Friday, March 10, 2006

FOR THE RECORD, I tried the flat-front pants. I know, I know, that's what we guys are supposed to be wearing nowadays, despite GQ's previous proclamations that pleats are so much more fashionable and flattering. Flat-fronts would have looked fine on me in my bantamweight days, but, well, now they induce a serious case of Grandpa Lap. Huge, vast, uninterrupted Grandpa Lap. Not nice. In general I'm pretty sanguine about the cyclical nature of fashion -- the narrow lapels and ties and then the medium lapels and ties and then the wide lapels and ties and the the medium lapels and ties and then the narrow lapels and ties again, lather, rinse, repeat -- but yesterday in the fitting room I couldn't help but liken the whole thing to the idea that truth-serum-level honesty was THE ONLY DEFENSIBLE CHOICE in the Clinton White House while being DANGEROUS TO ALL THINGS AMERICAN in the Bush White House. Or vice versa.

So, um, I'm sticking with my pleats. The whole pants-shopping thing, by the way, was an outgrowth of some shirt shopping. Now that I have some wrinkle-resistant, no-iron shirts -- among the greatest inventions ever -- I had to see whether the thusly labeled trousers were just as worthwile. We'll see. In the meantime, try the shirts. Lands' End, despite the mixed review in the Wall Street Journal.

The other thing I realized in the fitting room -- and it's not exactly unrelated -- is that I'm Old. The Macy's (Macy's!) in very, very suburban Arlington, Va., was playing this music. I don't even know the genres anymore, so I can't tell you whether it was "house" or "trance" or "electronica" or "House, M.D.," but it was a girl repeating some vaguely foreign-language-sounding four or five syllables over and over and over and over and over and over again. It was not nice. Then again, I'm the guy who's complaining to the Safeway (Safeway!) manager about the way-too-loud alt/rap/reggae station the very, very suburban Arlington, Va., store chooses to pipe in.

Among the evil chain stores, however, the worst for piped-in music is Sports Authority. The choices aren't as bizarre as the very, very suburban Macy's and Safeway's locations a few miles north, but the insipid crap is so damn loud that you'd have to conclude the motive was to drive customers out of the store, not make them linger and spend.

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