Feature photo by darwinbell

As I was getting ready to head out for a night on the town last week, I had one of my many freak-out moments to the tune of Yes, you do look fat in that and What is going on with your hair? Granted, no one is satisfied with what they have; it’s not only the Chicago code, but the human code.

I composed myself, changed my jacket from an electric blue blazer complete with shoulder pads to a more subdued brown piece. My hair spilled out from my ponytail. As I wriggled my head back and forth, I noticed the significant bounce that one gets in between shampoos and sleeping on your face. I looked in the mirror and wondered how I had so much hair. I mean, my head isn’t that bloody big… or is it? Can I attribute the volume to cranium or follicle? I hope it’s the latter, but who knows? I was parting my hair in the middle and then, as I went back to change my brown jacket to a green sweater vest, I moved my hair to the side and began to straighten my bangs. My tendrils were doing this curly, doing an almost Hassidic thing that I love, so I figured I’d stop messing with the bangs. There must have been a dog in the front yard because my dog began to yelp furiously and I burned the shit out of my cheekbone. As I exclaimed and yelled at my cute, little, adorable shih tzu-poodle (shoodle? pootzu?) to shut the hell up. I calmed down, realized the sun was almost down and changed my tight black jeans to loose-fitting khakis.

Brushing my teeth, I wondered why I go to all this crazy trouble. What’s it all for? Am I really that vain that I must go to extreme lengths in order to impress people? But, you know what? I don’t have to impress anybody and I don’t have to try. Granted, it is always nice when someone says something about my outfit. In truth, I need to feel good about what I’m wearing in order to function properly and don’t feel afraid to admit it.

I snapped out of it, donned a shower cap and headed into the shower. My green tea shower gel was, you guessed it, fresh out. I didn’t even have a bar of soap to lather so, in my haze, I decided to use the loofah I hardly ever use and… apply some handsoap. There were a couple of fancy, clam-shaped soaps handy, but I didn’t dare use them (frankly, they dry out your skin and I’ve had them since the turn of the century). I ended up smelling like the morning shift of a public bathroom, but figure that the Prada would cover that up.

As I stepped out of the shower, I removed the shower cap only to realize the wet air would damage whatever empty notion I had about taming hair akin to Middle Eastern riots, not to sound too Kenneth Cole twitter feed about it. I put the cap back on and then off and then left the bathroom only to have my towel fall on the floor and boy, was it cold. Note to you all: save the hot showers for the summer. That first step out of the lovely, inviting water into the cold, hellish grips of a Chicago February will put you right off your curly tendrils. I stepped out of the bathroom so fast that I accidentally stepped all over my prepared outfit. The words from my mouth were far too foul to relay, but let’s just say that if the national debt were a swear jar, it’d be 1998 again.

I was looking for my trusty platforms and, unfortunately, they began to speak to people. That’s what I get for being innovative and beating a dead horse with footwear. I began rummaging through the clothes that eternally find themselves on the floor and again wondered, what was the big deal? I was just going to some event with my straight guy friend and then I remembered: straight guy friend. Guy friend. Guy. Boyfriend. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. Finding a man is what I’m trying to do (let’s fucking face it) and, granted, straight men aren’t necessarily famous for being good wing men to gays, but when in the desert, you need to ration the few drops of helpful water you have at your disposal.

As I considered a pair of acid-washed jeans that made my butt look big-but-not-bulbous and complimented my thighs just so, I figured it was high time I trimmed a bit off the old trusty beard. I wanted to go from Moby Dick to… well, you can just infer. As I grabbed my trimming scissors (which were really just long blue scissors I had promoted from clipping magazines to clipping my face), I went to the bathroom, still dressed in only my elaborate Hanes briefs and my robe. I started to feel really good about myself. The humidity in the bathroom subsided and I began to dry. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, Hey, you look pretty good, but it might have been the glass of wine I poured myself to cool down for a bit.

I took a break from the manscaping and pulled a fantastic mauve metallic turtleneck, a pair of dark red, boot cut slacks off the top of my dresser and ventured toward the mirror. As I did the mandatory posing that all of us do in front of the mirror when we’re alone, I looked myself in the face and I decided to relax. I was flipping around like a lunatic and I figured that in another 70 years of this and I’d have a coronary zipping up my space pants. I returned to the bathroom mirror, breathing in and out, sipping my Chilean red in my vintage maroon.

The speckled brown sink in my bathroom was backed up and, unfortunately, there was still my toothpaste spew in it. I snipped around my beard, the phone rang and accidentally I cut a shitload off. My glasses fell into the bowl of hazy white water and when the phone fell on the floor, I snapped out of it and decided to chill, yet again. Why was I so on edge? I guess that’s just the way stylish people think. In my distracted and frazzled mind, I didn’t mean to go crazy. It’s not about impressing people. It’s about impressing yourself. As judgmental as I can be, I should lay off on myself.

Eventually, I returned my friend’s call and he informed me he was too tired to go out and I was relieved. I called my friend Toni and we decided to play spades with her boyfriend and his mother and drink 40s. I kicked off my withering platforms, changed into a much more comfortable short sleeve turtleneck shirt, black jeans, green chucks and walked out of the house. Free drinks and men are one thing, but walking to the liquor store with a best friend is what I look forward to the most.

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