The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Classic Style Tuesday: An Addendum to the Difference Debate. . .

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.

--  Heinz-Ulrich

3 comments:

OldSchool said...

In spite of my failing eyesight, I can clearly make out Laurence Fellows' (not Follows' or Saalburg's) signature on the illustration. Knowing that you are a stickler for details, I hope you won't find my spelling correction out of place.

guy said...

We are in the middle of a general election in the UK at the moment and although I'm pretty interested in politics, I do not as a matter of course discuss politics with work colleagues, client's etc as frankly most people here consider politicians in general one of the lowest forms of life going. Still, yesterday morning having just collected the firm's mail first thing from the main post office (necessary if not the posties don't deliver it until about lunch) I get ambushed by the local BBC radio station presenters who were doing a live street broadcast about the election from my town.

Now by way of back ground, the parliamentary seat here is one of the safest seats in the whole country so you could stick a blue rosette on a sack of potatoes and they would still get voted in. The result is fairly high levels of apathy. The reason I am dragged into this street discussion is certainly not to hear any views I have but I am walking past in a suit, polished shoes, pink checked shirt and a decent tie. The lady presenter really is more interested in complimenting me (v nice of her to do so) but also to berate her male co-presenter for dressing so badly. This wasn't helped by me observing that in days gone by the BBC radio presenter would wear a dinner jacket when reading the news.

Needless to say after about 20 seconds the interview was cut short! Back to obscurity.

Regards,
Guy

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Yep, that about nails, it. People who dress well have been, for various reasons, relegated to the sidelines. It's all about pandering to/accommodating the masses, the average, the middle, the commonplace, the mean. Oh, wait! That smacks of classism. How terrible of me. There will be a stoning of yours truly today at precisely Noon on the quad ala Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich