Something tells me ol' Ward Cleaver ( Wally and Beaver's TV dad, played by the late Hugh Beaumont) wouldn't have shown up for a high school graduation, or any other special occasion for that matter, dressed in jeans and a wrinkled, untucked shirt.
It's graduation season once again here in the United States with many families celebrating the end of high school, or college for some pampered and very probably entitled young person about to be catapulted, kicking and screaming, into adulthood. Many are sharing photographs of these happy events via social media. Fine and dandy. But there is a problem.
What, you ask? Well, for special occasions, you would think that Dad, or the male care-giver in the picture, could be bothered to dress a little better than ratty jeans and some untucked, wrinkled shirt with a cheap windbreaker on top. Especially when the graduate, Mom, and possibly others in the photographs are clearly dressed. What? It's too much trouble to show a little respect and consideration to others and for the special day or event around which a family gathers? Aren't people even embarrassed by stuff like this anymore? Oh, right. We no longer want people to feel shame about anything.
Listen. What a 40- or 50-something manchild in the 21st century really says to everyone when he turns up looking like this is that the event and the person, or people on whom it focuses are no more worthy of his time and effort than, for example, adding a quart of oil to the car, raking up the leaves, cutting the grass, or cleaning out the garage on a Saturday morning. Ratty jeans and a wrinkled, untucked shirt are fine for those kinds of manual activities. They are NOT acceptable attire for attending someone's graduation, or the peripheral family gatherings that often follow. Got it?
Even if you don't want to don a suit and necktie, or (shudder) you don't own a suit for special occasions like this, tuck in your shirt, put on a casual belt (canvas and cotton surcingle models, like those sold by Orvis, O'Connell's, or Leather Man Ltd., are ideal), and toss on a blazer or sports jacket. Every guy should have at least one on a hanger in his closet. . . even in our slovenly age. After all, it's not going to kill you to look appropriate for a few hours, is it? Add a pair of more casual leather shoes like some classic penny loafers, or what we used to call desert boots way back in the early 1970s (now referred to Chukka boots), and you'll look a damn sight better than all of the other schlubby fathers out there whose photographs clog social media at this time each spring.
Come on. Let's at least try to look like we have an ounce of sense and sophistication when special occasions like these roll around a few times a year (graduations, holidays, dinners out with your spouse, partner, or that special someone, etc.). It's not that hard, guys. Really.
I'll conclude today's post, as I did in a previous post a year or two ago, by channeling the old children's magazine Highlights and pose the following question to my readers. Do you want to be Goofus, or Gallant? If you make the RIGHT choice and opt for the latter, start by tucking in your #$%& shirt!
This has been a public service announcement brought to you by Classic Style.