Into my daily routine on the computer, open my browser after checking email and scan my MSN home page for anything of interest when, scrolling down, I see a picture of a guy (and a Black guy, specifically) modeling a black tube-top looking thingy, sleeveless and airing out his navel… and I had to check this out to see why someone was saying that this is now a cool thing for men.
I click on the link and, apparently, some company called ASOS is (again?) trying to make things that you’d normally see women wear vogue and cool for men to wear; the article included Twitter comments and by the tone of those comments, um, there were some very unhappy folks who had this get their attention.
Here’s the URL for the article: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyle-buzz/crop-tops-for-men-are-a-thing-now-—-and-were-not-sure-how-to-feel/ar-AAC9AIn
I guess it was like a year or so ago when I saw an article (or something) about dresses for men and they were being modeled by – again – Black men and I recall the explosion of comments on Facebook and Twitter about this and none of it was what I’d call nice.
And, apparently, this crop top thing falls into the not-so-nice comment area as well. The author wrote that back in the 1980s, male joggers were running around wearing crop tops and shorts that were so short that if they weren’t wearing underwear or a jock under them, it could be a rather embarrassing run; I thought back to the 80s and said, yep, I remember those short shorts… don’t quite remember ever seeing male joggers wearing crop tops – but I guess that depended on where you lived.
I’m sitting here, looking at the pictures of this guy modeling various crop tops and I recalled quite a few moments where I’d seen effeminate gay men wearing such articles of clothing and reveling in being able to shamelessly show everyone their belly button and, hopefully, their crafted six-pack abs so, no, it’s not like guys didn’t wear them but I wouldn’t call it a thing… unless you wanna consider that it was a thing for some gay men. It started to get a little confusing at this point in my mind and more so since I’m sitting here reading this article… wearing a “wife-beater” T-shirt (I dislike that term, by the way) that exposes the tats I have on my arms but my navel is under cover.
I asked myself if I could see myself wearing such a piece of clothing or any of the others illustrated in the article… and I couldn’t see it any more than I could see myself wearing one of those “stylish” dresses I mentioned earlier in this scribble. I’m not gonna say that they don’t look comfortable – or wouldn’t be comfortable on some really hot and steamy days that are on the way in my part of the country but, nope, I’m thinking that if I wanted everyone to see my navel, I’d just take my shirt off.
I wouldn’t even be so “macho” as to say men shouldn’t wear stuff like that because if a dude wants to, he’s got a right to effect any style he cares to and just because I wouldn’t do it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done… but I also think that some guys who get into sporting these crop tops might find themselves defending their sexuality since, as mentioned, I can remember a lot of very gay men wearing them.
What doesn’t make much sense to me since I’m not a clothes horse or a “slave” to trendy clothing is why this ASOS company is pushing this to be a thing. I don’t know about anywhere else in the country, but here in the East, there are a lot of establishments and other places where local law says it’s illegal to be there and sagging – having your pants down so far and showing everyone your underwear, a style a lot of guys are into…
Even when they find out what the origin of that style was and what it signified, namely, a sign/signal created in a prison somewhere that told the other guys that the dude with the sagging pants was available to have sex with and, um, the sexuality of the guy with the sagging pants was, let’s say, undeniably obvious. Yet, I don’t think I can go anywhere and not see guys of all ages and races going around sagging and it seems to me that the longer this trend has been around, the lower those pants seem to get and to the point where I’ve seen guys sagging so much I wonder why they bothered to put pants on in the first place.
In any of this, to each his own. Will these crop top thingies become all the rage in men’s wear? If I go out the next time and I see guys sporting them, I’ll let you know but I think that like those male dresses that made such a fuss some time ago, I don’t think guys are gonna do a wholesale jump on this particular bandwagon and I hope that ASOS hasn’t sunk a lot of money into trying to get this trend to be trendy.
I did try to imagine myself wearing a crop top… and my brain waved papers threatening legal action at me – then shut down for a moment in protest. Hell, I can remember what it took for me to wear the T-shirt I have on now; the “wife-beater” doesn’t have the most sterling of origins, you know, given the name commonly used for them. Still, here in the East and in the summer, the heat and humidity can convince you that wearing a T-shirt with a crew neck and sleeves might not literally be the coolest thing you could wear on a hot, steamy day, that and, um, jeez, you just never seem to be able to keep the underarms of those T-shirts nice and pristine between sweat stains and those impossible to remove deodorant spots that turns a nice soft material into razor blades under your arms, let alone how embarrassing it is to remove your shirt, say, at the doctor’s office and see how ineffective your laundry detergent is… or how persistent the anti-wetness part of your deodorant really is.
Still, I could go outside right now wearing this T-shirt (which is a pretty blue, by the way) and no one would give me a second look… but I’m thinking that if I went outside wearing one of those crop tops, I’d probably get a lot of attention that I’m sure I wouldn’t want. Don’t get me wrong; when it comes to modesty, I don’t have a whole lot of it, to be truthful; I’d go outside without my T-shirt and not give a fuck what anyone thought or said but, no, not doing the crop top thing and fashion be damned.
I might not look silly to others but I’d feel pretty silly wearing something that, historically, has been something more suited for and even appropriate for women – and there you have the rub, huh? Image, after all, is everything, even for old dudes like me.