Category Archives: Swag

Don’t Sweat My Swag (aka The Middle Aged ManSuit)

You’re doing it right now and you may have no idea. That’s ok, it won’t hurt. I was doing it almost every day and nobody said anything or seemed to mind. I was doing it right out in public. Didn’t get arrested, even once.

Every generation has a uniform, even if they or we don’t realize it. Very often we’re wearing the uniform of our generation without thinking about it or choosing it. We’re quick to recognize other generations uniforms but we never see our own. Unfortunately for me I had a couple experiences recently that pulled back the curtain and exposed me. Or rather, exposed my…uniform. 

I see examples of uniforms everywhere I go. Teenagers, who believe they are so independent and like to make a “statement” about their identity are almost the worst offenders. When I pull up to my kids school virtually every girl comes out in sweatpants and Ugg boots while every boy has jeans, a zippered hoodie, and Justin Biebers haircut. (I could have Justin Biebers haircut if I wanted, once the restraining order expires.) Recently my lack of understanding of part of one generations uniform exposed me for what I am…an adult. Ugh. That was painful to admit.

One of my sons asked for money for Christmas so he could buy his own clothes. Apparently at some point me dressing him as myself, a superhero, or in Garanimals is no longer cool. So armed with a pocketful of benjamins (this is a word referring to Benjamin Franklin, who is on the $100 bill) I sent him to the mall completely unsupervised. When he returned home he showed off his purchases, one of which was a wrist watch the size of a hubcap and appearing to weigh several pounds. So after I was hilarious with the Wonder Woman and Flava Flav jokes, one of my other sons saw what appeared to be a NASA satellite affixed to his brothers wrist and informed us that the watch most definitely was “swag.” Now being as hip to the teen lingo as I am, I know that “swag” is a good thing. I don’t like to be flashy, so I keep my swag in a safe in the basement and only tell my children stories about all the swag I had when I was their age. Later in the week I was with one of my sons at a lesson and his instructor who might be moderately younger and perhaps, if at all possible, a little cooler than I, was wearing a similar swag watch. Apparently a swag watch, or Swatch for short, is an important part of the teen/young adult uniform. 

Finally we get to my uniform.  I was at the supermarket the other day thinking I was full of swag in my white Nikes, jeans, button down oxford and leather jacket. Then I looked around the supermarket at what appeared to be an army of guys my age wearing some version of the exact same jeans/oxford/leather combo pushing a cart and picking up a gallon of milk and a 12 pack of Cottonelle.It was like a “Where’s Waldo” picture where everyone is some slightly altered version of the original Waldo. This was when it hit me. I was wearing The Middle Aged Man Suit.

Let’s see, I’ve referenced Wonder Woman, Ben Franklin and Where’s Waldo.Is it possible I don’t have as much swag as I thought? Nah!

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