No Class









On My Absolute Lack of Taste, Class, or Anything Resembling Style

Mark Driver

I really should do something about my appearance. I realized this earlier today as I got breakfast at a diner near my house. The waitress smiled and poured a cup of coffee without me having to ask for it. Nice enough. Then she leaned in close to me and said, "you can sit here for as long as you want, I'll keep bringing you coffee." That seemed a bit odd. Had she been under the age of 90, I would have assumed she was hitting on me, but there was something uncomfortably maternal about this waitress. When I tried to order eggs and biscuits she paused for as second and asked, "do you have the money to pay for it?" Her world suddenly came into blinding focus for me, I was some sort of homeless runaway, seeking a brief respite from the mean streets in a neighborhood greasy spoon, free to drink nice warm coffee until my insides turn black and dissolve. I actually had to show her a $5 bill before she'd put the order in. I really must be putting off some strange vibes.

I can't really put my finger on where I went wrong, but I do have some suspicions. I think I stopped trying around the age of 15. My hair was shaggy, I wore Black Flag T-shirts, religiously abused low-top black Vans with the white stripe, and I shaved my fuzzless face about once every two weeks. This got me through high school, my college stint, and various cities just fine. But now, I'm 25 and I couldn't get dressed up if I wanted to. I'm a fashion cripple. Besides my impressive collection of camouflage and my seven Cleveland Browns shirts, my wardrobe doesn't amount to much more than a pile of oil stained T-shirts, a few wifebeaters, eight pairs of flannel underwear, a black hooded sweatshirt, a pair of khakis, and a pair of torn jeans. It's not that I couldn't afford to go out and get some new duds, it's just that I never really think of it. It doesn't enter my mind.

Another possible reason for my lack of style could be my favorite kind of relationship - the long distance relationship. Under what other circumstances could you have a girlfriend and wear the same pants for nine days straight? Under what other circumstances could you maintain a tight emotional bond and still spend your weekends naked, drinking Jim Beam from the bottle on the couch, playing Nintendo and listening to Oi records while eating sauerkraut and raw potatoes? Sure, if you had a cool girlfriend you might get away with one of those every so often, but you'd be hard pressed to make a habit out of it. Yes sirree, with a long distance relationship, all your loving passion is saved for those motel weekends where you try to fit in as much screwing before your plane takes off, and no one really notices any personal decline on your part. Even now with my live-in girlfriend, I get cut a lot of slack because hey, she's seen me puke on myself while wearing a dress. Use that as your bottom level and you can go nowhere but up. Plus, she works 80 hour weeks, so any time she sees me is late at night. She assumes that I've changed into 'comfort clothes' since getting home from work. Baby, I woke up in these clothes.

I don't really know if things can get any better though. It's not that I'm avoiding anything, it's just a rare morning when I wake up and say, "Driver, we're buying you some nice pants today." Haircut appointments rarely get made by themselves, and when they do happen, they're usually nothing more than borrowing a friend's electric razor. But fuck it, my bills get paid, I buy food, I can get my car fixed, I don't really see the need to change. Sure I still get carded for 'R' movies. Sure I still get harassed in Nevada casinos. Sure I don't get quite the service that some moussed dipshit in a golf shirt gets, but I can live with that. That's my trade off for being able to go to sleep in the clothes I'll be wearing the next day so I can set my alarm for two minutes before I have to leave my apartment. I suppose the only thing that might make me change one day is the fear of being That One Guy. You know, the 50-year-old dude that drips with a teenage vibe, who hangs out at college parties and talks about how inspirational Radiohead (or whatever semi-hip corporate band was cool six months previously) is. The only person who really gives me hope for getting older (besides my boss, who doesn't need to get his head any bigger) is Keith Morris, who I see all over the place around this city. He's getting old in a way I can respect. Sure, you might say he's getting a little haggard, but you don't have anything on him; you didn't sing for the Circle Jerks.

Regardless, I suppose I'll have to eventually overhaul my entire wardrobe and start getting ready to be a senior citizen, but I don't really understand how that's going to happen. I have many questions concerning the leisurewear of our golden agers. Have people over the age of 65 suffered from poor taste all their lives, or do biochemical changes in the aging body make one more prone to wearing yellow pants? Is it like dying taste buds that need more salt that suddenly terrycloth seems like a great material for shirts? Not that all senior citizens are poor dressers, there's plenty of salty dogs who have the good sense to keep their clothing in line with common Earth standards. But for the most part, any respect I would have for my elderly elders is usually tempered by the trousers pulled up past their nipples. Maybe they're like me, and just haven't found the time to update their wardrobes in the last few decades. I suppose that would place their last significant clothing purchases around 1975, a poor fashion year by anyone's standards. But maybe when I'm old, what looks perfectly normal to me will fuel laughter and ridicule within the throngs of teens threatening my existence as I politely shop the Space Mall for a new liver. Maybe when I'm old, the urge to don cotton pastels will overtake me like incontinence as I watch Wheel of Fortune from my Ft. Lauderdale retirement compound. I think the government mails you those stupid slippers with your first Social Security check as well. But I guess by that point, you don't really give a shit about impressing anyone, you just put on what's comfortable and force everyone to deal with it. Great attitude for 70, questionable at 25.

Sudden Death Publications (c) 2003