June 29, 2005

"What do actresses see in their scruffy men?"

The International Herald Tribune inquires:
The once glamorous Hollywood of Cary Grant and Steve McQueen has been taken over by greasy-haired, scruffy-bearded, baggy-pants-wearing men who could be mistaken for vagrants if their $30,000 watch didn't give them away.

The obvious example of this frog mentality is Mr. Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, whose arrival in the city of angels set the stage for this latest Hollywood trend. Granted, Spears was never a leading lady in film or fashion. But even classic beauties with fashion know-how like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Garner, and Kate Hudson are all being squired about town by men (Chris Martin, Ben Affleck, and Chris Robinson respectively) who wouldn't make the dress code if they showed up alone.
Here's my theory. Only someone genuinely young and good-looking can get away with with the look. So it's very daring and exciting to be one of the few people who can do it. Let ordinary men attempt to get in on the super-elite trend and they will humiliate themselves.


Ron said...

Worst of the bunch -- my fav, Sandy Bullock appears to be marrying the biker dude from Monster Garage who's just divorced his porn star ex!

sigh...no wonder it seems hopeless.

Dirty Harry said...

"Only someone genuinely young and good-looking can get away with with the look."

That's what I keep telling The Hot Little Number I Call Mrs. Harry. I wish she'd get off my back.

JediCheese said...

I'm surprised this is news.

As long as you only look a little bit scruffy, you are fine. If you look like you just got picked up from a desert island that you were stranded on for the last five months, it's not going to work.

Gerry said...

You mean... I'm probably humiliating myself?!?

Kathy Herrmann said...

I don't know about jedicheese!

Here's an experiment every scruffy man should try. Go find some scraps of rough wool and then affix them to the cheeks and chin of your lover and then kiss the daylights out of your sweetheart. Then tell us if the the scruffy look is still sexy.

lindsey said...

Good grief. How often in real life do you see non-scruffy men? It's not the actresses. It's the damn society. Anyone who dressed with class nowadays would be derided as an elitist snob out of touch with reality.

I don't think actors could get away with dressing like PDiddy unless they cultivated a thuggish image like PDiddy to protect their masculinity. I remember when The Matrix came out and many of the guys I knew wanted to dress like Neo because he was a sharp-dressed man who wielded big guns and karate chops. We need to bring back James Bond! The marketers may have unintentionally revealed some of this attitude toward dressing like Cary Grant when they named men who care about their appearance metrosexuals. Good grief. What bone-headed marketer came up with that. It screams: dress well and be just like a gay guy! You're not going to get men to adopt better manners or hygiene if you label them with a name that sounds like the word homosexual.

I think there was an element of nouveau riche in the way Old Hollywood used to dress. As income inequality has increased, unless you're nouveau riche, it's not pc to dress fancy. You only really see the nouveau riche/well-dressed look among black musicians who are usually less than one generation removed from pretty horrible poverty. White actors and musicians are usually more than one generation removed from poverty so it's possible they feel they have less to prove? Perhaps it's partly a confidence issue? If you don't feel you have much to prove or a need to impress, you might not dress well. I'm thinking of all the upper middle class kids I've known who dress like shit intentionally although they could afford much nicer clothes. Sometime around the 60s we all began dressing like slobs.

Also, that article is ridiculous because it completely ignores the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow can't dress for shit. Neither can Kate Hudson. Britney Spears always dresses like white trash. I hate using that expression, but there's no other way to describe her. She and her husband are offensive to my eyeballs.

JediCheese said...

Roaring Tiger, the objective is to see the 5 o'clock shadow, not have the start of a beard.

I'm wearing a new pair of shorts that came pre-shredded at the ends (so that it looks like I cut off a pair of pants and made them into shorts). And my t-shirt is showing signs of wear, no rips or tears, just enough so it's obviously not new.

The objective is to look like you are taking it easy. Your own personal image drives who you are, not the clothes that you wear.

Jeff said...

"I think there was an element of nouveau riche in the way Old Hollywood used to dress. As income inequality has increased, unless you're nouveau riche, it's not pc to dress fancy."

Are you suggesting that "income inequality" has increased since the Great Depression?

The seeds of the downfall of Old Hollywood style can be found in in movies themselves, namely It Happened One Night and especially A Streetcar Named Desire.

Goesh said...

Scruffy is good, a full-hipped woman in dirty jeans bending over her flower bed really makes my lettuce grow.

lindsey said...

Are you suggesting that "income inequality" has increased since the Great Depression?

Hasn't it? Do you have any statistics showing otherwise? Everything I've ever read implies that it has. I would find it fascinating if that wasn't true.

The seeds of the downfall of Old Hollywood style can be found in in movies themselves, namely It Happened One Night and especially A Streetcar Named Desire.

Eh? Explanation?

Dave said...

One problem with your theory, Ann: the celebrities that are scruffy (generally) are not good lookin: Federline, Chris Robinson, etc.

I suppose the women all get hot and bothered when Clooney et al don't shave for a day, but we have come to know him and his ilk as both shaven and unshaven.

I can't think of any good looking celebrity men who are continually scruffy.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: Have we ever seen those characters cleaned up?

Dave said...

Here's a pic of Federline. He has a mustache in the picture, but other than that appears clean-shaving.

He doesn't look especially attractive, I don't think. He only looks young. Here's a clean-shaven pic of Chris Robinson: he ain't very good looking.

As for the Clooneys of the world (the people we see both scruffy and non-scruffy), there are dozens of pictures of him clean-shaven.

So, I'm not sure that scruffy celebrities are necessarily good-looking celebrities.

Another thought: if scuffiness has become so popular of late, and people are bemoaning the passing of clean-shaven male sex icons like Cary Grant, etc., why has the Marlboro Man remained so prominent in popular culture? He was anything but clean-shaven.

JLP said...

Jazz Singer/Guitarist, John Pizzarelli has style. Hollywood should follow his example.



katiebakes said...

Another example of this phenomenon is Kate Moss' boyfriend, Pete Doherty, who used to be in the British band The Libertines and is a self-proclaimed drug addict. In the latest issue of Vanity Fair the couple is profiled.

Also, if anyone has seen Ashton Kutcher lately I'd say that he and Demi fit the mold as well.

PatCA said...

Who would be our Cary Grant...or, my old fave, William Holden?

I think our pop culture today is based on rebellion and childishness, a leftover from the 60s. There hasn't been any Great Depression of WWII to snap us out of it. The WOT revived masculinity somewhat, but it will be a while before the juvies fade away.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Don't you know about the new fashion, honey?
All you need are looks and a whole lot of money

- William Joel

Ron said...

patca: Would Dennis Quaid be our William Holden?

We don't have anyone close to Cary Grant! (please don't mention any of that pack of Brit-ponces who dare to think they might be!)

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I'm consistently baffled when I see young couples out on dates and the woman is wearing a nice dress, makeup, and accessories and the man is wearing a tee shirt and shorts. Doesn't either party have any self-respect?

katiebakes said...

RLC: I invited my long time object of infatuation to a formal at school. I stressed over what to wear and spent hours getting ready. When he came to pick me up he was wearing chinos, a button down, no tie ... and a wool hat with ear flaps over his desperately-needing-a-haircut mane.

Unfortunately ... I found it utterly endearing. Such is the hopelessness of my crushes :)

Another theory: perhaps it is a backlash to the rise of the metrosexual who spends more time on his appearance than the girl? I know plenty of girls who say, "I could never date a guy who cared more about clothes/his hair/etc than I do."

Bruce Hayden said...

The first time I really saw this hip was with Miami Vice. Compare to Nash Bridges. It was hot back then, went out, and is back in. And it is not just the ugly ones - you sometimes see Cruise with a light beard, etc., and, despite being a runt, most women consider him to be extremely handsome.

I too find it humorous women dressed to kill with guys who just got in from mowing the lawn.

But is that what women really want? In a lot of cases, I don't think so. Over the last 7 or 8 years, I have spent a fair amount of time in Scottsdale (AZ), where you see a lot of this. I have found that I do far, far, better, dressing up than not. Being the best dressed guy in the room gets attention. I have a white linen suit that I break out in the summer, and the women love it (esp. after I found the white shoes to go with it).

My philosophy is that women often spend hours getting ready to go out, and appreciate it if a guy does too. Unfortunately, for them, that is not the real me - because in my normal existance, my looks are irrelevant to me.

But I know that my (erstwhile) girlfriend appreciates it when I spend the time to dress up, because she does, and it reflects on her.

Bruce Hayden said...

There is a kinda chic about dressing way down, but having something, say a watch, that says money. I don't see this much in Scottsdale, but a lot in the Vail Valley, where I also spend a bit of time single. I expect that Aspen would be a lot worse there - with a lot more pretense at understated money. In Vail, along with the women, you occasionally still see the guy wearing the $20,000+ fur.

But it is somewhat fun - last year in Vail, I was in a conversation with a friend, and someone noticed my watch and asked about it. Blew him off and went back to the conversation.

What I am seeing a lot more from my generation though is the look you see on, say, Harrsion Ford - blue jeans and a navy blazer. Maybe over a jean shirt. Need to get some out of storage, but like the look. 20 years ago, I did this a lot - but with tweeds instead of navy blazer. Like having all those pockets, etc.

Ron said...

Perhaps the problem is that we don't see a well-dressed man as having any gravitas? We can see a 'power suit', but isn't that now viewed as a kind of uniform, hence the power goes to the organization you're in, and not to you , the man? A man has no other reason to get well dressed except for work, or special occasions?

And, echoing Lindsey, why did good grooming become gay? Are we saying, 'Real Men just don't bother' Strange.