Surfing through facebook the other day, checking on family, when I landed by my nephew's page. On there was a video: "Ackward White Guys in Shorts".
Hey, wait a second, I'm a white guy...wearing shorts. What the hell?
And there I was.
Not me, per se, but my people, white men in shorts, being portrayed as an ackward social phenomena.
So sad to face the truth.
I'd faced this truth years ago, more than once, as often happens when facing truth. Most vividly was at a Britt Concert featuring James Brown. The Steve Miller Band was opening. As I sat, sipping a beer and watching proceedings, waiting for the show to start, I saw all the white men dressed like me...in shorts and some sort of athletic shoe or sandals. Most of us were greybeards and featured wheat bellies ranging from small, just beginning to show our pregnancies, to OMG, how does he fit into a car? It was my tribe. Oohhh...depressing.
It wasnt the first time I'd experienced this. Back in Silicon Valley days, the defacto business casual uniform was typically khaki slacks with some sort of polo or Oxford shirt. When we realized we were all dressing alike, we branched out into stone, clay, grey and black slacks and trousers, some with pleats or cuffed, mostly made by Dockers....
Getting out of the office and going to trade shows and conferences became a joy as my company insisted I wear a suit with tie. Stocking up on suits, shirts, ties and shoes, I came to love putting them on, just to look different, which made me feel different.
I changed jobs and times changed. Our new business casual became...shorts.
Yes, that's where it all started.
Before khakis and shorts, my uniform, as a white American male, was jeans with a shirt. I resisted the greater urge that many embraced, and still resist it, to wear tee-shirts. That's too casual for my style.
After all, underneath that uniform, I'm different.
I mean, take off my clothes and what do you have? A hairy, slightly overweight, aging white man with a wheat belly, made of sinew, bone and blood...
...just like all those other guys....
I'm starting to get a headache. I think it's time to go get a coffee drink. No one else ever does that.
And that's what makes me unique. That, and my laptop computer...and my efforts as a struggling writer....
And my shorts.
So take that.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com