Fashion is such a weird and wonderful thing. And I speak with all the authority of someone who spent hours watching Fashion Tv when it first launched. Though I should also quickly confess that my watching FTv had nothing to do with fashion and all to do with the gorgeous international models and well, let’s say, slightly skimpy sheer clothing. So as I was saying, there are fashion choices that don’t make sense to me. I mean, yes you need to look presentable. But somehow I doubt walking into an interview in a crisp, new suit with a cowboy hat (as they sometimes demonstrate on these fashion shows) will get you that job. Unless you’re interviewing for the position of Head-trainer at a ranch maybe.
Though not a fashionista by any definition of the word, having lived in quite a few metropolitan cities, I’ve been privileged enough to observe some rather strange and unique fashion choices. Whilst I am not going to go into a detailed report of those, I must say this. Perhaps the stupidest fashion choice I’ve seen so far, is this sudden invasion of the low-rise jeans over the past decade. Also known in my world as either “Wanna see my underwear?” jeans or “Wanna see my bum-crack?” jeans, depending on the kind of (or lack of) inner wear. And sadly this “bum-ster syndrome” as I call it, is something that seems to have affected both genders (and others) equally. Anyway I digress.
I went shopping the other day. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Now, that’s not a statement that you hear everyday from a man!”. It’s true. I’m not so much into this retail therapy madness. Ok, maybe if I am shopping for gadgets. But for clothes ? Meh. Unless I really have to, I won’t. You see, I’m a rather overweight chap (I prefer the word physically disproportionate or better yet, round. Round is a shape, no?). So finding clothes that fit is, well, an arduous task. No, it wasn’t always like this. But my love for food, combined with a lack of physical activity and a rather severe hypothyroid condition which went undiscovered for several years, all collectively resulted in where I am and my shape today.
Back when I was in the UK, finding clothes that fit was rather easy. In a country, where even the average teenager had a much larger waist size than me, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually fell into the category of “normal-sized” people. So in reality, when I suddenly had to go shopping for clothes the very first time since I’d moved back to India, I was quite optimistic. I naively assumed that with so many big brands vying for market share, they would all cater to the needs of people of all shapes and sizes. After all, the labels on almost all the clothes that I had ever bought in the UK, stated proudly that they were made in India. But oh no! I was about to discover a whole new world of shopping pain.
As part of this “impromptu shopping spree”, we decided to try one of the larger shopping malls in Bangalore. All the big brands were under one roof and surely at least a couple of them would have thought of catering to the needs of “large disproportionate” men such as myself. So off I hankered into the men’s section. A bunch of salesmen cautiously approached me with their measuring tapes in tow. “Can I help you, sir?” asked one of them politely. “No, I’m alright!” I replied, sharply dismissing them with a wave of my hand. Kind of made me feel like a king, that act. I was confident that I could find a pair of well-fitting jeans in no time. After all, I knew my waist size and height. What I didn’t realise was that my waist size didn’t exist for most of the “ultra-cool” modern brands. Not one to give up hope, I continued to hunt and finally managed to find 3 pairs that boldly announced the waist size that I was after. With these tucked under my arm, I marched confidently into the trial room. Alas, my nightmare was only about to begin.
The very first pair I tried on, never actually made it past my “muscular” thighs. I carefully took them off and looked at the size. Yes, I’d gotten the waist size right. But what I’d missed was this tiny little tag on the label that said “Slim Tapered”. On closer observation, it revealed all kinds of details about the pair, the key one being - “Slim through thighs”. “No wonder they didn’t fit!” I thought. But then again, I was also secretly curious to find out who that rather unique person was, who had my waist size and such pencil-thin thighs. The second pair fared much better. It actually made it to my waist. The problem started when I tried to button them up. I tried everything I could think of - holding my stomach in and even clenching my butt. But nothing helped. And then finally I huffed and puffed like the big bad wolf in the three little pigs, and managed to button it up. By this point, I was sweating profusely and I wasn’t even done yet. I still had to pull up the zip. After another five minutes of unsuccessfully trying to zip up the jeans, I stopped trying. Huffing, puffing and panting again, I vetoed yet another pair of jeans. Or rather they’d vetoed me. All my hopes now rested on the final pair of jeans that hung comfortably off the hanger. It stared mockingly at me, almost daring me to give it a try. Wondering what fresh hell it was about to unleash, I decided to give it a go. To my surprise, it not just made the journey up to my waist quite comfortably, but I was able to button it up well and good without having to decide which bone in my body I needed to break.
Whilst I was standing there with the triumphant look of finally having managed to find a pair that fit me, there was a loud knock on the door followed by a rather melodious “Are you done yet Sid? We need to hurry!”. I smiled and quickly bundled up the “fitting” pair of jeans. But not before I glared at the other pairs that were now hanging off the hooks. “Jeans - Zero, Sid - One” I said out aloud as I quickly walked to the counter to pay the rather exorbitant sum of money for this single pair of jeans.
My wife and I had planned to go out for a nice dinner and I decided that this was the best time to cavort around in my new pair of “branded” jeans that I’d paid a fortune for. Just like in the trial room, the jeans once again, slid up comfortably. Quite pleased with myself, I turned around to look at the mirror to admire my rather snug fitting profile. And that’s when I noticed that my boxers had made an appearance, peeking rather coyly over the waist band of the jeans. Wondering why I hadn’t noticed this the other day, I did what any self-respecting man would have done. I tried to pull up the jeans at the waist. But no matter how hard I tugged, the jeans refused to rise enough to cover the label and brand of my inner wear. As I frantically tried to think of ideas that would help me cover this up, I noticed a tag on the jeans . In bold red letters they exclaimed, Speciality Low Rise jeans - for the man who likes to flaunt.
As someone who hated (and still hates) the concept of low rise/waist jeans, the irony of the fact that I now had to settle for these sort of jeans, was not lost on me. So what did I do? Well, I did what any sensible man would do. I’m now the proud owner of a number of Calvin Klein boxer shorts. After all, the world says “If you've got it, flaunt it!”.Except that in this case, “It” refers to an expensive pair of intimate wear. Fashion is a weird thing indeed.
Let me leave you with this parting image. Tada - the future of jeans :)
I let out a sigh of relief. My international flight was scheduled for take off in an hour and I was thanking my lucky stars that I had been able to make it to the airport, even if it was with minutes to spare. I was flying back to London after a short break with my parents in Dubai, and despite having made the journey from my home to Dubai International Airport numerous times, my father had somehow managed to take a couple of wrong turns, which meant we ended up travelling half the way to Abu Dhabi (another emirate about 150kms away) before we were en route to the airport. But I really can’t blame my father entirely on this front. There are days when everything can possibly go wrong, and today was just one of those days. In retrospect, I should have guessed that something was going to go wrong, the moment I put my hand into the toiletry bag and realised that my shampoo had leaked. But being optimistic, I didn’t take it to heart, and just blamed it on my “rather unprofessional” packing skills. Of course this meant that I not only had to change my toiletry bag, but also my suitcase, since there was a large off-white stain seeping through the top, which I wasn’t keen on having to explain to anyone. So after 20 minutes of hastily re-packing everything (or as my mother calls it - dumping everything haphazardly) into another suitcase, I was finally packed and ready to go. The only thing that was left for me to do, was to quickly change my clothes and we could be on our way.
Having broached the subject of clothes, there is a confession that I must make. Whilst on long-haul flights, or any flight that’s over three hours in duration, there are only two T-shirts that I prefer to wear. Since I’d worn one of them on my flight to Dubai a couple of days ago, this only left me with one other option. Of course, I had plenty of other shirts and tees, but consider this one of my, let’s say idiosyncrasies (though some of them call it being superstitious - a word that I vehemently dislike). As I pull down this particular t-shirt over my head, I hear a loud ripping sound. I glance down, only to realise that there was now a large tear where I had grasped the t-shirt (probably too tightly) to pull it down. That should have been my second sign, that the day was not really going to go according to plan. But once again, optimism took over cynicism and I swapped my torn T-shirt for another shirt. An hour behind schedule, we were finally on our way to the airport.
After the ceremonial good-byes were said and tears shed, I quickly ran to the baggage drop counter. Usually the queue for this counter is the fastest moving one, regardless of which airlines you’re flying on or which airport you’re flying from. I mean, that’s usually the benefit of having checked in online, isn’t it? And since I’d made it to the airport before the check-in counter closed (even if it was just minutes before), I was sure that my ill-luck was going to turn around. Alas, fate had other plans. The queue was moving at a snail’s pace and I was starting to get really impatient. I quickly waved to one of the airline support staff who was shepherding the queue and informed him that I was running really late for my flight. Though he initially gave me a look, which I could only construe as “So? That’s not my fault !”, I suspect good sense prevailed and he helped me skip the queue and drop my luggage.
As I quickly rushed through security and immigration, I heard a strange name being announced via the public-address system. It sounded strangely familiar, but vaguely alien too. After a couple of repeated hearings, I suddenly realised why the name sounded familiar. It was my name, but coated in a thick Arabic accent. I rushed up the escalator in an attempt to find a directional signboard which would direct me to my boarding gate. I quickly glanced at my boarding pass, which boldly announced my boarding gate as C49. I looked around to find out where I was, and noticed a large interactive panel, which stated “Looking for your gate? Find out here!”. Thinking that it must be a sign from above, I let the strange looking machine scan my boarding pass. And then it loudly announced, with almost a Scarlett Johansson-esque voice “You are approximately 20 minutes away from your boarding gate. The gate will close in exactly 13 minutes”. Cursing my fate again, I take a deep breath, and make a run for it. Now, since I’m largely overweight, and can be categorised under the shape “Round”, I suspect that for an on-looker, I might have appeared akin to a rather large beige snowball, rolling towards its destination. But one thing I’ve always prided myself in, is the fact that I can run pretty fast. Well, faster than what you’d expect from a fat person. You know why? Because I always assume that there’s some lovely food waiting for me at finish line. And my "athletic" skills didn’t fail me this time either; I reached the gates (albeit huffing, panting and sweating like I’d just run a marathon) with 2 minutes to spare.
The pretty looking airline ground staff took one look at me and slightly wrinkled her nose. I knew why. No amount of Davidoff Cool Water or Armani Code perfume could mask that lovely odour that I was giving out. Silently I followed her through the air bridge and into the aircraft, where a pleasant looking steward directed me to my seat. As I walked down the aisle, I noticed that almost everyone was staring at me. I timidly walked up to the row that I was designated to sit in. As luck would have it, I’d been allotted a window seat. And not just that, the seat next to me was empty. I almost squealed with delight, because as any experienced air traveller can tell you, having two seats to yourself automatically qualifies you for an enjoyable flight. But again, fate, or in this case I call it, Murphy’s law, decided to rear its ugly head.
As I buckled up my seat belt, and took deep breaths to calm myself down, I heard the muffled sound of pointed heels against the carpeted aircraft floor. Assuming that it was the stewardess bringing me some water, I looked up with a smile on my face. But alas it wasn’t the stewardess. Rather it was one of the most gorgeous looking women that I’d ever seen (Of course my wife is way hotter). Now here’s a bit of insight into men and air travel, or rather any kind of travel. If we’re travelling alone, every one of us (and I mean every one) secretly hopes that we have a pretty companion as a co-traveller. If it’s someone who can also indulge in a bit of chit-chat, then trust me, we are really happy campers. And as a man, I couldn’t believe that I’d struck what we called the “travel-lottery”. Alas, it was one of those days when I could have really done without a pretty companion, or any companion for that matter. But Murphy is evil. Not only did he seat a gorgeous woman next to me, he seated a gorgeous woman who was talkative and rather flirtatious, next to me. And here I was, unable to continue the chit chat because I was conscious of my rather dishevelled appearance and body odour.
With a heavy heart, I excused myself, plugged in my headphones and pretended to fall asleep, all the while cursing my bad luck. Ironically, I did actually manage to fall asleep, and when I got up a few hours later, my pretty neighbour was deep in flirtatious conversation with a rather dapper looking gentleman, who was sat in the aisle seat in the next column. “That could have been me!” I thought, once again cursing Murphy and his dreaded law. And that’s when it struck me. I did have a spare shirt in my hand luggage and all the other luxury toiletries that I needed, to re-invent myself and make an impact on this damsel. With that in mind, I gathered my spare shirt and the toiletry bag, and popped into the aircraft washroom. Now, if you’ve travelled by air, you’ll know that aircraft toilets have severe space constraints. So trying to dress up there, is not really the best option in the world. But since I didn’t have much of a choice, contorting my body in almost impossible ways, I managed to change my shirt and freshen up. And that’s when I heard the familiar ding of the “seat-belt sign” chime.
Content that she’d have to put on her seat belt and hence couldn’t stretch over and talk to the other man, I happily walked over to my row. I heard a melodious giggle from the row of seats adjacent to mine (yes, the very one that that dapper man was sitting in). And that’s when I noticed that the pretty damsel was no longer sitting next to me. She was sitting next to the man, giggling away at what I can only assume was one of his jokes. Sighing, I glanced at what was originally her seat, i.e. the one next to mine. Sitting there comfortably with her librarian glasses and reading the bible, was an elderly nun.
Cursing Mr. Murphy once again, I slowly slid into my seat. It was going to be a long, lonely flight.
[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "Comedy of Errors: Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”]
Quite honestly, I don’t accurately remember when I started reading Rachna’s blog. I do remember that it was during one of my crazy blog-hop frenzies. And I was glad that I’d stumbled upon this little treasure trove of interesting posts. A multi-faceted writer, there is one clear word to describe Rachna’s approach to writing, be it her personal blogs or her other literary contributions - Professional. The posts on her personal blog can vary from parenting to social issues and emotional to hilarious, and in her own words “is a strong reflection of my thinking, opinions, perceptions and wisdom”. So needless to say, when she asked me for a guest post, I was more than happy to oblige. And being the very patient person that she is, she waited. And waited. And waited. Until one day, out of the blue, I decided to pen it. Truth be told, the only reason that I delayed the post was to make sure that my post would fit in with her other top-class pieces of literary artwork.
So without any further ado, here’s a snippet of my guest post for the lovely Rachna Parmar.
“So, what do you do?” asked my first cousin’s wife’s sister’s husband’s father whilst he sipped on some lovely coffee that my wife had served. I almost spat out my coffee in surprise. It was the first time that I’d met this person and this was the question that he chose to start off the conversation with.
“Umm…Well, I am an aspiring writer. I also do a bit of content writing for some websites. And some basic graphic designing too” I reply. “I work from home, so I get to spend time with Rishi too” I quickly add, pointing at my little one who’s busy in the corner, trying to uproot a potted plant. The only reason that I’d added that last statement about working from home, was to ensure that I wasn’t asked a follow-up “why” question. But that didn’t really work out.
“But, aren’t you an engineer? That too with a Masters degree from abroad? And so many years of experience working in London? And you want to make a career in writing?” queries the man, seriousness oozing from his every word.
Flashing him a grin worthy of a toothpaste advert, I reply, “Yes, I am. And this is what I do!”. Though I sense that he is quite dissatisfied with my answer, he returns to reading the newspaper whilst I rush to stop my little one from uprooting another plant.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about the post. Feel free to drop your comments either here or on Rachna's blog and I promise to reply soon :)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the versatile, the handsome, the quintessential ladies' (and some men’s) man - Two times Academy Award winner, three times Golden Globe Award winner, two times People’s sexiest man alive winner (almost 10 years apart that too) - George Clooney.
(*clap clap* Really? That’s the best you can do? No standing ovation? Shame on you people !)
Ok, so I haven’t really got George Clooney on my blog. Do you really think I’d be sitting here and writing for a living if I did? Well, writing maybe, more like Hollywood scripts. But more on that later. No, this post is more of my musing on why women (ok, I generalise,
some women, make that most women) think George Clooney has got "IT".
Now, let me put up a couple of disclaimers here: This post is just the result of some social research conducted by yours truly, along with some help from "Mr.Google". And it’s just my opinion. You may choose to agree with it, or dish it if you want. I just mean for this to be a fun post and hope you enjoy reading it. Oh, and yeah, I’ve got nothing against the man. I think he’s a brilliant actor/director/producer/screenwriter and humanitarian. So let’s jump in shall we?
Some of you may remember this, because of my recent Facebook status message. The question was “Why do women go gaga over George Clooney?” which included an amazing little snapshot of the man, which really made some women (including happily married ones) go kind of weak at the knees. No, I’m not being judgemental. It wasn’t really just what is often categorised as sex appeal; there is something more about the man that causes women to sit up and take notice. Even women who don’t know who he is (yes, apparently they exist).
Look at him - he is healthy and fit, but without the six-packs that seem to go hand in hand with almost every Hollywood heartthrob; he has, almost single-handedly, helped make salt-and-pepper hair fashionable, in an age where even the Superstars (especially Indian ones) resort to hair-dyes and the likes; and in an age where Botox injections are the norm, he is someone who never takes the extra effort to hide the lines on his forehead, the bags under his eyes or the laugh lines around his eyes. So yes, along with every other man, (and before you ask, we've all wondered about it. Some men just wont agree to it) I’ve often wondered, what is this “IT” that women say he’s got?
Yes, he’s improbably handsome, is famous and has a big bank account. But so do a lot of other big names. And after some interesting research (I know, I’m a tad curious occasionally), here’s what I think Mr. Clooney’s “IT” factor is. No - stop smiling now. It's not that. Actually it’s a combination of traits that makes him appear attractive.
Personality & Physical traits
Though he’s been referred to as “sexy” a few times, GC (yes, that’s what he’ll be referred to as hence forth on this post) is more frequently described as stylish, charismatic, suave and friendly. If you look at any of the characters he’s played (even the more serious ones) or any of his interviews or even his award speeches, there is just one in a billion chance that you’d think he’s arrogant or snooty. He comes across as a charming person (might not be true, but he exudes that friendly persona well).
He’s extremely fit (once again, not the artificial six-pack kind of fit, but healthy fit) at 52, when most of us (me included) haven't been in that kind of shape since our twenties. His “dreamy eyes” (that was quoted by some of the women I spoke to, I have no idea what dreamy eyes are) have been described as both insightful and intense. A big part of his appeal is that he has this kind of bad-boy image with good guy looks. He is cheeky funny with the ability to be serious. Ok, I’m going to stop with the traits there, before I feel like I should jump off a cliff for having none of those traits.
Monotone Vocal characteristics
Whilst most women haven’t mentioned this, GC’s monotone voice plays an extremely huge part in his appeal with women. And there’s now scientific research to prove that. A study that was carried out at universities in California and Pennsylvania actually found that men whose frequency of voice varied the least reported the most …well…sexual relationships. And this goes hand in hand with the language they used, which when combined with their monotone voice indicated signs of being in control of a situation, more independence and dominance, in a good way of course. So for those men who’ve been blessed with monotone and controlled voices, do not despair or worry that you’ll send your partners or spouses to sleep with your controlled tones - one of the world’s most desirable men is the ultimate Monotone man.
Still not convinced - just watch these clips “What’s in your backpack?” from his movie “Up in the Air”. If you actually read it, it’s pretty dry and you may miss the whole point. But somehow GC, with his brilliant monotone voice makes you see the picture. And you’ll realise the impact of what I said. So turn up the volume and if you can take your eye off this brilliant action, close them and listen.
By celebrity standards, GC is someone whose name is almost never heard being dragged through the mud. Yet, he’s in the news for all the right reasons. Yes, he’s probably had his share of “remarks” but for someone who is talked about as much a he is, GC has done remarkably well to keep his private life…well private. And that is one of the things that makes him really appealing to the opposite sex
Sense of Humor
This is a tricky one. Humor is one of the first things that most women look for in a men. Don’t ask me why. I’m just stating the obvious answer to the question that has been thrown at women - celebs and non-celebs alike - “What do you look for in a man?”.
The irony is that humor alone will not get anyone through a relationship. It might help make in-roads, but it’s quite rare that it lasts. The key is to be witty. If you have the ability to think on your feet, not take yourself too seriously and make light of situations, it can often get you out of a lot of things. GC’s self depreciating humor is quite endearing. If you watch any of his interviews, you’ll notice that he uses his humor to effortlessly side step any of those unwanted questions that he doesn’t want to answer. And yet, the host or the interviewer is not offended in anyway. Now, that takes almost a lifetime to perfect, and just adds to his overall appeal. And his almost (might I add freakishly) perfect teeth doesn’t hurt either.Another way that he manages to balance out his humor is that he has the ability to make fun of himself as well as those around him.
Acts his age
Once again, in todays age, when people do everything in their power to try and retain their youth for as long as possible, GC comes across as someone who has never been afraid of his age. Actually, most people know him as the guy with salt-and-pepper hair. As one of the ladies I spoke to artfully put it, “He’s embraced his middle-age so gracefully. He’s not so young to be out of anyone’s league, and not that old to be undesirable”. He comes across as someone who is confident about his age and experience, and women seem to admire that in him. Here's an excerpt from one of his interviews in Playboy magazine - “You don't want to try to look younger because you’ll look wrong. You dye your hair, you look wrong. You wear a bad toupee, you look wrong. You wear makeup to hide things, you get your eyes done, you look wrong.”
And you know what, it’s worked brilliantly for him.
Impeccable Sense of Dressing
I don’t think a lot of us (including men) will argue against this point. GC is one of the most well-dressed celebrities around. And of course it doesn’t hurt that he looks brilliant in a tux or a suit. Though I’m no fashion expert, his general dressing sense is kind of the right mix of classic and modern, which goes well with his almost consistent hair-do. And this is about a good time for me to remind you of something that I’d mentioned in one of my posts : Women are more attracted to men who take the time to groom themselves and dress well (Ref: Interpreting women - Guest post for Rekha Nair Dhyani) And as GC shows, grooming doesn’t always mean a trendy hair cut or that expensive suit; you could look just as presentable in black tee and denim jeans, provided you pay attention to the little details such as washing, ironing and general hygiene. But you’ve got to admit - the man looks pretty stylish even in a pair of shorts and a shirt.
George Clooney is someone who has time and again spoken out on a number of political and social causes. And somehow he always diverts the media’s attention onto the actual situation. Typically in these cases, when celebrities try to be good-will ambassadors, they’re in the news a lot. However with GC, despite the media coverage that surrounds his humanitarian work, he almost never lets the story become about him. When he was awarded the Bob Hope Humanitarian award in 2010 for his work in Dafur and exceptional efforts to mobilize the entertainment industry in service during crises. He signed off his acceptance speech with the following statement:
“ It's important to remember how much good can get done, because we live in such strange times where bad behavior sucks up all the attention and press. And the people who really need the spotlight: the Haitians, the Sudanese, people in the Gulf Coast.. Pakistan, they can't get any. When the disaster happens, everybody wants to help, everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help. The hard part is seven months later, five years later, when we're on to a new story.
Honestly, we fail at that, most of the time. That's the fact. I fail at that.
So here's hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That would be an impressive accomplishment.
Now, that shows a humanitarian with integrity. And that’s part of what makes GC the man he is I suppose.
In a nutshell, it's George Clooney's overall persona that makes him appealing. But my dear fellow men - Stop! Before you run off and get under the surgeon's knife in an attempt to look like him, remember this.
You don’t have to be Clooney, or look like him, to be just as appealing. It’s the qualities that he possesses that add to his appeal, and these are all qualities that can be a part of who you are as well. So the next time you notice a woman go gaga about a guy, instead of shying away or getting offended about it (well, maybe you can be a little bit), observe and take notice. It's not just looks that make men appealing to women. If that was the case I would still be single.
Oh! And I'm not saying everyone can be a George Clooney. I'm merely saying that he has certain traits that we can definitely inculcate in ourselves, should you find the need to.
Of course I’m not touching on his playboy-ish side on purpose. But then I suppose he knows what he wants. And you can’t really blame a man (or woman) for that. So as parting comment, I’ll say this. Just take this post in your stride. Feel free to just ignore everything or don’t even leave a comment if you don’t want. And of course, if you don't like George Clooney, a small insignificant article like this is not going to change that. So each one to their own :)
Though If I don’t see a comment on the post, I know just the reason why - it’s because I have pictures of Mr. Clooney plastered all over the page.
*All images and excerpts sourced from Google Images & Google Search respectively