BLACK SOCKS

Boyleing Points
Typography

It’s been said before that the shortest list in the world is the list of Rockaway’s Best Dressed Men.  The Rockaway Top 10 has, maybe, four guys on it.  Not that I’ve ever actually seen these guys but they must be out there, right?  If you see somebody looking dapper, you first assume that they don’t live here.

Somebody I know was trying to give away a suit he said cost $1500.  He got no takers, though another guy told him he had overpaid by $1400.  T-shirts and tank tops are standard wear. Polo or golf shirts are dress-up, big boy clothes.

You pretty much can get away with anything. Though, some guys might consider graduating to extra-large (bypassing large) because that medium t-shirt now looks like a bib and it makes people notice. That’s really the point of men’s Rockaway fashion – not to be noticed. 

It’s ok not to care what you’re wearing but don’t be so careless that you draw attention to yourself – like wearing black socks with shorts. There was a family howl last week when I threw on some black socks and sneakers for a quick trip to the store.

You would have NEVER done that just a few years ago, the darling wife said in stunned astonishment. You would have been ALL OVER anybody who had the nerve.  You would’ve made fun of the European look. 

Yeah, but at least I’m not wearing a speedo or banana hammock, I retorted.

Not yet, she said. But this is how it starts.

Yeah, but hipsters on skateboards, they wear black socks, too.  She just shook her head and gave me the look that said: you’ve given up.

I think the opposite. Black socks mean I’m evolving, that a sense of style might yet develop. And the thing is, what’s the alternative? White socks? White socks were the only choice for decades, but those suckers are starting to look a little weird. I’ve noticed how old guys start pulling them up higher. I don’t want to be one of those guys yet. I don’t want to be wearing knee-high whites with sandals.

A few days after being told not to leave the house with black socks, I had another fashion crisis. I was meeting someone in the city and put on a button-down shirt and dungarees (oops, I mean jeans, no one says dungarees anymore). The son who will remain nameless says, what are you doing?  What are you trying to do?

What? I gotta go into the city and –

You dress like such a dad. 

What am I supposed to do?

Forget it, he says. And walks off.

I call after him, what am I supposed to do? I don’t know how to dress; I live in Rockaway.

He’s gone, no help. I look in the mirror. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been wearing dungarees since… well, my whole life. Am I supposed to be wearing the same style of pants 40 years later? White socks are starting to scare me but dungarees – dunges – they still seem ok.  Maybe he was talking about the shirt.  It was short sleeved.  That might be lame.  Was I supposed to tuck it in or not?

I got on the ferry and everybody started talking about me, but it wasn’t in English, so I didn’t care. On the way home, I saw a couple of Rockaway guys in suit jackets. They looked miserable. I didn’t care that my shirt was tucked in. Nobody seemed to notice: the only goal in Rockaway men’s fashion.

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