The Luv Doc: The Man of Your Dreams
Either you care how people are dressed, or you don’t
Dear Luv Doc,
After only about a year of dating, my boyfriend has totally given up on trying to look nice. When we first started going out, he always looked like he put a lot of thought into what he was wearing. Now he always looks like he just got back from the gym. Full disclosure: He got laid off in June and has been having trouble finding a decent job. I have been trying not to nag him too much, but the way he has been dressing makes it seem like he has given up on life. Now I am worried he has also given up on me. What should I do?
Good news, Candy! You don't have to nag him at all. You also don't have to worry that I am going to tell you to break up with this loser. I'm not. It seems to me that this fellow is just one decent job and a nice set of clothes away from becoming the man of your dreams! That doesn't sound like too much of a challenge. After all, only a year ago he was both employed and able to dress nicely without your help. I am not trying to say you won the boyfriend lotto, but I would say you're at least batting a solid .500.
Look, losing a job is never easy on the ego. I should know. I have lost plenty myself, and it's extra tough when you get canned by someone you don't even like or respect. I once got fired by a guy who looked and sounded almost exactly like Chris Farley's SNL character Matt Foley. You remember – the one who lived in a van down by the river?
It's easy to see the hilarity in his bumbling termination speech these days – "Hey Dan, maybe you're just not ready to represent Renault" – but back then, it seemed like saddling people with debt by selling shitty French sedans was well above my pay grade. Thankfully, it still is. After he fired me, I never saw that guy again, so it's entirely possible he actually did live in a van down by the river.
As bad as I was at it, selling cars introduced me to the term "business casual," which as a fashion term is just absolutely useless. If you invite me to something with a business casual dress code, I will be showing up in either a tux or sweatpants, because fuck you. Same goes for "shabby chic." Either you care how people are dressed, or you don't. If someone shows up in a thong at your wedding, it's not because you didn't specify a dress code; it's because you have shitty friends ... or shitty relatives. Either way, you shouldn't have invited them in the first place.
But back to your increasingly slobby boyfriend. Here's what you do: Tell him you started dating him because he used to dress like he wasn't clinically depressed. Tell him it made you proud to be with him, because he used to look like he didn't just crawl out from under a cardboard box. Tell him that this is your expectation henceforth, and that while you are willing to help him find his inner fashion flower, his not giving a fuck is no longer negotiable. Not in fashion, and not in life. Just remember: Truly inspirational people lead by example, so you have to be ready to walk the walk – even if it's a catwalk.