March is mad, they say, and it must be true, because I am. Take Tuesday. It began with the editor of a new magazine to which I’d contributed referring to me as “an old person” on social media. I was so unsettled I proceeded to stain my butter-yellow sweater. I went to brush my teeth, and there it was: dried coffee on my cashmere. I tried to blot it out—daub, daub, still there. I gave up and threw it out on the back porch in a fit of pique, er, wool. Does that makes sense,”a fit of wool?” Should I have written, “a wooly wrath?” Never mind. I have far fewer spring transitional pieces than high-class problems, so I was pissed. I had to sit and meditate for five minutes fore leaving for work. Peevishness is not stylish.
Nor is confusion. I’m a bewildered footstep away from un-ironic Tevas if it were not for snow. Wait, the sun’s out. No it isn’t yes it is no it isn’t snow rain wind WHAT THE FUCK?
Let’s go to the inbox. An email from Billy Reid, my favorite designer, announces “The Bleached Denim Workshirt.” I still haven’t washed my $200 selvedge one with the leather buttons. And, “The?” Is “the” a thing? It’s as though the copy was written on an airplane right after leafing through one of those Hammacher-Schlemmer catalogues, you know the ones: The Hip and Knee Oversized Comfort Pillow ($49.95). My J Crew Men’s Style Guide arrived the other day. It was full of them: The Contrast Oxford, The Ludlow Sportcoat, The Vaguely Nautical Striped Soft Washed Tee. Another email, from Everlane: The Slim Fit Poplin. It comes in Sand, Mediterranean, and Pine. Somewhere in a conference room, “the” was decreed with color names only art directors understand. I have been to that meeting. A fake-tanned white guy too old for sneakers and dark frames says, “The verbiage should convey a sense of uniqueness,” no matter that we’re talking a simple button-down with a different-colored pocket. Then he goes and catches a flight to Sedona with his girlfriend.
Bleached denim. Just when you have spent a fortune on more-indigo-than-indigo unsanforized pants and learned your looms all the way from Cone Mills to Kurabo, faded shit is back. Five minutes ago, wearing The Faded Jean made you look poor; now the tricky business is making yourself look prosperous and faded at the same time. And that is nothing on what’s up with denim for ladies, where a new turn is not only acid-washed but high-waisted. Grown women are going to have to figure out how to wear Mom jeans without looking, well, Momish. MILFing is about to be harder’n’a mutherfucka. A Mom in low-waisted jeans at least could make her intentions clear. Now, it’s Millennial middles only.
While I’m thinking about it, it’s probably no party to be a young lady today, either. Body-consciousness and double standards are at an all time high. It used to be that only gay men and Ryan Gosling were expected to have abs. Now females are going after them, too, along with thigh gaps and Bey butts. That’s a high barre. I see 20-something girls in the gym doing core work like there’s no tomorrow, all chasing that Photoshopped look. Of course, feminism always finds tension at the Y, where leaning in happens as much against bosu balls as glass ceilings, but it is enough to make a card-carrying student of the Steinem years sigh. Happy 80th, baby. The good old boys of the boardroom have given way to dudes and bros, yet the Marks still far outnumber the Marissas. We gonna fix that?
Sorry, I just swirled right into feminist commentary, didn’t I? It must be the wind. It’s like Kansas or Chicago out there. It’s hard to think clearly chasing your hat down Church Street. When it is windy in Nashville, a certain bleakness shows. The trash twenty-somethings toss from their Beemers swirls down North 11th and healthcare hipsters on 65 weave even more wildly, texting all the way to Williamson County. Accident rates go up, and apartment building roofers actually clip their safety harnesses. The randomness of it is reflected by my own little dementia in the morning closet: boots with a t-shirt? A sweatshirt with a nylon jacket? Is “light sweater” an oxymoron? I had one, where is it? Oh, duh: I threw it out after ruining it with French roast.
I’m off the reservation. Perhaps my mind will settle in April. Meantime, maybe I should enjoy some hoops or go back and re-watch The Grand Budapest Hotel with Katie, catch all the Easter eggs I missed the first time. I’m one bounce pass from becoming The Mad Hatter and The March Hare at the same time. Garçon! Send more coffee, and help me stuff The Linen Napkin back into my collar. And bring a cannoli!