that my eldest and middle daughters are off at college dashing my
prospects for retirement, and my youngest daughter has started navigating
the pubescent challenges of high school, I can turn to more important
Yes, we've reached the time of year when, to the relief of my friends
and family, I'm back to wearing trousers on a semi-regular basis.
And since I hadn't updated my professional wardrobe since the second
Bush administration, I recently decided to throw caution (and several
pair of worn-out pleated slacks with expandable waistband) to the
wind and start over.
Unfortunately for a dude who is steadily losing the dad-bod battle,
though, seemingly every men's fashion designer now feels compelled
to trigger me by advertising their garments as "slim fitting." I haven't
squeezed my girth into anything described as "slim" since I was five
years old with a Kool-Aid mustache and wearing Toughskins jeans from
Fortunately for me, when I was scrolling through Facebook looking
at back-to-school pics of teenagers wishing their parents would leave
them alone, I came across a well-placed ad for men's pants that seemed
to read my mind (or detect my search history after I had previously
spent an hour googling, "pants that will make me look cooler than
These pants hilariously promise to be "butt molding" (whatever that
means) and provide plenty of "breathing space" for other regions thanks
to a "diamond-shaped gusset." They also claim to repel stains, stretch
without bagging with "new-age fabric," somehow keep me from stinking
due to drying technology and, most importantly, boost my confidence.
(Did I mention the butt molding?)
"So, what is this dark magic?" I wondered. "Are these pants for real,
or is this another disappointing marketing ploy for a second-rate
product-like Sea-Monkeys. (I mean, the females don't even wear lipstick
like in the picture.)"
Determined to suppress my skepticism, I reached for one of my beleaguered
credit cards and ordered a pair. They weren't cheap, but how could
I pass up the opportunity for what the advertising called a "cheeky
upgrade" to my wardrobe that would also "prevent bulging"?
I'm happy to say that the pants fit perfectly and looked decent, so
I ordered three more pair. I can't vouch for the enhancements to my
caboose since I can't see back there, but I figure it couldn't look
To complete the ensemble, I found some stretchy button-up shirts on
summer clearance that are meant to be worn untucked and are described
by the designer as "timeless and elegantfor the modern man."
The modern man isn't named, but I'm guessing he spends a lot less
time eating chips and salsa than I do.
What I like most about these shirts, other than their heavily discounted
price, is that the tighter sleeves offer the illusion of actual muscles,
and the body of the shirt disguises the fact that my abdomen resembles
a misshapen Bartlett pear.
On my first day back to work after our summer vacation, my sweet wife
told me I looked "good," which is probably her way of saying that
I don't look quite as much like a bloated thrift-store mannequin.
My youngest daughter just peered suspiciously over the top of her
glasses and remained silentthankfully.
I must admit that my fresh wardrobe has made me feel better physically
and emotionally. And if you ever find yourself walking behind me,
I apologize in advance for any distractions caused by the "butt molding."