What, me, worry? The case for asking style questions
Let's all get in the trust tree
Don’t be afraid to ask style questions.
I dare you to find a female comedian (comedienne?) from the ’90s whose act did not include a bit about how “men hate asking for directions.” She doesn’t exist, I’m telling you. Usually the trite observation was followed up by a red-polished manicured hand placed on a jaunty hip and maybe an exaggerated eye roll. “Amirite ladies?” she’d ask to raucous hoots, hollers and agreeable applause.
Today, thanks to the wonders of GPS, this complaint has been rendered largely obsolete, archived in late-night Comedy Central stand-up reruns.
But the notion that guys would rather wander around in a state of confusion than be exposed as lost souls in need of direction remains relevant in a post-TomTom world. Nowhere is this dilemma more apparent than a man’s wardrobe.
If the car trip cliche is out of date now thanks to global positioning and a “You are here” dot marking the map on every phone, the tendency to suffer in silence instead of asking for directions lives on – in the form of style questions left unspoken.
Despite the “Boys can play with dolls and girls can play with trucks” mentality our generation was raised with, there’s still a blurry line around who gets to play with fashion, and that line is decidedly pink.
Men are supposed to have a compass embedded in their brains, while women are supposed to be able to mix and match prints without turning their outfit into a Magic Eye picture. In the face of these divisions (which, thankfully, continue to erode as the years pass), a guy’s wardrobe becomes a casualty of his silence.
The fear of speaking up appears to be two-fold: fear of ruining the “I know where I’m going” confidence men hope to project, and, conversely, concern that speaking up about style will make him sound like he cares too much about how he looks.
Whatever the nature and/or nurture tendencies drive it, the reluctance to ask style questions is a habit I hope is on the way out.
Just as our mothers (older sisters maybe?) would have preferred you simply stop at a gas station to ask how to get back to the highway, now we’d be happy for you to ask us for style directions. I guarantee your significant other would be delighted – yes, delighted – if you asked her what a mock turtleneck was. Or what colors “cerulean” might go with. Or if you look good in those jeans. (Spoiler alert: she’ll probably say yes, and you’ll feel like a million bucks).
So I say, go ahead and just ask! Ask a salesperson, ask your girlfriend, ask your mother, or, hey, ask me! We won’t judge you. Because we want you to get where you’re going – in style – too.