I may be an old lady who talks too much but before I die I mean to shake up you worshipers at the altar of Paris runways. Frumpy men don’t think like us.  They don’t try to make themselves look better than they really are. They don’t read GQ. They go to the store and buy three in blue and three in brown. The proper size is one size too big because it is more comfortable which makes it as good as bought. Labels go in the trash with the price tags because they rub here and there and make him itch. Any shirt’s top two buttons are vestigial like appendix or wisdom teeth. Ties? Don’t be ridiculous.

The end result of this perversity is that you can’t tell much about these men’s bodies unless you see one stark raving, down to the nubs naked. A prime bit of flesh can be camouflaged by those bunchy clothes and mismatched socks, even by nothing but a pair of baggy briefs in that “washed the coloreds with my whites” shade of pavement gray. 

He’s the one who wears a baseball cap to keep you from getting a measure on his testosterone levels.  Less hair on the head means more gas in the engine and, sadly too, there’s visa versa.

You might disregard one of this subspecies in the check-out line, get up and move if he sits beside you at a bar or in the movie theater or study desk. His droopy-drawer pleats and polo combinations inspire you to absently rub the lapels on your new St. Laurent. There you think, But for the grace of Avedon go I.

It just occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn’t expose this shy breed of sinew and thew. Varied shades of skin and sexuality are now commonly accepted and the world has managed to go on basically unchanged but I fear the social repercussions if all you fancy dressers learn that bad clothes are just as likely to hide a diamond as a doughboy. So I must take back everything that I’ve just said and shut up now.


Two Men” painted by Lucian Freud in 1987-88
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK