Yesterday, I went to my estranged cousin’s wedding. Due to my parents, we were late and ended up missing the actual marriage ceremony, something I deeply wanted to be present for. Instead, we made itjust for the food and left shortly thereafter. Quite rude if you ask me.
Anyway, as we all know, I am very big on being respectfully presentable. A wedding is one of the few times where everyone should really ought to be looking their absolute best. It is a fine occasion to celebrate not only the most beautiful union of two people, but also beautiful fashion.
My original plan was to wear my white pinpoint oxford shirt with brushed aluminum cufflinks, a crimson red tie in a half-Windsor knot around my neck, and a matching red pocket square, all tied together with a waistcoat of course. I reconsidered though, thinking that that particular look was a little too severe and unwelcoming.
I tried a different combination. Instead of a white shirt, I tried a pale blue one. The shirt is a Stafford custom shirt, made-to-measure by my own measurements and ordered online at JCPenney – ordered before my joyful discovery of bespoke clothing. With a standard collar and a single button cuff, it was rather boring and, in my eyes, a substandard shirt. Alas, it was is the only pale blue shirt I own.I decided to wear the shirt with the top button undone (the collar one). Of course, considering that I was going to a wedding, a tie was in order. I selected a skinny tie and tied a four-in-hand knot and looked in the mirror.
It was a fresh new look for me. The skinny tie – in combination with the loosened collar – imparted a much more casual feel, a far more approachable look. To complement this notion of sprezzatura, I mussed up my hair. I added texture and depth where my hair was once tightly slicked back, purposefully and carefully meddling with the solemnity of the straight dark lines that defined my hair. The final touches involved unbuttoning the last button on the cuff of my jacket and leaving the jacket itself unbuttoned. A crisply ironed white cotton pocket square folded flat pulled the whole outfit together.
Clearly, I put a decent amount of thought into my appearance. I arrived at the wedding reception in South Beach, Staten Island, expecting to see people who were dressed respectably, if not fashionably. I was, as fate would dictate, sorely disappointed.
Arriving at the wedding, I felt a little embarrassed that I was more well dressed than every single man I saw (even with my substandard shirt). There were lots of three-button suits with the last button buttoned; baggy shirts and pants that were too long; poor color matching choices (rose pink with dark khaki?) and dirty shoes; some folks didn’t even wear a jacket. The women were far more fashionable, but even amongst the ladies there were questionable outfits. One young lady had a skin tight dress thatwasmuch too short to be ever called modest. It was mostly white, with solid bands of aqua blue and seafoam green. I felt embarrassed for her that I could see the outlines of her underwear through the sheer dress. Another woman was wearing a flower-print dress, also too tight: her wobbly bits wobbled quite happily with every step she took.
It never made sense to me that people would show up at a wedding wearing anything but their absolute best. I am not being immodest when I say that I was the most well-dressed person in the room. I’ve said this time and time again, but it’s not the cost of the suits that bother me, but its execution. My cheap $200 Calvin Klein suit purchased off the rack at Macy’s drew compliments because of the way that I wore it. And if I can do it, so can anybody else; it’s not like I read lots of fashion magazines or have a degree in fashion design. If there is one time and place that one should put forth their best effort in looking their best, it would be at a wedding. Regardless of the pedigree of one’s clothing, effort is easily discerned, and it is a sad day when I saw not one man who rivaled my attention to the details of my outfit.
I suppose my sense of fashion would pay off more if I were more outgoing. I caught the attention of a fair number of people, from the not-so-discrete stare of a quiet man sitting alone at a table to the sidelong glances of several women flitting around. It seems paradoxical that I “dress to impress” – really, I just dress for myself – yet my behaviors tend towards that of invisibility.
In any case, anybody who knows me would probably expect that going to a wedding would do quite a number on my psychology. Without getting into all the details (nobody is interested in reading what is essentially self-indulgent bitching), I essentially proceeded to have a full-on case of decompensation when I returned home. As the night wore on, I started watching a bunch of movies, and I somehow, each and every one of them had something to do with something I was trying to avoid. I felt an odd numbness…I was unable to feel anything but the suffocating emptiness of limbo. Unable to find any catharsis, I laid in my bed, watching offbeat movie after offbeat movie until I drifted off to sleep in the wee hours of the morning.
Dr. Naehring might say that I have very poor defense mechanisms. Or maybe it’s just that they’ve been worn down. I feel fine now, as I write this, but I suspect that something awful is going on in my mind. I suppose it’s all for the better…it’ll provide me with a source of inspiration for my novel. But continuing my writing necessitates that I step far back enough from my own situation to be able to transform it from one single individual’s experience to a transcendent literary form. As Marcus from Bad Santa would say, “You need many years of therapy. Many, many fucking years of therapy.”