Sunday, August 1, 2010

Guy liberation.

Kohl's department store had an advertising supplement in yesterday's New York Times, boasting that all Levi's jeans are on sale. Well, it actually says ALL LEVI'S JEANS ON SALE.

So you don't immediately notice the small print that follows: "for men, guys, juniors and kids."

I suppose that means the ladies don't get a look in. Or a leg in, rather, ho, ho, ho, ho, ah me. Which is . . . . Hang on! Go back a bit. No, before the "leg in" joke.* "For men, guys . . ."

When did the fashion industry start distinguishing between "men" and "guys"? And more to the point, which am I? I still wear Levi's jeans.** My size hasn't changed for 35 years, still a 31 waist (30 in Dockers, ahem), 32 leg. Well, left leg. So why could I suddenly be in a subgroup that may brand me a second-class citizen on the be-denimed hipness*** scale? I don't want to be a man. I want to be a guy!

Unless "guy" is that peculiar style of jeans that have their crotch floating at shin-level and expose enough butt-crack to inspire Spackle. I can get that effect if the phone rings when I'm on the toilet.****

I suppose this could lead me to develop some kind of Jeff Foxworthy-like material on the lines of "When you something something something, you're a man. But when you something something something else, you're a GUY!" (Pause for audience hilarity.) And the fact that I can't come up with anything makes me think that I'm probably not a guy. I've never said "wassup!" in my life.

Well, I clearly need to investigate. And if I don't qualify as a guy, at least I can take consolation that I haven't drifted into some new Levi's category called "coot." ("Sits at the nipple, ultra-wide belt-loops, extra roomy in the seat, just in case.")

But if I discover that men and guys are indeed two separate cuts of jean, one being cooler and trendier than the other, it does lead to another question: If you find yourself in a subset that is at least one step up the rickety ladder of contemporary fashion, why would you be buying jeans at Kohl's?

*That was a joke?

**Well, Lee's fit me better, less inclined to sag under the gluteal crease after a few washings, but . . .

***Yes, I know "hip" is an old-fashioned expression - I believe the term is "sick" these days - but I was going for the lower-body metaphor.

 ****Also called a "penguin," cf. Ally McBeal 1998.

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