My First Blog Post

The World is a bit with me today

The World Is Too Much With Us
By William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

As I read these words I reflect on the last 3-4 weeks where I have had court or some other proceeding every day. It feels like every day into the breach. I have won some and I have lost some. When I have these weeks where I am constantly speaking to someone or paying attention or on the phone in my car, it changes my tolerance and patience for minutia. It has led to some frank discussions which needed to be had. We have become a society of telephone tough guys and we shy away from hard conversations in person. We also want instant gratification. I spend a fair amount of time responding to clients and other people in distress situations, many times self inflicted. When I am busy like I have been, I spend less time hand holding (actually none at all) and more time having real conversations. In my professional life, I live in the world of facts not feelings and there is an art to conveying those facts.

One of the recurring facts that I deal with on a regular basis is the controlling sometimes abusive male/damaged (in his opinion) female. I have so many conversations where I am discussing with an intelligent, articulate mature woman her best plans for her and her child going forward and that conversation is colored by the control and anger of the absent male partner. In that scenario you have to deliver the message that their male partner’s anger is of no consequence in our legal situation but it’s always there, like another person in the room. I am currently reading a book about the Dominance theory v. the partnership theory in human sexual relationships and it makes me wonder, have 6000+ years of moralizing done this to our women? I have even seen women pick an attorney that is of the same vein as their partner and they can’t stand up for themselves to their own attorney, who by all accounts is supposed to work for them. I can’t save them all, but I wish I could. I know there are abusive women in the world that keep children away from their fathers but that’s a problem I fix pretty easily. In many respects, women represent to me a lot of what is good about life. You only have to look into an old woman’s eyes and see the young girl laughing to know what I mean.

Fast Fashion

I recently heard Sen. Cory Booker on MSNBC talking about New Year’s Resolutions. One of the things he mentioned was not getting caught up in Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion is defined as inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass market retailers in response to the latest trends. I see it much differently. I don’t mean just clothing wise even though I have written in the past about purchasing and wearing items with staying power. I mean this constant movement of products through our society by constantly modifiying existing items and planned obsolescence.

How many of you remember when a road bike was called a ten speed? That meant that the bike had 2 chainrings up front and five chainrings in the back. We now have mid to high end bikes ($2000 and up) with 12 speeds which means really 24 because there are 12 speeds in the back and 2 front chainrings. I ride an 11 speed and I have no plans to upgrade my road bike but there is always someone who wants to ride “what the pro’s ride” that will spend the $1000-3000 to upgrade their current bike or buy a whole new one.

The same thing happens with surfboards. My favorite board from my board maker was called the Flyer, which came out in 1999 and was a top seller because it was easy to ride yet also performed well. I had 3 or 4 of these between 1999 and 2010 when they stopped making them stock. Surfboards are a wear item that wears out after prolonged use and I turn my boards over every 5-7 years. Last year I started surfing a lot more after a hiatus due to politics and such and I wasn’t really excited about the boards I had. Then I noticed they were making the Flyer again. Bam, I traded in the old boards and ordered a new Flyer. It is as magic as I remember. The lesson here for the manufacturer is there are a lot of us who don’t need the “improvements and refinements”.

I am sure a lot of you have had the experience where you really liked something and then they stopped making it. At the same time, we are constantly being subjected to advertising on a constant basis urging us that we can’t live without this or that. Facebook now allows you to see who has given them your online browsing data so they can target you. Instagram and even Twitter are similar. I suspect that at some point, you can sign up for free toilet paper as long as they can print ads on it (ok, I have patented that idea so don’t steal it).

Thankfully there is a solution that will not only save the planet (landfills are full of perfectly good discarded stuff and manufacturing is hard on the water supply as well as the atmosphere) but is better for your pocketbook. Stop buying stuff just for an incremental improvement. If your iPhone works, keep it or just buy the new battery and not a whole phone. Buy things when the other stuff wears out, its ok, I won’t judge. When you do purchase things, spend a little more on something that is made well and will last. Take care of what you do buy. I keep my surfboards in board bags so they don’t get banged up in my garage and I don’t leave them in the sun which causes the glass and foam to degrade. I have my bikes regularly tuned and replace the chain ($30.00) before it wears down the front or rear cogs ($200-500). I buy good shoes that will last not inexpensive “stylish” ones that will fall apart and look ridiculous in a year. Buy a real coffee maker instead of a Keurig. My parents had an old Mr. Coffee that worked for probably 25 years. Get a good phone case and a screen protector. I once passed on to my Stepdaughter my IPhone 5 that I had for probably 3-4 years that was in immaculate physical condition and she broke it within a week, she didn’t like my phone case.

We used to live in a society where people passed on personal possessions to their children like watches, china, furniture, jewelry and even some clothing. I think we should get back to that.

First Blog of 2020

I’m kinda glad I did not Blog much or at all in December. December was an angry month for me but something I needed to go through. My business is an intangible service and I’m a relationship’s guy not a transactional guy. What this means as it relates to this Blog and this past December is that I have lots of clients I have built up over the years, which is good. What is bad is that my relationship with these clients is such that they feel we are friends and that while working on their case is important, keeping up with their bill not so much. Nobody pays their lawyer in December. We are on the bottom of the list, truly. Yet December is one of my busiest months as to going to court and getting things done before the end of the year. So I find myself in court constantly yet dipping into savings for Christmas presents for the family. Then when we do our round of “hey did you see my invoice I sent you last month for $2000?” emails, the response is invariably, “I’ll make a payment in January” meaning I’ll get $500 when they feel like it.

All of this is completely my fault. I created the dynamic and now I am reaping the rewards. So here is how I fix it, I think. First, right above the imaginary tattoo on my left arm that say”you can’t fix everyone” put another imaginary tattoo that says “You are not here to make friends”. Side note, some of my worst clients as far as payment and referrals are friends. Most people send me business because they know I will do a good job and also because they want me to make money. However, there is a small segment that likes to send me business because it makes them feel important and that they can get their friend “a deal”. Those people suck. They also feel like they are in a special category when it comes to their own cases. So, I’m just not anymore. No weird ass payment plans for friends or their penny pinching D client referrals. Also no more subsidizing people’s legal costs by not insisting on full payment of a balance before more work is done. I am also going to start paying more attention to the 80/20.

The 80/20 works like this. You get 80% of your income from 20% of your clients yet you spend 80% of your time with a different 20%. My work is a constant challenge to get certain things done while I am assailed from all sides by everyone else’s “emergencies” because they are having “anxiety”. The manipulation I have fallen prey to in the past has been to “just get this one thing done” or “let me solve this one last problem”. Well guess what? There is always one more problem or one more thing, the problems never end, they just change. To reassure myself of this, I look at the current dockets of cases I have worked in the past and you know what, they are still going. The human capacity for drama, time wasting and unnecessary legal expenses is boundless. It is worth the value of a college education for someone’s child to prove how “right” they are. Yet one of the biggest wastes of time is to try and change someone’s mind (discuss politics anyone? Or climate change?) but they (and sometimes even me, when I forget myself) have to try.

So in addition to my New Year’s resolutions of Not running for office again and Listening to more metal this year I am going to add, No more trying to fix that last problem and no more trying to change someone’s mind.

Monday Blog

My Sunday was interesting. I am the volunteer lawyer for my local mountain biking club. Our president, who is kind of a visionary (also an executive chef), put on an event at a local trail where he invited other mtn bike club leaders, land managers and anyone else who was interested in influencing the direction of mountain biking in Florida. Yes, mountain biking in Florida. We have lots and lots of trails and even a few hills once you get away from the beach, but that’s not the subject of this blog, but possibly one in the future.

While I was there, I talked to a few acquaintances and met some new ones. A few of us had this one thing in common. We were all in our 50’s and we all still rode mtn bikes, surfed, skated and listened to the music that goes with all that. In other words, at age 50 we suddenly didn’t turn into Golfers who listened to light rock and country. We didn’t start wearing “relaxed fit” anything. No, we are still “dudes” just a little older, with more juice. One guy was a photographer/videographer and another was a landscape guy who was morphing into a professional trail builder. The funny thing was, in this group, we didn’t lead off with our professions. We talked about our love of riding, cool places we have ridden or surfed, what bands we were going to see next, how often we ride with our kids, our next tattoo and even a few “back in the day” stories. This is my tribe, my crew, my peer group.

As part of my blog, I like to give a little insight about men to my audience. So, if you ever have a “dude” as a client, here is what I think you can expect. He’s going to be easy to hang out with. He’s going to seem relaxed on the surface but have some intensity when you get to know him. He’s not going to be insecure and he’s going to be positive. He will be fit but not chiseled. His shape comes from outdoor activities not the gym (even though we dudes acknowledge that burpees can help with popping up on your surfboard). He may wear Vans because that’s what he’s been wearing since he was a kid, not because they are trendy. Lingerie and garter belts are ok, but he really likes boyfriend jeans with holes in them. You are more likely to meet up for fish tacos and beers than fine dining. He may own an old Jeep as a second car and his garage will be filled with bikes, boards, tents and all types of outdoor gear. He will own more Patagonia (Patagucci) than Hugo Boss. He’ll be impressed if you tell him you camp by yourself and he’ll want to hear about your outdoor life. His vehicle will be a little dirty and will have racks. If he’s a professional he can move seamlessly in and out of that world but still be himself. If he’s single, he may take you on a surf trip to Costa Rica or Byron Bay.

Have a great week and I hope you get to book a date with a dude soon. We are fun.

Denim heads part deux (Dad jeans, selvedge and how not to over think it)

I did it again, I bit. A few weeks ago, while sitting around a friend’s dock after a lovely dinner and a few scotches, I was playing with my phone while the conversation was going on around me. An ad popped up for inexpensive selvedge jeans ($98-$128 price range) from an L.A. Company called Brave Star. I quickly read through the options and hit the button on a model called True Straight. That was a mistake. I didn’t realize you could order them hemmed at an additional price and that they all came 36 length. I also didn’t follow their recommendation and measure a pair of my favorites to get the right model/size. The jeans came and they fit will in the waist and I took them to my tailor to get hemmed. I tried them on again after and frankly, the leg opening is too big and the legs are too wide for my taste. I will probably sell them on EBay to try and re coup my some of my costs. I don’t have anything but good things to say about Brave Star and I will probably order a different pair now that I know the drill. The lesson here is to not order things after a few drinks and READ THE WEBSITE! (I know, we have all seen this in other contexts).

The problem that most men have with their jeans (if they have a problem and a lot of them wear the wrong jeans) is that they either over think it or under think it. The trend for jeans now is basic, subtle logos and not a lot of factory fades. Also for men, unless you put the holes in your self working on your car or skateboarding, just don’t when it comes to distressed jeans. Over thinking jeans is like over accessorizing, there is too much going on, think the horrible boot cuts of the oughts with the flap pocket and the rhinestone appliqués. Under thinking is buying them one size too big with the ankles looking rumpled and the rest of the jean looking like the worst “relaxed” fit.

I have written before about doing shrink to fits and raw denim so I won’t go back over that. The jeans that look the best are the ones that fit the best. A $40 pair of jeans that fits properly is better looking than a $200 pair of jeans that doesn’t properly fit. Ironically most expensive jeans are really trying to emulate inexpensive jeans ($200 RRL’s that look like $40 Levis 505’s). Actually Ralph Lauren’s late 80’s corduroy collared trucker jacket was a direct copy of the Lee Jeans classic. The trick is to buy your favorite jeans one size down. If your favorite jeans are size 36×32 Joe’s Jeans Classic Straights, buy a pair that is 34×32 in a darker wash. They will stretch out after one wear and fit like a million bucks. Jeans are sized so that when the waist size increases so does the thigh, knee and leg opening. Nobody wants skinny jeans but also the wide leg look went out with the last episode of Entourage. Straight legs are timeless.

If you are looking to replace your old jeans wardrobe, maybe you have lost some weight or gotten divorced or even have decided to start buying your own clothes (yeah I know married guys who let their wives dress them), I have a recommendation. First and foremost amongst my denim quiver are my Levi’s 501s, this was the first jean produced by Levi Strauss, is about 150 years old and has undergone many changes throughout the years. I have had at least one pair in my closet since 1983. Currently, they come with a mid rise, a slim straight leg with about an 8-8.5″ leg opening depending on waist size. They come in a variety of washes and colors. The basic non stretch 100% cotton ones come in dark stonewash, medium stonewash, light stonewash, rinse and rigid Indigo. Buy one of each one size down from your old jeans. Then wear them, wear them wear them. They will come a little longer than marked so you can cuff them if you want (that’s what I do) and they will shrink about 2% if you wash them in warm water. Make sure you wear them a bit before washing so that the waist gets stretched out. You can also get a waist stretcher so when you wash them you can stretch the waist back out to your size (I have one)

A couple of hot tips. Do not buy weird colors or models on EBay. Don’t buy the weird fades of yesteryear. Dark is in for winter but not so much for Spring and Summer. There used to be a seller on EBay who sold destroyed 501’s, those are iffy. Actually all used jeans are iffy on EBay. Jeans shrink and sellers will sell based on the marked size not the actual size. Look for actual size if you want to do this. Also the Brave Star website has a great tutorial on how to measure your own jeans to size for new ones.

Dominance Games part deux

I had an interesting experience in Mediation yesterday that was interesting, relevant to my last blog and kind of an eye-opener. In my law practice, I deal with a scenario quite often where I represent a woman who has a child or children with a narcissistic, controlling man. Sometimes they were married and other times not. Inevitably, there is something about the woman that allows the man to consider her “damaged”. Side note, I don’t consider anyone “damaged” or “damaged goods” except for maybe myself after that election fiasco. So while the people are married, the man is free to be his controlling self because he is trying to “fix” her or “help” her.

When they divorced, he then loses the day to day management of her affairs so to make up for his loss of power, the child becomes the focal point for his attention. I call this “the cone of control”. When negotiating the parenting agreement, he will want to put in all kinds of safeguards under the auspices of child safety. There will be proposed conditions like she has to notify him if she takes the child out of the county (like to go to Disney World, two hours away from where I am typing) , the names of any men that she dates so he can vet them for criminal activity and excessive daily contact when he is not with the child. When they actually come to an agreement and get divorced (or a final judgment on the Paternity case is entered), he will continue to act like they are still litigating. He will over communicate when the child is with her, but on his days, the mom will not be able to talk to the child because it is “his” time. He may even start filing spurious (legalese for bullshit) emergency motions to try and wear her out financially and emotionally. He will do everything he can to trigger her. I spend a lot of time dealing with this. I literally become my client’s life coach. I ghost write texts for her. It’s amazing how hard it is to convince my clients to not be afraid of his anger. I do everything I can to set that son of a bitch up for a big fall when we go to court. I send out financial discovery so I can get attorney fees for her from him (these guys calm way down when they have to pay both sides of the case). I set all day depositions where I peel him like an onion. In the legal sense, I do everything I can to out bully the bully.

Then yesterday, I encountered the female version. My client is a late 20’s male with a history of presctiption drug abuse who has been clean for 4 years and currently works for the facility that helped him. He is drug tested monthly. He has an 8 year old with a former girlfriend who has full custody including decision making. He has a new wife and two small children by her. He is doing well. The ex can’t stand it. She is insisting on meeting the new wife as a condition for allowing unsupervised visits. She calls and texts at all hours under the pretext of parenting even though he only sees the child 4 hours a week. She had lots of little conditions yesterday to the point where about an hour in, I was like “fuck it, lets go to court”. While you can be flexible in mediation and agree to things that a court would never order, there comes a point where it’s easier and better to go to court. The Judge can make a decision in an hour or two with less brain damage. In the middle of the mediation it hit me that the Ex liked it when he was going through his struggles because that validated her control. Now he’s ok and she can’t deal with it. She wants him back under her thumb. We settled, mostly. My client still has a ways to go both in life and in this case but he has more time with his son today then he had yesterday. And his wife agreed to meet, briefly, with the Ex.

Friday blog (today is kind of random)

Black Jeans-I recently bought and soaked a new pair of 501 STF’s that I thought were dark indigo and even wore them once, before I noticed they weren’t a very dark blue but actually black. Full Disclosure-I am color blind mostly reds, for example, I cannot see the difference between blue and purple or dark red and maroon or burgundy. So while I love to wear black I also don’t like to be monochrome matchy matchy so I will be figuring out some different colors to wear with black jeans. I will draw the line at brown shoes with black jeans though, that’s just No. I’m thinking blues and reds as well as greys and blacks.

Cunt-I got a call from my 13 yr old son’s school yesterday, apparently he called another student, a young lady in his class, a cunt. She told him to fuck off which was the appropriate response. The principal called to say he was getting a one day in school suspension. I started thinking of sanctions besides the normal taking away all electronics and social activities for a long stretch. My son has a habit of using words and phrases he claims to not know what they mean. It sucks for him that his dad is a lawyer and his mom is a teacher with a degree in women’s studies. I literally washed his mouth out with soap when he got home. We are deleting all of his social media (his instagram was public which was against my rule and his bio had some anti women language). He is writing a three page report for me on the word cunt and why we don’t ever use it much less call another human being especially a female that word. He is going to apologize personally to the young lady. We arranged with the school for him to have lunchtime and recess detention for the near future. This his last year at this school and he may be on the verge of getting kicked out. See, the little guy has ADHD, like his dad and like me, he is prescribed Adderall. I take mine everyday and it has had immense benefits. I am literally making twice as much as money as before because of my focus and I have lost about 20 lbs. My wife had undertaken to give him his pill everyday but that didn’t happen a few days this week. The deal is that if he doesn’t take his Adderall, he gets sent to the office for something that day. He tried to blame his behavior on that and was told, Adderall or not, you don’t call anyone a cunt ever. But at the same time, my wife is trying to tell him to learn to behave without it. Well, he and I have a chemical issue in our brains that we fix with medication. It’s like when people with depression are told to get over it or when someone tells me I can get over my type 2 diabetes just by diet and exercise (note-I am a competitive cyclist who could hop on my bike and ride 100 miles tomorrow and my cycling coach monitors my diet, so fuck you very much for that wonderful advice, usually by someone who is overweight and can’t walk around the block). So I have now put it on my calendar and I will give my son his pill everyday. It takes away his excuse and at some point, probably in marriage counseling, I will have the conversation with my wife about his meds and behavior.

Marriage counseling -my wife and I are in marriage counseling. She has refused to go for years by simply saying I am the one with the problem(s) and that I should go to fix my issues. She has always had an issue with anger and also with accountability. I am the guy who thinks he is responsible for everything and she used to keep me off balance by me making me walk on eggshells. Then two things happened. She began using testosterone (implanted in her butt cheek, along with others in her “wives club”) which was supposed to lean her up (she joined the cult of Orangetheory and the shorts have gotten shorter and the bikini’s smaller) and I started on Adderall in June. I may be stating the obvious but one of the side effects of the testosterone is that it causes anger and aggression. So her anger has been out of control. On the other hand, the Adderall causes me to not act emotionally in stressful situations and now instead of shutting down and apologizing for whatever random thing she is pissed off about, I call her out on it. The joint session went ok and I was even prepared to take the whip so that my wife didn’t feel like we were piling up on her. She did get to use some of her key phrases about me being all about me and how self involved I am. When I went to my individual session expecting the therapist to give me some homework and it turned out that she got it. I can’t work on anything because the gist of my wife’s complaints about me was that I do everything wrong. There is no where to start and I may be married to a narcissist with a drinking problem. My wife has an appointment next week so we shall see if she keeps the appointment. I don’t want to get divorced but I also don’t want to keep living this way, especially with my boys seeing all of this but it’s getting harder. One of my life goals was not be like one of my cases but this may not work out. There is no relationship where one person is 100% at fault and I am certainly not perfect (see my previous blog “a Cautionary Tale”). I will deal with my marriage counseling in greater detail in future blog or my divorce.

That’s all for this Friday Blog.

Aloha shirts and issues (some sartorial rules to live by for the middle aged man)

I have been somewhat of a clothes horse since I was a teen aged, now somewhat a youthful looking guy in my mid 50’s (my closest celebrity doppelgänger is Joe Scarborough). In a certain sense, being older frees you up to not jump on to every trend and hopefully age has given you the self awareness to dress for your body type rather than try and squeeze into something that while fashionable, looks ridiculous on you ( The late Scott Weiland (lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots) was quoted as saying “There are a limited amount of years in which you can wear skinny jeans, There comes a point where whether you can or not, you shouldn’t “. I’ve got nothing against skinny jeans per Se for young men that are, well, skinny. I was rocking that look about five years ago and then I caught a look at a young guy who was built like me wearing some Levis 511’s and thought he looked like a California raisin, then I had an “oh shit” moment and out went the 511’s to be replaced by 501’s and 514’s (straight legs, see my previous post on Denim).

It is ok to stick with or go back to classics. In college and law school 83-90, I wore Levis 501, Ralph Lauren polos and button downs and Sperry Top Sider boat shoes and sneakers. Today I wear pretty much the same thing. The cut may change but it’s a classic look. That’s the key word, classic. Nobody wants to see the 40-50 something wearing a logo skinny tee. Clever Graphic tees are awesome for 30 something single guys to wear to brunch. They look sad on the 52 year old at the Catholic High School parents social. Same thing with shoes. I love Vans and the fact that my teenage boys wear them. I wore them for years but I don’t rock the checkers anymore and that’s ok. If you are in my demographic, you can wear Vans but they need to be the solid color Authentic’s or Era’s. The same thing with athletic sneakers, keep them low key, we are too old to be Sneaker Pimps. Lastly for the love of God, stay away from White New Balance sneakers, unless you are going to wear them with jean shorts, live in the Villages (huge retirement community in Central FL) and sport a MAGA hat.

There came a time when I tried to sport the big logo Ralph Lauren Polo’s. Huge mistake, unless you are Argintinean (and really play, think Latin Silver fox with a mustache) or a Narcotrafficante. Any logo’s should be small and understated. I don’t wear Ralph Lauren for the status, I wear it for the quality. I was wearing Polo oxfords from college in the 80’s all the way through the early 2000’s. As I type this, I am wearing a black Ralph Lauren tech polo I’ve had since early 2014 and it looks great. More on tech shirts in a bit. As far as other similar brands, Lacoste is great but the fit can be a little small in the wrong places. Vineyard Vines is great for the younger prep but in your 50’s you’re trying too hard (I do like Whales though).

I live in a warm climate so a lot of guys here wear tech shirts, usually with fish printed on them. That’s ok for some. My tech wear of choice is Patagonia or North Face. Columbia (who actually owns North Face) is great as well. These are adult brands. Again, wear them with pride for their quality and understated logos. I also wear a lot of LL Bean which checks the preppy box and the outdoor/tech box. However, big mistake a lot of guys make is wearing a button up fishing shirt in place of a dress shirt. Big no-no. I have a couple of nice LL Bean tech button downs that are a cool plaid. I wear them anywhere a polo or a tshirt would be appropriate but not with a sport coat or dress pants. I have a friend who wears Levis denim cowboy shirts, the really faded ones, with board shorts and somehow pulls it off, but its probably not a look for everyone.

By this age, you should know how to wear suit and if you have no suit game, I’m not sure I can help. My advice is to go custom. You can get a custom tailored suit for $1000.00. Owning 2 or 3 of these is much better than owning 5 or 6 suited separates. Stick with Blues, Greys and Subtle Plaids. In the South you can even go seersucker. Keep the lapels neutral because these suits last. I have one from 15 years ago that still looks great, I just need to have the pleats taken out of the pants and the legs tailored. A word on pleats, they come in and out of style (currently creeping back in) but they are not for all body types. Tall and slender yes, everyone one else, not so much. Use your ties and socks for creativity. As for your shoes, brown and black wingtips or cap toes for your base but maybe get a little crazy with some dress chukkas.

In Florida, where I live, it seems like a lot of older men revert to wearing Hawaiian or Aloha shirts as their go to. This is ok sometimes, especially if you are married and your wife doesn’t care. They look great down at the Elks club. I recently wore one of mine (purchased on my honeymoon in 2002) to an event and I liked it, except the sleeves were a bit long. Reyn Spooner (the Cadillac of Aloha Shirts) is now making them fitted with a button down collar, I may have to test drive one. Tommy Bahama is another popular brand with married guys. It shows up a lot in Facebook Posts of my male clients before their divorce when they were overweight, emasculated and miserable. They don’t wear them as much after the divorce when they have lost the weight and started getting laid again. In fact most of them dress like I have written above, understated, body specific, flattering and classic. Words to dress by.

Denim heads

Confession time, I am a recovering denim head. What’s a denim head you say? A denim head is a guy or gal who is into raw denim, often shrink to fit that fade naturally, often with selvedge. Before the 1940s, all Denim was shrink to fit which meant that every new pair of jeans would shrink about 10% over the life of the jean until the process of Sanforizing was developed. Sanforizing is the process by which denim fabric is prewashed and shrunk before being sewn into jeans.

For a time, I had a small collection (and fortune) of LVC vintage fit Levis 501’s in models from 1947, 1954, 1967 and 1976, each retailing between $200 and $300 a pair. The jeans were not just clothing, they were a process. There are many theories about shrink to fit and I practiced on some regular 501 Shrink to fits before graduating to the big leagues. First you have to know how to upsize as they literally shrink to fit. The waist is not as much an issue because the raw denim stretches about 1-2″ with wear. The proper length is the key. You can’t stretch the length but you can roll it up. Each time I would get the jeans, I would fill up the bathtub with warm, not hot, water and throw in a cap of Dr. Bonners soap. Then you soak the jeans inside out for twenty minutes than let hang dry. Some people wear them damp or wet but I found that doing that blows out the knees (yes I have worn them in the bathtub and also wore them wet). Then just wear them, a lot after they dry.

The problem with me being a denim head is that those jeans really only look good with a black t shirt and either boots or Vans. They dont really go well for business casual or with boat shoes. The real denim heads wear them with Red Wing boots. But I live in Florida and I have to wash my jeans more often than the every six months recommended. Also the vintage jeans are heavy 12-14 oz denim. When they shrink they become heavier. They also fit like, well 1947 jeans. The idea is that over time they conform to your body and the fades are yours not artificial. But really who has four years to wear jeans until they break in when for $40-60 Levi.com will happily sell you a pair that fits right off the bat in straight, tapered, skinny, slim or even athletic fit. They can have stretch or not and every shade of denim. The last straw was when my wife started asking why I was wearing big leg jeans and I felt like a Grease case member always wearing dark jeans turned up and a black t. I hope the vintage Levis found a happy home after the Goodwill,

Currently, I prefer regular, non shrink to fit, normal human wearing, Levis 501s (button flys straight leg) or Levis 514 (straight leg lower rise) in various dark and medium washes with a bit of stretch. I also have a few pair of Levis 511s (slim straight fit) upsized to a 36 waist so they dont fit like skinny jeans. But writing this blog makes me think, maybe I’ll order a pair of regular 501 shrink to fits, fill up the bathtub and ……


It’s been awhile but there used to be a show called “Everyone Loves Raymond”. The main character, Raymond, played by actor Ray Romano, was a somewhat bumbling likeable guy who was married to a strong confident woman. Raymond was always finding himself in situations where his own bad choices resulted in his wife both rescuing and lecturing him. Raymond was an archetype often found on television where the man of the family was outsmarted by his children, tolerated by his loving, patient yet far intellectually superior wife and generally seen as a likeable idiot. The problem with the show was that it seems like every woman that is married to someone I know watched that show and pigeon holed their husband as that guy.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about men. We aren’t all idiots even though arguably we have all made some bad choices. The problem with media portrayal of married men as idiots is that it goes counter to trust in a relationship. I’m not talking about trust as far as being faithful. I am talking about trusting your partner to be competent in simple things like changing a light bulb, picking a restaurant or god help us, grilling meat. That lack of trust leads to constant questioning and self doubt. Every relationship has a division of labor. If both partners trust each other to perform whatever things they each do correctly, life goes a lot better than busting each other’s chops. At the end of the day, most men just want a chance to be excellent for their partners. It’s the partner’s job to give them that opportunity. Raymond was a character not a role model