Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fashion Sense (lack of)

I wandered through that famous French store, Target, over the weekend. That's pronounced Tar-jay. They had some coffee I hadn't seen before, so I had to try it.

But in the course of my wanderings, I came across a rack of men's workout clothes that had some reasonably priced black tights. I have 2 pair of expensive bib tights, and I like them very much, but the Tar-jay price was very attractive. I may buy some to see me though the end of the winter.

When I first started riding a lot back in Pennsylvania, the catalogs had 'winter' cycling clothes that were a source of tremendous amusement. At the time, a winter jersey merely had long sleeves. Tights were available in one fabric weight. Take it or leave it. Most of the so-called winter clothes were sufficient to induce hypothermia or frostbite. I think the manufacturers and marketing people believed that only those living in southern California or Florida actually rode through the winter months.

I wore a windbreaker, heavy sweater, balaclava or watch cap, and mittens. I had one pair of medium weight tights, usually with long johns underneath, and knicker socks up over my lower legs. Most of the stuff was wool, so that should give you an idea of how long ago it was. When weather conditions were right, I had tendrils of steam rising from my wool sweater and cap.

So, it's been a pleasant to find more clothing and more variety these days, particularly in a big box store. I haven't seen genuine cycling shorts and jerseys there, but I'm very hopeful.

Another thing that's a welcome change is seeing more women's cycling clothing. Back in the day, this was impossible. The serious female riders had to make do with smaller men's sizes, buy from an expensive customhouse, or sew the clothes themselves.

I'm hardly an expert on women's clothes, but I know from experience that when things fit properly, they make riding much more pleasant. And in reality, the only specialized knowledge I have is (or was) how to unclasp a bra with one hand. I won't discuss the specifics. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed would not be amused.

Actually, She-Who-etc. said that I'm dumb when it comes to women.

"Oh, you're calling me DUMB!" I whined.

"No", she patiently explained, "I'm saying you're dumb about women."

"What! You're calling me dumb! You'd be furious if I said something like that about you!"

She started to develop that exasperated look that I see all too often. That's my cue to go do something else, preferably outside or in the garage. Remember "Duck and Cover" that civil defense movie from the 1950s? I'm an expert at duck and cover.

Still, what I don't know about women's clothing would fill volumes. Not that I'm dumb, mind you. I'm simply uninformed. When my daughter wants to torment me, she starts talking about her underwear. I cover my ears and chant, "Neener, neener, neener!" until she goes away.

Once, she and Mary were up in Pennsylvania visiting relatives. She called and asked that I send her a specific dress and a strapless bra to go with it. I found the dress quickly, but couldn't find anything that looked like a bra. I called her back and she talked me through finding it. The girl knows precisely where everything is in her room, almost to the millimeter. As it turned out, the 'bra' in question resembled nothing more than a tapered sweatband. If I had found it in my drawer, I'd have worn it outside while I mowed the grass. I told her this, and she almost dropped the phone from laughing. Then she had to tell every female relative within earshot about it.

It's been a few years, but they bring it up now and then. "Hey! Remember that time Dad had to find a 'sweatband'..." They giggle.

I should wear that to a ride this summer. When I remove my helmet, the women will be aghast and I'll bet the guys won't even notice. And I'll make a special point of inviting my daughter along to ride the tandem! Dumb, indeed.


Blogger Fritz said...

I'll have to remember your fashion tips the next time I need a headband. Let's take a look at the options. [browsing the web] Mmmm. Oh my. LOOK AT THE PRICE OF THESE THINGS!

I think I'll stick with the bargain bin for my headbands.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

BUSTED! My boss just walked in and he's wondering why I'm looking at this web page. I'm doing research on cycling headwear. Really.

11:07 AM  

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