: No. It doesn't. I just momentarily think we've come in to the lodge from a long, hard day of skiing, and what we really need more than anything else is a dip in the jacuzzi.

And no: It isn't my fault. It simply isn't. I may have fessed up before to compulsive sexual thoughts in the past, but this goes beyond the pale. It's not that I'm stifled by some kind of Victorian repression that makes me scandalized over a glimpse of ankle. It's that you're wearing absurdly casual lingerie, in public. This is your responsibility, WoNY. Take a lesson from Spider-Man. It is indeed a great power, and you're wielding it like your uncle wasn't killed as an indirect result of your inaction. You should always behave as though your uncle was killed as an indirect result of your inaction! Especially when the issue is relative nudity.

Gentlemen (and lesbians), I do feel we have recourse, desperate though it may be. We have to fight fire with fire. Sort of. I suggest we all take to wearing boxers in public. But not just boxers, my finely-tempered fashion fighting force. Boxers with black socks. Pulled up straight. Preferably with calf garters and dress shoes.

We can not lose! They will bow before our mighty retaliation, cowering in the sight of the most unsightly and awkward antiquated fashion trend the world has yet to know! You think you've got us with your bedroom outfit from the 1980s? How about some 1880s boudoir!

You have been warned, Women of New York. Get out of my T-shirt. Get into some pants.


walkinhomefromthethriftstore said...

You knock it off! You're now the Taliban! Just jack it like everyone else.

Ok, I've been having this kind of dramatic reaction to almost anyone with an opinion lately. My friend Provi suggested that we shouldn't allow Stephen Hawking to go into space in case he dies, and I told her she was a Nazi.

Davey said...

3 days and a wake up brother, though I suppose it says you posted this yesterday. I am posting today.


Shut Up! If your stupid ripping on the women's clothing passes on to others they won't do it anymore! Sure, you can talk, up there in your ivory tower of "Gettin' Some Regularly" but for those of us gentlemen, and lesbians, who are not so lucky: Shut Up!

Sure I've been walking into more telephone poles lately, and last week I was hit (nudged really) by a bus, but I claim that it was worth it! WORTH IT! EXCLAMATION POINT!

Moheggie said...



No, I will NOT get out of your t-shirt....especially after reading this post! (WINK!)

Jeff Wills said...

Okay, all. Now that my 'blog has been tagged for observation by the DHS (Thanks, Skarzipan [ha-ha, just revealed your secret identity {uh, sort of}].), I feel free to say that I endorse caning and would burn our flag to save msyelf from freezing to death. Also, don't hate me because I'm trying to protect my innocence, gang.

I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way...as the great poetess says...

Melissa said...

T-shirts for all my Ladies!!


No time soon will women stop wearing ridiculous things like t-shirts and lingerie as dresses. they r comfy.

esp not in NY.

I suggest you find a good stop on the stairwell and enjoy.

Nat said...

Dear Women of New York,

Please don't listen to Jeff.

Also, please proceed to the nearest subway grate.

Thank you,

Jeff Wills said...

Melissa and Nat, we clearly need to do everything in our power to keep you two apart. You're like the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper, and nobody steps on a church in my town.

WoNY: Avoid the stairwells in Jersey and the subway grates off the J line.