Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Best Accessory

By Blake Friis

I don't have a great eye for fashion. I buy the shirt and tie combo on the department store mannequin and call it a day. If it’s good enough to display at Kohl’s, it’s good enough for a spot in my work/wedding/funeral rotation.

I am not someone you would seek out for advice on accessorizing, but I picked up a piece last spring that has made ALL the difference. If you don’t already have a baby, you must get one. They go with everything and will genuinely change the way people look at you.

My go-to outfit of gym shorts, flip-flops, and a backwards baseball cap was rock solid, but there was gradual change in the way it was received beyond my mid-twenties. Many seemed to find it downright pathetic as I neared 30. I strategically paired the ensemble with an array of slow-pitch softball league runner-up T-shirts for gravitas, but the disapproval from the grown-up community intensified.

A baby wasn’t my first attempt to accessorize my way out of a sartorial shit storm. I wore a watch, but its impact fell short. I wore a cross necklace outside my shirt, thinking surely a man of faith would be given a pass on his choice in mere Earthly rags, but the pretentious dickwads didn’t budge. It looked like I was on the verge of retiring college sophomore chic for the world of khakis, button-downs, and styled hair, which would mean showering on Saturdays! If that’s growing up, consider me a Toys ‘R’ Us kid.

When I got a Toys ‘R’ Us kid of my own the game changed dramatically.

There are many great reasons to embark on the journey of parenthood. An uncharacteristically warm reception from the most judgmental people in the neighborhood is rarely listed among them, but it’s nice nonetheless. Some of the snootiest people I know are disarmingly pleasant when they see a baby in my arms.

An adult wearing sweatpants while not purposely breaking a sweat is branded lazy. Sweatpants paired with a baby indicate an active parent far too busy and selfless to be burdened with wardrobe decisions.  Kudos for putting your children ahead of such superficial concerns, Stranger!

Many view a backwards baseball cap on a 30-year-old man as a sad dose of Peter Pan syndrome, unless the 30-year-old is holding a baby wearing the same backwards baseball cap. That shit is just adorable.

The best in human nature is on display when you carry a baby in public. Everyone you encounter sends good vibes and totally disregards the fact your outfits are not appropriate for your age – unless of course you are a woman, in which case the same people who pardon my Pensacola Hooters t-shirt with the armpit holes think you look a little skanky and wonder if the man you’re with is even the father of your child. Sorry, Ladies.

Babies have a quality unmatched in their adult counterparts; they are incapable of being assholes. Now, mathematically speaking, many of your children will surely grow up to be assholes, but in the baby stage they possess a blank canvas quality that seems to bring out the best in people. Perhaps it is the inherent innocence or the endless possibility for a brighter future. That’s a little deep. It’s probably because babies have cute cheeks and “wook so ado-uh-bull in dare wittle hat”.

If you question society’s capacity for warmth and goodwill, I offer the same recommendation as if you requested feedback on your acid-washed jeans and a Who Farted T-shirt: you need a baby.

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