Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vanity Christmas Shopping, etc....

I went vanity Christmas shopping yesterday. This is where I tell myself that I'm shopping for the wife and family members, but end up gravitating toward the "mens" departments and stores and find myself vanity shopping for myself. Seeing that I don't really do a lot of shopping, and can count the times I enter a mall during the year on one hand, I tell myself it is appropriate, particularly when I've told my wife that I no longer what her to buy me any clothes.

In the past, I've allowed her to buy me clothes and she's done a great job for the most part, but she tends to buy on the "extra large" size. In the last year of so, I've been trimming down quite a bit. I've stayed at 165 lbs (and with my 6'-3" height, I'm pretty thin - but still needing to work on the lean and fit part). In the past, I've been embarrassed that I'm skinny (a major hold over from my teenage years where "skinny" translated to "weak, wimpy, and sissy.") So for decades, I wore over sized clothes, bulky sweaters etc. as a means to try to disguise my wimpy skinny body.

As I've been slowly embracing my gayness and self-expression, in a way to say that I'm "changing" and becoming more "self-affirming", I have gravitated in the last year or so to much more tight-fitting clothes, low-rise jeans, and now skinny-jeans. And I really like the "new me" that is emerging. I'm tired of hiding under layers of ill-fitting clothes.

I have loved my 30" waist low-rise bootleg jeans, and thought I should venture into the "skinny jean" world. After all, it appears that "skinny" is in and is the new cool and hip. Could I do it? Could I pull it off? At my age? Is it appropriate? Am I nuts?

I bought a pair of 30" skinny Levis and took them home without trying them on, but soon found out that the skinny cut of the jeans is tighter than I thought, so I had to take them back and upsize to a 32" waist in the skinny cut... And I love them! Is that vain? I figure it's about time that I became more self-affirming. Is this stupid or what?


Anyway, yesterday, I went to Macy's at the mall to buy my wife some clothing, and sure enough ended up in the Men's department looking at the "super skinny" jeans. I was proudly sporting my new "skinny" jeans, wondering what the "super skinny" jeans would feel like. As I was browsing, I noted out of the corner of my eye that there was a great-looking 20-something standing near another display of jeans. I caught him looking at me as I glanced his way. Our eyes locked! I didn't turn away. He smiled and I blushed a bit and smiled back.

I moved to the dress shirts, as I wanted to get some "fitted" shirts, tired of wearing dress shirts that swamp my gazelle-frame. A couple minutes later I noticed that he was looking at dress shirts as well. He was kneeling down sorting through some shirts near the floor while I was looking at the fitted shirts on a table. He looked up at me again and I looked at him and we locked and I smiled this time more readily. He was sporting tight jeans and a tight-fitting shirt and a scarf that looked hot. I had a scarf on too but unfortunately my shirt wasn't as nice-fitting as his (that's why I was seeking out the fitted shirts).

This was the second time. I was beginning to feel my heart beat faster. Was this really happening? I mean, this really doesn't happen much, if ever, to me. After all I'm an old fart... why would a 20-something be doing this to me?

I moved to another aisle of shirts and he stood up and stared right at me. I could feel his eyes burning through me and I was beginning to not know what to do next. So I looked up at him shyly and said "hey", and then slowly walked off. This was the third time! I didn't know what I was supposed to do... After a few paces, I turned around quickly to sneak a peak and he wasn't watching so I assumed that I had blown it and kept walking.


So there you have it. I bought some fitted shirts, some skinny jeans, and some tight sweaters... and I'm loving it. I'm ready to toss all my extra-large clothing out of my closet forever - both physically, but also symbolically.

And now I think I'm vain enough to actually believe that I was being checked out by a 20-something hot guy.

So you have my post of yesterday where I'm the cool-headed, omniscient, self-aware and got-my-head-on-straight kind of guy. And then the next day, you have me being vain, adolescent and juvenile, thinking a guy could actually be hitting on me.

I guess I've got a long way still to go. I don't have this gig figured out as well as I think I do...


Crisco said...

I'm on the same fashion journey. I've been replacing work shirts slowly with "fitted" shirts and have found the joy of shopping at H&M, which is geared towards skinny guys. I was at Macy's too yesterday and came home with a tight fitting sweater. It's so much better than the bulky clothes I used to wear, but then again I grew up in the 80s when bulky was kind of normal. I just know when my parents come visit for the holidays, I'll probably get an oversized shirt. I'm 5'11" and about 155 lbs, so size small works good for me.
I haven't caught on with the skinny jeans though. I tried on a pair at Old Navy last month and didn't care for the feel. I like how they look on other guys, but I like it loose down below. On the other hand, I have started buying strait front slacks instead of pleated fronts. They definitely make me look even thinner.

Bravone said...

Too funny! I was also at the mall last night, but looking in Victoria's Secret for PJs for my wife. I was a bit self-conscience, but some younger guys reassured me that carrying a two-toned pink bag through the mall was a right of passage. I must admit that none of the skanky women's clothes did much for me. Was kind of fun though.

Bror said...

Ah Beck, I bet you are hot no matter what you wear. I am a Levi kind of guy. My wife loves me in a pair of 501's. I am anything but skinny. I need to get rid of my snack pack before buying fitted anything.

Beck said...

CRISCO: I definitely need to check out H&M to find clothes geard toward the skinny guy! It's about time that the skinny guy gets its fair due. Three cheers for the skinny guys!

The feel of the skinny jeans does take some time to get used to, especially if you've been used to the looser fit, but after a while, they feel great! Give them a try!

Beck said...

BRAVONE: You are much braver than I am... though your name means "The good one", I think you're the "brave one" to even go into a Victoria's Secret store and come out buying something and living to tell about it! You are my hero!

BROR: I don't think I've been called "hot" before... I'm pretty average, but thanks for the compliment.

Rob said...

Duuuude! Good for you! You bloody well better enjoy every minute of adventures like this because it's what you've been putting off all your life! It's harmless, innocent, self-affirming fun so savor it!

When I started playing rugby I got really serious about fitness and dropped a bunch of weight, got back to my college waist size, and have kept it there ever since. I love shopping for skinny jeans, and the kids tell me over and over I look great in them. I threw out a lot of my own bulky stuff and suits that were too big, except for a few t-shirts for workouts. I can't believe I used to fill them up, it's embarrassing. I went from an XL to a M shirt, and six inches off the waistline. And believe it or not, I've had a few mutual checking out sessions too.

So enjoy it! Savor it! It's all part of the fun of being an increasingly confident and secure gay guy. Consider it a reward for all the angst you've waded through.

Beck said...

ROB said: "... consider it a reward for all the angst you've waded through..."

In a real sense, I feel positive about this - A LOT! I have had huge body-image issues all my life and have gone through serious self-hatred bouts with my skinny frame. I hated my body and have had decades of loathing myself as I look in the mirror.

I've told myself that I was weak and ugly and never good enough. I was never the jock and could never put on muscle. I was a stick (and still am) and I saw myself as worthless.

This started way back in elementary school and magnified 100-fold as I entered 7th grade gym class!

In one sense I say it is about time that I stop hating myself for being in this body of mine. And this is my way of "coming out", not only for my self-affirmation of my sexuality and personal expression, but also for abandoning the self-loathing of my body.

I'm proud to be at my college waist size. I'm not proud that I'm sill weak, and I've got lots to work on to build some tone to this gazelle frame of mine, but I'm going to do it, and I'm not too old, and maybe I'm not all that ugly either (he did stare me down three times after all!!!)

Yet (and there is always a Beck "yet" of internal debate) I can't help but feel self-obsorbed a bit, even vain. Is this vanity to want to look more stylish and fashionable and maybe even more daring for someone my age? Is it wrong to want to look good, and to take pride for once in being skinny?

Okay, enough deviation into the angst world of my brain... to hell with everyone! I'm going to throw out my XLs and move to the Ms as I remodel my closet! So move over - self-loathing Beck. I'm tired of you dominating the show! A more confident self-affirming Beck is coming out!

Thanks for your encouragement Rob! And way to go on your XL-to-M move as well!

Ned said...

I'm glad you said "Hey" to the fellow, but next time, and there will be a next time, I'd encourage you to talk with him. You can tell so much from what drops out when a person opens their mouth.

As to what to say. Here a few things that come to mind:

You look like a friend of mine, but he died of AIDS years ago. My name's Beck, and you?

Have you bought any skinny jeans lately? I'm still new to this. Any recommendations?

I bet you have great taste in clothes. Which do you like better, this or this?

Beck said...

NED: I love your suggestions. I just wish I could replay the whole scene and engage my brain when my heart is pounding and all I could muster is "hey".

I hope there is a next time. It just caught me off guard. I will try to be more prepared, but not to get my hopes up too high for fear that it won't happen again.

Do you really think it will happen again?

Ned said...

Yes, because if you're open to it, you will give subtle cues to those around you that you're approachable and they'll approach you. You already have a refined sense of this for hugging and touch. You've just got to extend it out a little bit to the verbal and non-verbal world. Imagine that you're greeting people at church, some that you don't know, I think it is that sort of spirit that invites people to engage in talking.

Beck said...

NED: I will take your challenge to be more verbal with others in a similar situation as I found myself in Macy's and will use this as my first resolution for the New Year.

Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. Maybe there will be more "checking out" experiences on the horizon. One can only dream, right?