According to Dictionary.com, suspend means
to attach so as to allow free movement.
The definition that is relevant here is to keep from falling, sinking, forming a deposit, etc., as if by hanging.
Being raised in the church, I learned early on the value of a belt (even though at one point, Monday – Saturday, I was a Baggy Saggy Barry myself). Especially now, if I walk out of the house and forget to put on a belt, I feel like less of a man; incomplete and juvenile. I feel improper and unkempt. As if I have no type of act right and home training.
But now that I know my pants size and I refuse to go even one waste size too big, I am ready to try a different anti-sag style/method.
Hence the suspender search.
As I am in the men’s clothing store, checking out the variety (which I found by the belts) I realized something as I looked at what seemed to be pieces of a D.I.Y parachute set; I don’t know how to put these on.
I thought about bothering one of the employees for a quick tutorial, but once I receive their assistance, I feel this moral obligation to buy something. I wasn’t sure if I was walking out with these straps yet.
Then something a little bit more unsettling came to me: I was never taught how to put these on….
90% of my hygienic habits, pride in appearance, impeccable fashion sense, even my growing self-awareness came from the influence of women. How to tie a tie, the proper color belt to wear, how to fold and wear a pocket square, what side of the street to walk on, all came from various male figures in my life. My knowledge of chivalry and etiquette is a gumbo of different dudes and old heads that have been in my life. I have a conglomerate of tips and tricks on how to be a better man from all walks of men. I have a plethora of “son do this” from everyone but one person….
I grew up thinking my father was dead. Some years ago I learned that my father was alive and well. When I was younger, he used to be around a lot and the family loved him. Then all of a sudden, he’s somewhere in the Baltimore/Boston area; possibly with another family.
As I figured out the D.I.Y straps in the security mirror, I felt suspended;. There was no primary instructor on my male know-hows. I was robbed of having an exclusive source on gender definition. I taught myself how to shave when I was well into my twenties. My grandmother introduced me to the two barbers in my life. A deacon in my church showed me how to tie a tie. I Googled different knots. I figured out how the right watch can set off the right outfit. And at well over 25 years of age, I STILL struggle with the whole black vs. brown wardrobe conflict.
Men. If you made it, you need to be there. The only excuse for not being in your child’s life is death. Everything else, you need to work through. In this day and age of easy access to ANYTHING, children need their primary teachers/filters. That’s Mommy AND Daddy. My Grandmother did a damn good job but as you see, there were some quiet assists. I’m grateful for the men that stepped in when needed, but where was my head coach?
So I DID end up asking a floor staff in a different menswear store about the suspenders. And I boldly took my new found knowledge to the first store because they were $2.00 less there. Now guess who has another option in is growing repertoire of style. THIS GUY. Yet another random man helping me out….