Thursday, July 18, 2013


It’s a stereotype to say gay men like to shop and, as I’ve learned from years of bad dates, totally unfounded to say gay men have a superior sense of fashion. At least, Vancouver gay men don’t fall into stereotype at all.

But behind every stereotype, there is a kernel of truth. And I would be most proud to be part of that truth. Shallow? Sure, but I like to feel good about how I look and, as my workouts fail to produce results, the bulk of feeling good about how I look stems from what I wear.

I think my fashion quest began during my first year of teaching in Texas. Because I wasn’t a U.S. citizen, I couldn’t teach in public schools—something about a Supreme Court decision upholding the fear that a non-citizen might teach children Communist beliefs (because all Canadian were and are pro-Communism). Anyway, in the private school, I was earning less than $12,000 a year and I quickly grew tired of alternating meals between Wonder Bread and peanut butter and generic boxed macaroni and cheese.

I got a second job, working in the men’s department at Sanger Harris, a fairly upscale Dallas department store that no longer exists. As it turned out, I kept the same meal menu because all the money I earned at Sanger Harris went back to Sanger Harris. With the employee discount, I made off with some good deals!

Fast forward to my first stint in L.A. as I began law school. Whenever my parents called, I failed to convey enthusiasm about my studies. In fact, I was unhappy. I wanted to quit. This got their attention. My mother had never been keen about my becoming a teacher. She was gleeful when I decided to go back to school, desperate to tell her bridge and golf partners that her eldest was a lawyer.

And so I negotiated a clothing allowance for several hundred dollars a month for as long as I stayed in law school. Would it make me happy? Well, it was a good start.

I have been fashion deprived since moving to Vancouver. Everyone talks about Robson Street as this fashion mecca, but I think it’s overrated. When I shop, it’s hit or miss,...mostly miss. Not so in L.A.

It took less than forty-eight hours for me to head over to the Beverly Center. (Wouldn’t you know, the bungalow where I am staying is only three blocks away!) I sauntered into the Macy’s Men Store with the intent to buy a couple of pairs of shorts—I’d forgotten how hot it is here—and I made three trips to the fitting room before walking out of the store with seventeen new items.

If I’m going to do L.A., I’m going to do it right.

There are more shopping destinations, but I’m laying low for the rest of the week. I am all too aware that my shopping surge wasn’t just about feeling overheated in blue jeans. It goes beyond the lackluster Vancouver fashion scene. It’s largely a response to living in a rural area where there is only one place to shop for men’s clothes in town and that place specializes in lumberjack wear and construction boots. Seriously.

So let me immerse myself in men’s fashion once again. I won’t regain my stereotypically strong fashion sense in four short weeks, but a little self-improvement is always a good thing.


Rick Modien said...
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Rick Modien said...

Seventeen items at a high-end mall? Wow! Sounds like my kind of shopping trip. Hope you had fun, RG. I bet you did.

Rural Gay said...

Fun, indeed! The scary thing is that I have growing shopping list in my head. All things I "need", of course.