Just a Bit Outside

(with apologies to the lad from Shropshire)

 
 

“Now come on check the threads you wear

 

A public man should take more care

 

The crowd in which you try to shine

 

Is found in tux or Calvin Klein

 

How can you be so out of touch

 

Or say it doesn’t matter much?

 

Success is based on how you look

 

So read GQ and not old books

 

It’s image that the game’s about

 

If fair hides foul, then foul wins out

 

So as you head to this year’s show

 

Lest buyers there might think you slow

 

Armani suits and Gucci shoes

 

To ply for jobs from those who choose

 

As each king needs a courtesan

 

Best show up like a fancy dan

 

Forget about your facile rhymes

 

You must change ways for changing times.”

 

Sometimes my clothes come back in style

 

Though usually it takes a while

 

Still, I have shed at least one tear

 

So far removed from any peer

 

And wondered if I’d been a catch

 

Had I but got my clothes to match

 

I was aware of recent trends

 

But just in time for them to end

 

When ties were narrow, mine were wide

 

When mine were plain, the rest were dyed

 

I’d put them on and look a wreck

 

They’d hardly fit around my neck

 

In buying what I thought was cool

 

Sartorially misfit fool.

 

I’ve watched thin models on a ramp

 

Worn pants so tight I got a cramp

 

And I was told my hair gelled slick

 

Would cause my social life to click

 

“Look in the glass before a date,

 

Stop leaving love so much to fate.”

 

Laugh’s on them, the mocking many

 

It’s sure I haven’t been on any

 

Yes, work was needed on my mug

 

Far more than caps, a tuck, a rug

 

I lacked the look to put me in

 

My Cyranose, receding chin

 

And only had this homely face

 

When two’s best in a tribal race

 

Did my persona need a hat,

 

A scarf, a toss, a ring, less fat?

 

Yes, I’ve attended many balls

 

And felt like I’d worn coveralls

 

Or dined where I was at a loss

 

Among those sporting Hugo Boss

 

Shy shuffled there in gaiter spats

 

Amidst the cool and tommy cats.

 
 

Secluded from the staring pack

 

I could appear without my act

 

But heard my friends dress on the phone

 

De Toqueville’s right, there’s need to clone

 

Though shirts must never be the same

 

It’s tricky in this costume game

 

To be unique means Levi jeans

 

The product of an ad man’s dreams

 

We despair of disparity

 

I must be you, you must be me.

 

My friend, your garb is all the rage

 

You choose right from the catwalk stage

 

When wild is hip, for sure you`re bad

 

And so in tune with the all the fads

 

Yet past the garments that you wear

 

A sense a gap still lingers there

 

Adorned in body, not in soul

 

Still seeking more to make you whole

 

While shadows walk behind your life

 

You show your chic but not your strife

 

And fear that these are roots untrue –

 

In simple things I wait for you.

 

I’m not made for Emperor’s clothes

 

Or for lapels that hold a rose

 

I know where custom rules, I guess

 

That like my hair, my life’s a mess

 

For sure I’d get the old heave-ho

 

If I turned up in Savile Row

 

And what would Mr. Housman say

 

To see me pouting on this way

 

Would he not think me some naïve –

 

For doubting when I best believe?

 

Lauren does more than Shakespeare can

 

To verify man’s way to man

 

Oh, I have been to clothiers fair

 

And left my good taste god knows where

 

Yet laid out on my bed it seems

 

My latest hopes for dandy dreams

 

But then I saw me in the mirror

 

Despite new things, I still looked queer

 

The haberdasher’d tried his job

 

Heigh-ho – but I was still a slob.

 

My face, it was my old face yet,

 

And I was I, to some regret.

 

If ’tis stylish you’d have things be,

 

There’s better dressing lads than me.

 

Here is what I know ’bout fashion –

 

Wool – is what I get a rash in.

 
 
 
Copyright © 1999 Paul Heno

 
 
 
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