“What’s up with that hairstyle?”
“That color looks terrible on her!”
“His suit’s OK, but too shiny, even for competition. And those pinstripes! They’re just wrong.”
Sounds like a bunch of catty Chatty Cathy’s watching the Olympics over chocolate martinis, doesn’t it?
Au contraire, my friends! The above quotes, transcribed verbatim, were made by none other than my newly hypercritical, metrosexual husband while slugging a beer and watching — wait for it — ice dancing!
Remember that dashing but snarky critic, curator of fashion fiascos and creator of the "Ten Worst Dressed Women List" who died in October 2008? Well, rest in peace, Mr. Blackwell; Mr. Hamilton has taken your torch and is running with it!
I began to notice this odd transformation several months ago when my former caveman came home one evening with a stunning observation:
“I can’t believe how many different kinds of shoes there are in the world,” he said. “It’s amazing! Everywhere I go, people are wearing different shoes! Don’t you think that’s amazing?”
(No, he didn’t pop into the local pub on his way home from work. If he had, there might have been a logical explanation.)
I was dumbfounded. Shoes? He’s suddenly aware of footwear? Here’s a guy wouldn’t notice if I wore candy apple red spike-heeled pumps, over-the-knee hooker boots or Birkenstocks to the office in the morning.
This is a man whose sneakers, work boots, flip-flops and 20-year-old dress shoes take up less than 20 percent of the rack in our closet. He doesn’t even replace his basketball shoes until the soles literally blow out from under him.
What is happening, I thought?
I chalked it up as some kind of random midlife anomaly, but soon he was noticing things he had never paid attention to before. Superficial, cosmetic things. Things men have been ignoring about the women in their lives for years.
“Did you get your nails done?”
“Are those new tights?”
“’You doing something different with your make-up? A new bronzer, perhaps?”
Still, I wasn’t too worried. This was a man’s man who toiled in a decidedly macho profession. Sports radio is his soundtrack. Basketball is his religion. If there was ever a guy who could stand a little yin with his yang, it was him.
Then, the Olympic critiques began. He started analyzing the cut and color of the costumes, the hair and makeup.
“Too many feathers.” “Not enough glitter.” “That Aborigines look will never fly.”
Soon, his Mr. Blackwell act crossed over to other TV personalities: “American Idol” contestants, news anchors, that Barbra Streisand look-alike who plays Chloe on “24” …
“That ’70s look isn’t working for you, man!”
“Somebody needs to tell her power suits went out with acid wash jeans!”
“Her eyes are too close together. They’re freaking me out.”
OK. Now, it was getting weird.
Then, it hit me. Clearly, my spouse has been living with women too long. He must be absorbing excess estrogen particles floating in the air. That, and prolonged second-hand exposure to “Project Runway,” “Oprah” and the Lifetime channel has exacted a disturbing toll.
It’s one thing to know the symptoms of PMS and menopause backwards and forwards, or to think nothing of making a drugstore run for tampons and Midol. But it’s a whole ’nother thing to play style critic. Forget Mr. Blackwell. This guy wants Tim Gunn’s title of Fashion Guru of the Universe. Next thing you know, he’ll be putting products in his hair, signaling the end of the world as we know it. To heck with the Mayan calendar!
What we need here is an intervention, STAT. The man is in need of serious and immediate male bonding. Poker night, men’s bowling league. Heck, I’d even go for a stag party at this point.
I know. It’s a radical approach. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And I am desperate, my friends.
The other night, I came out of the bedroom dressed “casual chic” for a party at the new hotel.
“Is that what you’re wearing?” he asked, peering over his glasses, one eyebrow cocked suspiciously.
“That’s MY line!” I cried, in shock. “You can’t take MY LINE after 30 years!”
“I’m only saying you might want to rethink that scarf,” he replied, without missing a beat. “It’s a little matchy-matchy. Just make it work.”
— Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author. She can be reached at can be reached at 832-6319.