Friday, December 19, 2008

Dressing to your age and magnificence of weather; can a man 50 get away with muscle shirt?

None of us expected it less than a week before Christmas.

But the weather got warmer in Nashville today, unseasonably so, surging into the low '70s and leaving most workers straggling back to the job from lunch much overdressed and unimpressed that the rest of the day would be spent inside.

I was lucky. I had no such job to hurry to. But still had one major problem: how to dress.

No, my mother did show me how to put on the left sock first, then the right and so on with the pants and sleeves on the shirt. Somehow, the underwear already was on.

I'm writing about the following cultural and social question:

What does a 50-year-old man put on in terms of recreational attire to walk and run. And what if the 50-year-old man doesn't look close to 50. He has a head-full of hair. Most of all, he is very physically fit and 100 pounds less than three years ago. He doesn't go to buffets or like fried foods. His intake of bread is limited to a flour tortilla now and then. He loves a lot of fruit and vegetables.

Then there's this big problem: I don't know a thing about fashion. So when I go into the clothing section of a store, I feel so out of place, like an honest man on Wall Street.

This morning. I needed undershirts to put under my dress shirts for my suits that I wear out in the community to make a difference. But in front of me in the store were two different sets of undershirts. One was the traditional T. The other was the kind Michael Jordan markets; it clings to the upper body like a basketball jersey or a muscle shirt.

Now three years ago, there would not have been a choice. I was too fat. But since then, I've maintained a very low body weight -- not only to survive but because it makes me feel better. As I like to sell people, the South Beach Diet may work well but it doesn't compare to the Chemo Diet. And there's only one drawback to it; it can kill you.

Yet today, I was alive, and gloriously so amid a magnficient day. Yet even though I made the choice between the two different styles of undershirts, I still was faced with the dilemma of how to address for run and walk. I got out the shorts, the socks and then ... the shirt. It was the Michael Jordan shirt, and I had to admit that I did not look half bad in it.

I've had a muscular upper body since I was lifting weights for high school football one spring and also taking steroids to address inflammation in the nsasal passages from allergies. Who knew back then that steriods produced big upper bodies?

But like I wrote, it didn't matter until I got leuekmia three years ago then shed what amounted to an entire 'nother person from my body.

With the muscle shirt on, I have to admit I felt a hooker on Dickerson Aveneue or SNL's famous "Fred Garvin, male prostitute".

"This is too much skin," I scolded myself. "What if people start upchucking their lunches?"

A group of kids getting out of school early for the Christmas break whistled at me. But they'll shout at anything for attention. Me, too.

I felt like a Viagara commercial. I don't take it, nor have I had the occasion to use it for quite a long time. So I don't have the warning about an erection lasting 36 hours tatooed on my crotch; it's lithographed. Seriously, if I had an erection lasting 36 hours, I wouldn't call a doctor. I'd call the local, high-priced restaurant to serve as a coat stand. Money is money, particularly in a depressed economy.

Everyone around me was in sweaters and coats. And there was me, Mr. Flesh, frololicking in the fresh air. But I perserved. No one threw up their lunches. The police did not arrest me for indency.

Actually, the air felt great on more exposed skin. And vigor pulsing through my veins and mind made me feel so young.

Will I continue to wear the athletic/muscle tank top in public? Probably not. Still, it was good to try it once and find yourself looking as if you loved life and life loved you.

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