I am not going to tell you anything that you don’t already know.
What I am going to tell you is that one should, generally, when emerging from one’s home and presenting oneself to the public, wear pants.
One should not wear the disgusting gym shorts one has been lounging around in for God-knows-how-long.
One should not wear the discolored khaki cargo shorts one has spent the entire day in. Actually, one should not wear cargo shorts at all – if you really need to carry that much ‘cargo’ on your thighs, you should buy a damn messenger bag.
And one should particularly take these sage words of wisdom into consideration when one is preparing for a date.
There has always been a grand inequality in the preparation the opposing genders make for dates.
Today was my first date with someone-who-shall-not-be-named.
Last night, I did my nails. I tried on four different dresses, trying to figure out which one looked cute while still maintaining office appropriateness. This morning, I flat-ironed my hair and put on makeup and deodorant and perfume and lotion.
And this afternoon, I spent a little extra time in the office bathroom applying eyeshadow and mascara and touching up my concealer. I dabbed on a little perfume in the car, nervous about the first date I was looking forward to.
And my date, when I saw him, was wearing grungy hiking boots, a pair of abused old khaki shorts and a shirt that I believe was once olive green, but has now been washed so many times as to be devoid of all color.
I’m not suggesting that guys should primp in the same way that girls do. Actually, I think a guy wearing mascara and nail polish would be just as unnerving in its own way as a guy in disgusting flip flops… But at least I’d appreciate the effort.
All I’m saying is… if the girl you’re going out with isn’t worth putting on normal clothes for… If she’s not worth (to you) putting on an actual pair of pants, then you shouldn’t be dating her.
I mean, if she’s not worth the effort, then just stay home and watch TV, right? Why bother even leaving the house?
And if she is worth the effort (as I suspect she is), do her the common courtesy of putting on a damn pair of pants. And some real shoes, while you’re at it.
Unless your first date involves hiking or swimming or some other suitably athletic activity, you should be wearing a decent, clean pair of pants, and a clean shirt (preferably with sleeves and buttons), as well as real shoes – the kind where I can’t see your toes, thank you very much.
Several weeks ago, I went on a first date where the guy showed up in gym shorts and flip flops. The flip flops, he told me proudly, were the same pair that he had been sporting since December, all through the frozen Chicago winter.
Excuse me for saying this… but men’s feet are hideous. Actually… most feet are gross. I don’t even particularly like my own feet. And if there’s anything I wasn’t looking forward to seeing, it was your unappealing, frost-bitten feet sticking out of your disgusting flip flops, with god-knows-what-kind-of-fungus growing on them (the flip-flops, not the feet, although, really, anything is possible…).
That ‘date’ was over in about twenty minutes.
If you can’t be bothered to put on real clothes, what else can’t you be bothered to do?
What exactly is so marvelous about you that makes you think you can show up to a first date looking, for lack of a better word, disgusting?
Even if said guy was marvelously handsome – if he was an Adonis among men – it doesn’t excuse the laziness and lack of respect shown by wearing flip flops on a first date.
I’m not gorgeous. I’m not stunningly, blindingly beautiful. But I like to do other human beings the courtesy of making a goddamn effort. And I have a little pride in my appearance.
I’m not Cindy Crawford… but I’m not going to be mistaken for a homeless person, either.
First dates earn the privilege of being first dates only if they are followed by second dates. World War I, after all, was called the Great War until World War II came along. Day baseball games were just plain old baseball games until nighttime lighting made night games possible and therefore created the need to differentiate them from day games.
First dates are, by their very nature, a sort of interview, in which you present your best self to the other person. Where you show them what you have to offer and hope that they like you enough to want to see you again.
You wouldn’t show up for an interview in gym clothes and flip flops. And if you did, I certainly wouldn’t hire you. I have no idea why you’d show up for a date in them.
I’m not asking for guys to be fashion plates. I’m not asking for them to show up in Armani, reeking of cologne, with hundred-dollar loafers on their feet.
I’m just asking for common respect and dignity.
Just put on a goddamned pair of pants.
And real shoes.
And a shirt.
Don’t smell like a trash can.
Don’t scratch yourself in places that would make your mother ashamed of you.
It alarms me that these things even have to be said, but apparently, they do.
Just put on a damn pair of pants.
It’s for your own good, I swear.