Another great old illustration by Laurence Fellows [Thank you, Old School].
You know? I've thought about this a lot the last few days, time permitting. In the end, and after all of that unpleasantness, I still maintain that appearance and conduct are far more important than many (maybe most in 2015) either understand, or admit to themselves. Both are often indicative of other personal traits, habits, and predilections. Not always, maybe, but often enough. That is not to say that a scintillating personality and a good heart can't make up for otherwise serious shortcomings, but (like attire by itself) personality and a good heart only take one so far and are just parts of the overall package and presentation.
Ideally, it's best not to ignore one facet at the expense of another. To my mind, a person ought to strive for a polished appearance and demeanor, a firm grasp on his social skills (and that might mean learning and/or brushing up on all of this for some guys), and genuine ability that rises above the commonplace in whatever one's particular vocation might be. Not enough people realize, or manage to achieve, this delicate balance due to various factors. While some of these things might be beyond their control, many definitely ARE possible for a person to take control of and change for the better. . . especially where appearance and conduct are concerned. For average guys who want to kick up their everyday style several notches from where it is currently, personal awareness and agency are vital components. Without them, you just fester in your own literal or figurative swill.
Now, I am genuinely interested in what people think generally and in differing points of view as long as we keep them clean and civil. Don't anyone interpret that as anything else, please. I don't want to be forced into turning off the comment function here. That said, as a Chicago-area model soldier friend, who also blogs, mentioned several years ago in a similar situation on his blog (if memory serves), "My blog, my rules."
The views expressed here at Classic Style or the Average Guy are not and will not be to everyone's tastes, and that's fine. I am completely comfortable with that. Just like I am aware of and at ease with the realization that I personally am not everyone's cup of tea. I have been aware of that fact of life since my own long-haired rocker days, during which many, many people, those who did not know me personally, interpreted my appearance as trouble of one kind or another. So, I have insight into both sides of the debate.
That said, I refuse to be browbeaten into feeling embarrassed about anything, or drawn into admitting culpability for sharing my views and reasonably well informed opinions simply because someone might disagree with them. . . or simply refuses to acknowledge the problem that too many average guys exhibit with their appearance and behavior. Most of my ideas expressed here are thoughtful, perhaps even pretty well reasoned in a few instances, and they are certainly based on lengthy experience and observation of humanity on a broad front and in closer personal interaction, and, by god, I'm going to make some value judgements based on the unconscious signals sent by people who usually aren't clued into what they're doing.
Are many of my posts direct and to the point without any waffling? Sure. Strident? Heck yeah. Harsh at times? Damn right. Brutally honest at others? Right again. Possibly very uncomfortable reading? You betcha as they say in Minnesota. The tagline at the top of Classic Style for the Average Guy says it all, and, frankly, there are an awful lot of guys around who need to hear the plain truth about how they come across based on the message their clothing and behavior send. I'd stake money on the fact that, among the legions of people out there who are unhappy (if we can believe what we read occasionally in news and current affairs magazines), on antidepressants, yet can't quite figure out how to get their ducks all in a row, that much of their discontent comes from issues that could be helped somewhat through improved grooming, dress, and more polished social skills. There is a reason why you should always put your best foot forward. Maybe lots of men don't need a suit, neckties, and two pairs of high quality leather dress shoes in 2015, but for Christ's sake, get the plugs out of your earlobes and the ring out of your nose, ya freak!
Honestly, though, my feeling is that the people who need the advice presented in this blog the most are probably not reading it anyway and, instead, are looking at online pornography, playing online games, getting high, perpetrating some kind of crime somewhere, or impregnating someone of the female persuasion by accident or design. But hey, that's as worthy of emulation and just as valid as, say, shouldering lots of student debt by attending a university, taking on a 30-year mortgage, trying to keep a two-career marriage on track, and holding down some kind of 40+ hour a week job, right? It's ALL good.
I'll close the door on this particular discussion and its various threads like this. The idea of not judging a book by its cover is nice and rosy in theory, but reality is often very different. We all judge in one way or another, and while sometimes we are incorrect with our assumptions, frequently, that initial judgement turns out to be bang spot on the money. Is it nice? No. Realistic and accurate? Not always. But to be perfectly frank, there are also plenty of occasions when appearance tells you all you need to know about someone else, and there is no point in initiating or pursuing further contact. That's just how it is sometimes. Thanks, but I'll sit somewhere else if you don't mind.
My own mother, who was exceedingly tolerant of my teenage and 20-something blue collar rocker phase, once observed to me about 25 years ago, before I decided to get with the program, "You know? If you grow up a little and neaten up your appearance, you'll find that your life will turn around in ways you don't expect." She was correct. That alone ought to make the point right there for anyone who still doesn't get it.
I'm not coming back to this point again (promise) and will not address or publish comments that try to keep it going by fanning the flame. Let's move on, everyone.