minimalism and me



i read in the nyt today that men's earrings are back. which means i am again out of fashion.
when earrings were not in fashion, i was riding the wave. i heartily embraced not wearing an earring. mostly i support any fashion trend that does not include having a hole poked in my body. but that's just me.


i was fashionable for a short time in the ’90s as the grunge movement set in. since i was a lad, i have worn almost exclusively a t-shirt, old jeans and a worn flannel shirt. this is largely because that’s what neil young wore in the early ’70s, when i was trying to come up with my own fashion statement. stealing mr. young’s seemed easier (and didn’t require poking a hole in my body.) being lazy i never changed styles. i didn’t fit in during the ’80s but that was ok. kurt cobain made me the pinnacle of fashion for a few shining years, but now i’m back to just looking like a misfit.

g_runnersuddenly, i’m having the same experience  with running shoes.

ever since i was a lad i’ve run almost exclusively in the lightest racers i could find. i’m not fast, i just love the feeling of being barefoot. of  connecting with the running surface and allowing my feet to react, rather than using shoes to neutralize the ground. i always felt free (yes, nike stole the name from me.) i’ve run without shoes on the track (ow rubber stuff hurts) and ordered vibrams five-fingers the month they started making them.

i always thought it seemed silly to make your feet do things they don’t want to do. i figured asking them to run a marathon was enough of a favor without making them to do it with motion control and arch realignment and hydraulic lifts. i order my shoes by mail, not because they’re cheaper, but because of the inevitable fistfight with the well-meaning store employee earnestly explaining to me that i can’t do what i’ve been doing for 30 years. sigh.

but now, with the well-deserved popularity of the book “born to run” by christopher mcdougall, EVERYBODY’S a minimalist. super-light racing shoes, vibrams, and even barefoot running are becoming the new hip and happening trend. articles in the nyt and washington post and a million other mainstream publications have spotlighted the idea, and now everyone is trading in their $140 asics balloons for a pair of tire-tread huaraches.

which is OK by me. except yesterday i tried to order a new pair of my racers and they’re out. the minimalist movement has cleaned out the warehouse.

but that’s fine. soon enough someone will write a book about the kenyans running in doc martens or converse all-stars or stilletos. my shoes will be back in stock and i’ll go back to being a happy misfit again.

until then, yes, i’m a minimalist. i’m cool.

but i won’t wear an earring.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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