Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
- Community Blog
- Normal Heights Through the Blue and White
I call on everyone to do his or her service to the 'list and flag this post for "Best of Craiglist." There should be a little flagger's box in the upper right corner. Thank you.
As far as the daily Runner-Up goes, the following is confined to the second tier position due largely to not being in my neighborhood:
I love, love, love the idea of the barter system. It's just so....pure. The idea of an exchange based on real value--it's wonderful! Also, the objects in question are pretty hilarious.
Big winner award for the day goes out to an ad I've seen posted several times before:
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that any underwear I'm going to buy had best be sealed in some sort of plastic baggie. I want some sort of assurance that I alone have rubbed flesh with each and every pair of underwear that comes anywhere near my tender skin. They must be, in short, unspoiled to qualify for the girding of my loins. Sorry, homey, but your promise of "never worn" just doesn't cut it when it comes to chones. If this was, for the sake of argument, a jacket, or something like that, I'd be willing to take the "never worn" with a grain of salt. Yeah suuuuuure, "never worn," uh huh, pull the other one why don't you, it's got bells! I mean, whatever, it's a jacket. Even some trousers or a shirt; it'd be cool. But not a set of briefs. I've drawn this line in the sand and I shan't cross it!
This is as close as you'll get to a fashion statement from me. I have the fashion sense of inert matter. Not bad, not good, not anything. The clothing covers the body to keep out the cold and insects. Also, the pants tend to end somewhere in the vicinity of the knee, or thereabouts, to avoid being shredded and greased by the bicycle chains. Shoelaces tucked in, always, for the same reason. That's about it. Just not a fashionable guy. Had a girlfriend once who tried her damnedest to make me a stylin' dude, but it didn't really stick. Still have some of the clothes she bought me, but I cut the legs of almost all the pants and gave the shirts with buttons to Goodwill....
Totally different story with the people who live around the neighborhood, however. Two observations about my 'hood:
1) Everyone here is young and attractive. Seriously, they are all "beautiful people." I honestly think this applies to all of San Diego, but the locus of the phenomenon seems to be North Park/Normal Heights/Hillcrest etc.
2) They are all wicked cool in some way.
Now, I consider myself fortunate to live amongst these beautiful, hip young people. Perhaps someday I will sidle into their ranks, joining the coolest of the cool and the hottest of the hot in doing whatever it is that cool, attractive young people do. For the time being, I occupy a space somewhere on the periphery of things. Confronted by the myriad fashions I see before me, I list a few for you now:
Staggeringly Well Dressed Gay Men
That most powerful of socio-economic groups, the SWDGM have a strong position in the 'hood. On the surface there is some competition between the SWDGM and the Young Rich White People who flood the bars downtown as to who can be More Well Dressed. When the chips are down, however, the SWDGM are the obvious winners. You see, YRWP know of only a few different outfits. Blue-and-white-striped-shirt with jeans and dress shoes for the guys. Miniskirt and tanktop with fashionable shoes for the girls. The SWDGM, on the other hand, are inventive, innovative, and thrifty in their attire. They cannot be touched by even the most artfully disguised YRWP.
Ironically Poorly Dressed Hipsters
Many of these around. This is basically me, I'm not ashamed. They're much better at it than I, however. For starters, I don't have the audacity to pull off a mullet. I just can't make that rock and roll, sorry. But the really cool kids, they wear mullets and get away with it. The tight jeans, hi-top sneakers and flannel shirts all evoke the fashion sense of people my age when we were eleven, which is highly ironic. Although, to be fair, we used to wear our jeans baggy. I actually can't identify the historical fashion trend being being ironically mocked by the tight jeans. There were tight jeans in the sixties (60's) and seventies (70's), but they had flared legs and fit tightly only around the thigh. The nineteen-eighties (1980's) saw some tight-ish jeans, but not the spandex styled skinny jeans of today. It just goes to show you that cool people have made an incredibly intricate and deeply ironic pastiche of fashion. They are far, far, far from sloppy. Tattoo sleeves, on the other hand, belong to no generation and are a vital part of the IPDH fashion statement.
Down To Earth White People
These are actually the sort of people identified by the now-legendary Stuff White People Like Blog. Almost as powerful a socio-economic bracket as the SWDGM, the DTEWP have a very different fashion sense indeed. Hiking, outdoorsy clothing is very important--you can actually outfit a DTEWP for an entire year with a single trip to REI. It's rather fascinating. Since these people tend to work at colleges or for companies cashing in on "green" economics, the DTEWP are usually allowed to wear fleece vests, crocs, and cargo pants everywhere they go. DTEWP are serious hard-working types, with IRAs and whatnot, but can be difficult to distinguish from outdoorsy, hippie types that tend to live in tents by choice rather than penury. Often scent (patchouli or lack thereof) can be a key indicator. DTEWP tend to smell of new Prius and Starbucks.
As three (3) is the magic number, I shall stop here with listing the various fashion sensibilities of my neighborhood. Conveniently enough, the three categories described above probably contain 90-93% of the residents in Normal Heights and the surrounding, similar areas. Allow for flexibility in the severity of any individual's adherence to a group's bylaws, perhaps permit a little interchangeability between the groups, and you can fairly well describe most any of my neighbors.
As for me, you prolly won't see me--I'll be hiding behind the cool people!