What’s Wrong with Handsome?!

March 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

So I have this friend. He’s very pretty. Like, his skin was made by elves and his hair spun out of rose-gold by fairies.

No, not that kind of fairy.


Except…well, okay, that works too.

My point is that this friend has been genetically blessed when it comes to his physical appearance. He has those ice blue eyes that are so piercing they kind of scare you, and his strawberry blonde (though more strawberry than blonde) hair is so silky and perfect that I’ve talked with a number of friends about it, and we have all admitted to sometimes getting distracted just staring at his hair, seeing the light glance off it, watching him run his hands through it — see, I’ve wandered off into a daydream just thinking about his hair.

And this isn’t just a “break me off a piece of that” kind of situation. A straight guy recently made an envious comment regarding this hair, which was basically like, “How is that possible? Come on!

And yet recently, my pretty friend has been letting his hair grow too long. Whereas he once had that slightly shaggy “I’m an artist!” haircut, he let the bangs grow until he had to sweep them awkwardly to the side in The Zac Efron:

I know, Zac Efron, squeal!, or whatever, but seriously people, this is not how you want your hair to look.

I'm actually frightened by how much my friend's hair looks like this. This may be a picture of him wearing a Zac Efron mask.

At times, loathe though I am to speak of them, his hair even approached The Justin Bieber:

Even The Biebs has since realized the error of his hairstyling ways, and I don’t think “Justin Bieber!” when I think “someone who makes great fashion choices.”

I’m sure you can imagine, given the mental picture I’ve painted for you, why I recently commented (nicely! casually!) to said friend that his hair was getting really long and asked if he was planning on cutting it (he’s the kind of person I can see going off into the woods on a “spiritual quest” for the weekend and then turning up three months later, not realizing how much time has gone by and surprised people have been worried about him, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d just forgot to cut his hair).

But, horror of horrors — he told me he was growing his hair out! To waist-length! On purpose!!! And that he was always going to wear it down because he doesn’t like when men wear ponytails!

I remember that I excused myself from the room to go vomit, but I must have actually stayed, since he then revealed to me that he’s had long hair before and that, in fact, he used to have dreadlocks! He took his straight, shiny, magicked-into-existence-by–woodland-fairies hair and made it into a dirty mass of wtf are you doing, white boy? 

At one point when he had dreadlocks, he also had a bushy beard, and when he saw his mother for the first time with these new style choices, she took one look at him and burst into tears. True story. (Also, he said that he no longer grows beards because the beard splits in the middle of his chin and gathers into two points. May I quote Joey Tribbiani when I say, “That goatee makes you look like Satan.”)

Now, my friend has no reason to give a flying #&$% what I think of his hairstyle, me or anyone else — although we are the ones who have to look at him all the time — but his desire to go from “Hellooooo there” to “I think that guy is going to try to steal my purse!” got me thinking: what is it that makes really handsome guys work to uglify all their natural pretty?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately since it’s been awards season, and despite the fact that the Oscars are better than Lunesta at combating insomnia, I somehow watched all of it. And all of the Golden Globes. And I think I watched part of the Emmys? Although I avoided the Grammys like the plague because I hate that shit — also, I want Chris Brown to crawl under a rock and die.

The point is, I watch these shows partly out of masochism (who doesn’t love watching mediocre art beating out good art for the title of “year’s best”!) and partly out of my love for fashion. I watch for the dresses, and the hairstyles, and the jewelry, and the shoes, and oh yeah, the suits and other men-type-things.

Unless you’re Ryan Gosling in that olive green suit from the Ides of March premier, or Darren Criss in that cranberry slim-cut, or any other sexy man in a suit that I want to pour into my glass and drink, mostly men at the Oscars (etc.) succeed through understatement, i.e. by simply not doing anything wrong.

The other night I ordered an olive in my martini, but he did not come with it.

Ditto every Cosmo or vodka cranberry I've ever had.

If you’re a man at the Oscars (etc.) and I don’t remember what you were wearing the next day, that’s probably a good sign — not an incredible sign, you didn’t wow me, but still, high five for you — a sign that you wore a black tuxedo that fit you well enough, rather than putting on something too crazy.

Since menswear excellence is often based around less-is-more (or around Tom Ford — everything that man makes is stunning), it’s other parts of male stars’ appearance that stand out to me. Lately, it’s their panic to cover up handsome.

And why? What, pray tell, is wrong with handsome? I’m a huge fan of handsome! Why are you taking the handsome away from me?!

If the media is going to push unrealistic beauty expectations on us at every waking moment, I might as well have some pretty men to show for it!

The Oscar Man Fug that had one of my best friends texting me in horror occurred on the face of one of my all-time favorite pretty, pretty men: Bradley Cooper.

Baby, WHY?! Let’s hope and pray this was for a movie. And we know it’s not actually for the role of Satan because that 3-D Paradise Lost flick got cancelled, thanks be to all that is good and holy.

Others, however, can’t so easily hide behind the “It’s for a role!” defense. Take, for example, Ashton Kutcher, who’s role on Three and a Half Men recently led to his being forced to fix his horrifying face. And by that I mean cut his hair and evict the rodents living on his chin.

Hey there! Sorry about destroying your ability to see! #lolz #megadouche

Now, while Ashton Kutcher is majorly not my type (and by that I mean that he is astonishingly accomplished in the art of douchebaggery), he does actually have a pretty face. You know, when he allows it to go outside.

I'm actually surprisingly cute, right?

That look is okay. The guess-how-long-it’s-been-since-I-showered! look? Not so much…

No high-fives for you. Go get the electric razor.

Christian Bale is another one that I’ve been having trouble with for a while. Look, I know that he’s a very good-looking man. I’ve seen Batman Begins. I’ve seen The Dark Knight. I’ve seen 3:10 to Yuma, and The Prestige, and Public Enemies. I even saw Terminator: Salvation, though I can’t imagine why. I’ve seen Newsies. I’ve even seen Pocahontas, and in Pocahontas he’s sexy as a cartoon!! And yet, when I see him at any public event lately, I can only think, “What did I see in this guy, again?”

Seriously, what did I see in him? Oh right, that’s what:


The movie-star-on-his-off-time-skipping-a-shave-or-two is a pretty common occurrence in tabloid photos/in actors’ actual lives, and that makes total sense to me: if it’s your job to look perfect every moment, I can see why you’d trash the razor and eat entire pizzas given the chance. However, I think this should stop at a point.

Yes, sometimes when I’m working on a paper (graduate school = now I’m a perma-student), I don’t leave my house for four days and I don’t shower or put on makeup or wear anything aside from pajamas or sweatpants, and my bangs are all twisted on top of my head and I get that twitch in my eye…but the point is that after I finish the paper (or happen to look in a mirror), I take a shower and put on some real clothes. Also, though I do frequently grocery shop after I go to the gym and thus venture into public with no makeup, a red face, and sweaty, sweaty hair, I usually don’t want to punish strangers for having to look at me.

And I think, given these recent photos, that Shia LaBeouf has reached the “punishing strangers who have eyes” stage.

via The Daily Mail

If I hadn’t been prompted by the headline to know that this was Shia LaBeouf and you’d asked me who this was a picture of, I’d have replied, “Some homeless guy,” or “A hipster.”

Shia’s not in the upper echelons of “Bring the smelling salts! She’s fainted!” handsome, but he is definitely not bad-looking, and he has this strangely sexy vibe that I’ve never been able to pin down. And if you can look like that bum/painter above or like this:

…guess which look I think you should pick.

Plus, my best friend K has run into him in Burbank and apparently he’s super chill and a great sport, and he dated Carey Mulligan for several years whom, if you read the site regularly you’ll know I totally adore, so I’ll continue like Shia — or as we’ll soon be calling him Shi-Yeti.

But while Shia LaBeouf is a young guy who seems like a bit of a wild card, some of the other “Keep the handsome away from me!! The power of fame compels you!!!” menfolk are less young and far more handsome.

Brad Pitt is potentially the worst offender of all, in that he been hiding his handsome behind bad haircuts and bad facial hair for years, and also because he has the most handsome to hide.

So close, and yet...

I despise his hair. Despite the fact that he probably has a stylist following him around his house adjusting his hair/clothes, Pitt’s long hair always manages to look like it hasn’t been washed in a few days.

And don’t tell Angie (or the tabloids), but I’d suggest that in the above picture (his official 2012 Oscars nominee portrait), he looks like he’s channeling ex Jennifer Aniston during her early Friends years. 

Short in the front, long in the back for no reason? Yep, it’s The Rachel, only without the proper styling — Brad forgot to add the mouse and blow-dry the top with a large round brush! Shame on you, Brad…

Also, that goatee has got to go. My favorite photo from the 2012 Oscars red carpet is the following one, because Brad’s facial expression is admitting what Brad himself refuses to admit: that facial hair is heinous.

"Please! Get it off me!" - Brad's face

We know you’re not 25 anymore, Brad, and that’s okay! We know you won’t look like you did in Thelma and Louise,  but you can still look like this:

Or like this:

Don’t let Angelina’s perma-perfect alien-skin get you feeling down about your wrinkles — you’re an earthborn human so you’re going to age, while she doesn’t seem to have that problem.

You’re still handsomer than 99.99999985% of men. Who have ever lived.

Brad, we love you, not as much as we love The Clooney, true, but we love you. So please, bring back the short hair and the clean shave, or even just the short hair!

But whatever you do, don’t go back to this:

I stand corrected. THAT goatee makes you look like Satan.

New Study Confirms Leggings Are Not Pants

November 6, 2011 § 225 Comments

A recent study at Harvard University entirely debunks the popular notion that leggings are pants. Such a firm conclusion was slightly unexpected, according to the study’s authors. “Clearly a hybrid of tights and trousers,” lead researcher Deborah Collins commented, “leggings retained the real possibility of falling on the ‘pants’ side of the dividing line between these two types of clothing.”

Indeed, early in the research process, Collins and her partner in the study, Martin Hilfiger of Boston University (no relation to the fashion mogul), hypothesized that leggings might, in fact, be pants, due to the apparently endless number of women that he encountered daily on the streets of Boston and Cambridge, wearing t-shirts over partially opaque leggings, often with the seeming declaration, “Panty-lines be damned!”

“Of course,” Hilfiger cautions, “the fact that many people believe something has no relation to the likelihood of its actually being true.” He rants briefly about the Young Earth Creationists before returning to the subject of his study.

“As a man, and thus someone who has never considered leaving the house without traditional pants,” Hilfiger notes, “I thought that the women I often saw walking down the street in only leggings might know better than I.”

Upon beginning the rigorous study, however, and abandoning personal suppositions for science, Hilfiger quickly discovered that leggings have far more in common with tights, Spanx, and even underwear, than they do with pants.

“Leggings are pants, but only in the British sense of the term!” Collins laughed. In Britain, the term “pants” refers to what Americans call underwear.

Both Hilfiger and Collins cited as important to their work Catherine Baker’s landmark 1994 study which confirmed that tights are not, and should not be used as, pants.

“Baker’s research,” Collins said, “helped us design a rigorous study, while also laying necessary conceptual groundwork. Of course, her study also allowed me, personally, to have confidence that our current work is important to society.”

Those in the fashion world have reacted to Collins and Hilfiger’s results with the surprise of those reacting to a study declaring the sky to be blue.

When asked if leggings are pants, Anna Wintour simply frowned.

The “Fug Girls,” the two writers behind the popular fashion blog GoFugYourself.com, have long written a series of sardonic responses to celebrity pantlessness called “Look Into Pants.” These blog posts sometimes feature celebrities’ ill-advised substitution of tights or leggings for pants.

Others on the web are contemplating the proper response to such damning new research. The crusaders behind tightsarenotpants.com – whose manifesto states that “The wearing of tights as pants is an abomination” – are currently considering developing a sister site, leggingsarenotpants.com, in response to the scientific verification of leggings’ not-pants status.

Collins reports that her and Hilfiger’s results are entirely conclusive.

“Our margin of error is plus or minus 0.00021%,” she noted. “So no, there’s really no way leggings are actually pants.”

Some within the psychology community, however, question the wisdom of publicizing such a blatant denouncement of wearing leggings as pants. Psychologist Lynn Brockton of the University of Southern California has predicted a higher suicide rate among sorority girls and Lindsay Lohan following the news of Collins and Hilfiger’s study results.

Note on 6 Nov 2013: Apparently literally thousands of people have read this post today. Not sure how that happened, but I’d like to make a few things clear.

Firstly, this entire post is a joke. The studies it cites are not real. The people it quotes are either fake or have never actually said the things they are being quoted as saying. It falls under a category of posts called “The Scallion,” which is a play off the title of the satirical news site The Onion. It’s satire.

Secondly, this post is not meant to be body-shaming.  I think it looks weird to wear leggings as pants if you have athletic legs, curvy legs,  skinny legs, what have you.

Finally, this post is not meant to tell anyone what to do. Lots of people probably think things I wear are weird, and that’s totally fine. For instance, I’m a grown woman who frequently wears a sweater adorned with a fox face made of sequins. You are a beautiful and unique snowflake, and you are free to house your snowflake legs in leggings if you so desire!

The Wingman: How Not to Hit on Someone: “Luke, I am your father”

November 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

There are certain things a person knows by instinct not to say to a someone when you’re chatting them up at a club/bar/bar mitzvah. “I wet my bed until I was 17.” “I went to prison for exposing myself to a minor.” “I think Kings of Leon is a really good band.” Such statements are what we women call “red flags,” as in, “Grab his giant red flag and use it to hail a cab to get the hell out of here.”

When Albert Einstein famously said, “Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former,” he must have been standing in a bar watching his friend tell some woman that she reminds him of his mother, before his mother was committed to the mental ward when he was nine. I am continually surprised by what people will say aloud, but I am continually shocked by what men will say to women they’re trying to have sex with.

The following story brings you today’s advice from the Wingman: if you’re trying to pick up a younger woman, don’t tell her that you have a son her age.

My junior year of college, I was studying abroad in Oxford. One weekend, I ended up in a hotel on the coast of Wales, miles from anything that could be considered a city and at least a few miles from the nearest small town. After dinner at said hotel, my friends and I contemplated what to do for the evening. Being without a car, our choices were to drink in the hotel bar, or to sit in someone’s room and stare at each other.

Upon entering the bar, we heard a ruckus coming from a private room. Walking by, we saw thirty or forty people (mostly men) drinking enthusiastically. A few of them were wearing sombreros. If I were at home in California, it would be odd but not entirely improbable to see a group of drunk men wearing sombreros in a bar, especially if there’s a Chevy’s nearby. In Wales, however, I’d have been surprised if anyone could even identify a sombrero. (A month or so later, I threw a Cinco de Mayo party with a few of my American friends; when we invited some British guys to the party, one replied, “I don’t know what Cinco de Mayo is; we don’t have any Mexicans here.”)

After getting our own table and a pint apiece, six or so of us Americans, the majority being female, were talking and drinking for a half hour or so, at which point a spectacularly drunk Welshman wearing a sombrero threw himself into an empty chair and began to talk at us about I have no idea what. I do remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind wearing a full-body condom: this guy was skeezy, if entertaining. Another Welshman – older, more composed, less sloppy drunk, and more conscious of personal boundaries – also sat down, and we preceded to have a strange conversation with them about many things. (The older one told us that drinking Guinness in Dublin was better than sex. “Oh, my wife will kill me. It’s almost as good as sex.” My friends and I traveled to Dublin two months later.)

Mostly, they wanted to know what we were doing in Gwbert, the “town” the hotel was nearest too, pronounced like a mix between “Gilbert” and “Goobert.” Actually, they wanted to know what “the fuck” we were doing in Gwbert. Apparently, as Americans traveling the British isles, we were getting it all wrong. Even Welshman don’t want to go to Gwbert, our new friends informed us, they themselves were only here for some team-building thing for work that was mandatory.

Last year, apparently, they went to Spain on their team-building trip/reward vacation, but thanks to the economic downturn, this year they were in the middle of nowhere Wales. At this point in the evening, my friends and I discovered the reason for the sombreros: all the employees at this event had been playing a game in which they were split up into teams, with each team representing a country. By this point, many other drunk Welshman had begun to pour into the general bar area, so our only-somewhat-tipsy friend could point out the cowboy hats (the U.S.), canvas safari-type hats (Australia), berets (France), and triangular straw hats (China), in addition to the aforementioned sombreros (Mexico).

Around this time, other Welshmen, on their way to being plastered themselves, tried to join our group, apparently thinking our original two guests had been hogging us – or rather, hogging the five or so young American girls. They were initially less interested in our two male friends, though by the end of the night, they were loving on them too, with an enthusiasm that the term “homoerotic” doesn’t quite capture.

One by one, or in pairs, we peeled ourselves from the table, ostensibly to use the “loo” or something, after at least one new Welshman had become quite grabby.

At our table, the Welshmen had been buying us drinks – pints of cider and beer – girls and guys both. On my way to or from the bathroom, I stopped to say hi to a male friend that was chatting with another Welshman (younger, seemingly less creepy, cuter if not truly cute), and suddenly found myself with another new friend ready to shower me in free drinks.

Turns out that, due to the volcano that had lately erupted over Iceland, spouting veritable tons of ash and grounding all planes, the Welshmen’s boss was stuck in Italy and had not been able to attend the company retreat. This retreat included booze – an open tab with the hotel bar that the boss’s second-in-command, seemingly the most sober of the bunch, was exceedingly lenient with.

Suffice it to say, we all (American and Welsh alike) got plastered; I’d barely have finished off half of a pint before I had three Welshmen trying to order me another. It was even the same for the guys.

Over the course of three or four hours, I had long, hilarious conversations with a number of Welshmen, ranging in age from late twenties to early sixties. At one point, I was standing with a girlfriend talking to this Welsh guy who I believe was named Mike (though we had to retrospectively reconstruct this fact the next day from various pieces of “evidence”).

Mike was in his mid to late forties and was hitting on my friend hard. As this was all progressing, my friend or I made a comment on about the tattoo on Mike’s forearm. It appeared to be letters.

It was, Mike told us. In fact, it was an ambigram (ambigrams always make me think of that Dan Brown novel where ones saying “fire” and “water” get burned onto a bunch of priests’ chests; an ambigram is the script of a word that reads identically if turned upside down). Apparently, this ambigram spelled out the name of Mike’s son, which I think was Thomas but may have been Taylor or something else starting with “T.”

Having a tattoo of your son’s name is a rather sweet gesture, and mentioning this to a girl you’re chatting up could, in fact, win you sensitivity points, as long as you mention that you’re divorced, which Mike immediately did (got one thing right). Yes, the “I have a kid” revelation can work in your favor, provided it is not followed by another.

Mike then told us that his son Thomas/Taylor was a teenager. He may have been sixteen or seventeen, I don’t remember precisely. What I do remember is thinking, “At twenty-one, (Friend) and I are closer in age to your son than we are to you.”

After Mike told us a bit about Thomas/Taylor, during which time I was amusedly silent, drinking my pint, I moved on to another, potentially less creepy group of Welshmen/my American friends.

My friend did not run screaming from Mike. She did not even excuse herself to go to the bathroom and then conveniently fail to return. She actually continued to talk to him for a while, before rejoining the drunken group which, by this point, I believe was singing “Lean on Me” a cappella. We proceeded to sing many things a cappella, including an old S Club 7 song that I was pretty well into at age ten or what have you, until we Americans were wearing the sombreros and berets and swaying in time to the “music,” our arms thrown around Welsh shoulders.

Well, some of us. I was much less about the touching with drunk men I had just met, but generally, the end of the gathering was very lighthearted, a sort of “We Are the World” facilitated by copious amounts of alcohol.

The night in the bar of this Gwbert hotel was – despite the fuzziness-inducing effects of seven or so pints – quite memorable. Even now, though, a few years down the line, I’m astonished at Mike’s decision to throw out, “Oh yeah, so I have a sixteen-year-old son.”

Having a tattoo of your son’s name, okay, that’s sweet, that could win you some points. Noting that said son is almost my age: not so much. This just seems like a no-brainer – you should lie.

If you’re in your mid/late forties and you’re trying to sleep with a twenty-one-year-old American that you met in a bar maybe an hour ago, you’re probably not concerned with establishing a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. This is fine – it’s the contract of the skeezy bar hookup, and if the girl goes for it, she’s not picking out wedding china in her head in the meantime.

Ergo, LIE. You’re “sweet” and “sensitive”? You have a son that you love? Great, say he’s a toddler. Get the most out of this you can. He can be five at the most. Six or seven is pushing it – that’s the age when a kid starts to seem like a person rather than a tiny, adorable talking doll that you can make say inappropriate things.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT tell the younger woman that you have a kid almost her age. You do not want her to do the math and realize that you could be her father. That in and of itself is not necessarily a dealbreaker, but if you’re trying to seal the deal, you do not want the girl to be connecting you with her father. She looks at you, she immediately pictures her father: it’s a big mood killer. The kind that requires she go take a 45-minute shower and you go away.

So lie. Tell her about the cute castle that little Tommy/Taylor made with blocks a few days ago. Tell her how he called you “Mama” for two years, because he apparently thought it was a nice all-purpose parent name. Tell her about something shitty your ex-wife did to you, even, if you like. Make up whatever endearing stories you like. Just do not open your mouth and let, “I could be your father” slide on out. She’s not that drunk.

She could never be that drunk.

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