I wrote yesterday about a ramp up in positive Coof tests. My friends, the gayest chest cold of the century has a new variant and it’s called… ready for it?… BA.5. I’m not sure if that’s pronounced Bee-Ayy Dot Five or if the dot is silent and it’s pronounced like I thought – Fagatron.
I heard from my source in law enforcement, a beat cop in a large northeastern city, that several of his colleagues have also tested positive in the past week. Still think I’m grasping at straws? Think again.
My day was thoroughly amazing in the best way possible. I began with 6:45 AM Latin Mass. On that note I must make somewhat of a correction to something I said yesterday. I wrote “Go to Mass. The Roman Mass.” A friend reached out to me within minutes to ask why I was “hating” on him and his Byzantine confrères. First, my audience is mostly TLM Roman Catholic. Also, the point was more about adhering to tradition and not Bugnini. If you are Byzantine and you can get to a daily Divine Liturgy, do it. I had wanted to include a quote from Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World. I cannot find the actual quote but it regarded the abolition of the Eastern Churches and it made me chuckle when I first read it.
I spent many hours on a beach today. Southwestern Florida’s Gulf Coast is stunning. Before I headed out I received an email from a fellow blogger. I had initiated the conversation by thanking him for listing me in his blogroll. Please visit his blog by clicking here. Seems he and I have a common interest in advocating that men dress like real men. Toward that end, I stepped onto the beach today like a man would’ve looked on Coney Island in 1910. Don’t laugh. Blue and white striped tank and navy trunks. I’ve never been one to want to bare all on the beach but I think this look adds an element of class to the whole “skinshow” that is modern American beach attire. If I’d had my dad’s old boater hat and a ukulele with me, well, I’m glad I didn’t.
Side note: I met an Irishman today who told me that I’d never be mistaken for having Irish ancestors. Apparently, the fact I tan better than George Hamilton and have blonde hair means I have something other than Irish in me (despite my thoroughly Celtic pedigree). I blame it on the Vikings.
And speaking of stepping onto the beach, the environmentalist whackos (God, I miss Rush Limbaugh) have succeeded in ruining a beach outing. Large signs in the parking lot warned that this was a “no smoking beach” because there were sea turtles nesting or some such nonsense. This from the same people who push a theory of evolution predicated on survival of the fittest. In this case, I am fitter and therefore I should win. If my cigarette butts disturb your nesting perhaps you should evolve harder.
I did strike up a conversation with two lovely women seated next to us. I connected my Bluetooth speaker to my phone and began to play my merengue playlist. I grew up in Jersey and this is South Florida after all. It turns out these two women were from North Bergen, NJ. We have mutual friends. They appreciated the bronzed white boy from 1910 playing their Cuban jam on the beach in Florida. They gave us recommendations for beaches tomorrow.
You see, friends, there really are no strangers, only Cubans we haven’t met yet.
Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, pray for us!
I am so intrigued by the number of comments surrounding my posts about how I believe men should dress. I’d like to address some of them here.
A gentleman named Pavel commented on my last post. He stated that, “If you have no money, it is hard to dress right.” well, Pavel, that’s only half true. Let me explain.
As a home-schooled young man many years ago, I made many trips to the library. I’m talking about the actual library. This was in the early 1990’s, just prior to the internet’s ubiquitousness as we know it today. We had to do this thing called research. It involved card catalogs and microfiche and interacting with people behind desks. During one of my journeys downtown to the main branch (complete with actual stacks) I ended up taking out a book on etiquette. It was, in fact, the book on etiquette – Emily Post’s Etiquette.
I found it fascinating. Look, I was homeschooled. The freedom I was given over my own didache meant I could follow all kinds of interests. I saw the title on the shelf while looking for something else and was intrigued. So I checked it out.
The first lines of the book stood out to me not only because they made so much sense as to be self-evident, but also because they seemed contrary to everything I’d ever heard about the subject. I will paraphrase.
“Etiquette is nothing more than making the people around you as comfortable as possible within the bounds of good taste.”
That’s a great rule to live by. Miss Post herself was spelling out the formula right off the bat. It didn’t matter if you knew whether or not to extend a hand to a lady who hadn’t introduced herself first or whether you should use the tiny fork first. If you used your common sense and your cogitative powers and if your intention was to practice fraternal Charity (setting others at ease in a tense social setting), then you’ve already won. I have used that advice in life so many times it isn’t funny.
And good dress is like an extension of good manners.
Think about it.
1) Common Sense: dress appropriately for your state in life and the task at hand. I’ve talked a lot about wearing a jacket to daily mass. I would not wear that same jacket while digging a trench. Duh.
2) Cogitative Powers: Think before you dress. God gave you the ability to reason and to discern. Who are you? Where are you going? With whom will you interact? Pull it all together and make your decision. Is the thing I would like to wear outside the bounds of my budget? Then be prudent.
3) Fraternal Charity: This goes both ways. Dress in a way to put others at ease but also remember that others should never be offended when you’ve done your best. I’ve seen college students (proverbially poor) show up to events looking phenomenal because they wore the best of what they have and they held their heads high with dignity. I’ve also seen millionaires (in fact, a well known Catholic TV personality) show up to Sunday mass week after week dressed to golf – because that’s where he was going immediately after mass. The thing is, I knew he owned suits far nicer than mine. It bothered me.
Pavel, if you are short on cash at the moment, do not fret. Cleanliness and being your best do not cost a dime. I remember reading stories of the saints when I was a boy. I was amazed at how, for instance, the father of St. Catherine Laboure, despite laboring in the fields, kept one nice set of clothes to wear on Sunday. It wasn’t “fancy” but it was his best. Seriously, Pavel, email me and I’ll help you figure it out. More than anything, it’s an attitude.
So to drive home the point about the appropriateness of one’s attire… While traveling across the southern tip of Florida today we stopped in the Everglades and took a tour on a fan boat. Our pilot stopped within a few feet of a gator who hissed at me. I thought I would die. But for that excursion, I was in shorts, a tee shirt, and a ball cap. I was in a literal swamp.
Hours later, I found myself at St. Agnes church in Naples, FL. This is the location where Corpus Christi Latin Mass Parish has a daily Mass. I pulled into a gas station, went inside, and, you guessed it, changed into a shirt and trousers with a jacket. I’ve got one jacket with me this week as I travel light but it works for its purpose.
Also, the Mass was pretty well-attended. This makes me happy to see packed Latin Masses. I will be there every day this week. So for a fun experiment, if you also worship at this parish and you see a stranger in a light blue sports coat, don’t be afraid to approach him after mass and say hello. If, however, you think his writing is garbage, then approach the older lady in the veil seated nearby and tell her. That man’s mother-in-law will not mind at all. She just loves making new friends.
A few days ago I wrote a post about how men should dress. Since I am a man and I wear clothes I figured I would start with myself. Today I put that lecture into practice.
The day started obscenely early. Everyone in the house was up at 5 so we could get our last minute packing completed. I mentioned that I’ve already started wearing at minimum a jacket to daily mass. Mass this morning – for my family – was at 7AM and from there we’d be heading to the airport.
I always remember my dad telling me about the golden age of airline travel. “Back then (pre-1970) people would dressed up to travel. It was an adventure and you had to look your best because it was required.”
Today, I dressed up to board a plane.
And I rocked it.
Commanding respect at every turn – from TSA to the concessionaires to the gate agents and flight attendants – I turned heads. It didn’t take much. I wore a light blue sport coat over a white dress shirt with a pair of navy trousers. That’s it. But contrast that image with the tank tops and booty shorts and general skin-on-display freak show that is a modern airport terminal and you will understand why I stood out.
I strode through the concourse with a swagger I didn’t know I possessed. My shoulders were back and broadened over my tapering frame. It’s amazing how good clothing will do that for you especially since I do not have a tapering frame. Confident doesn’t begin to describe my attitude this morning boarding a flight for a family vacation to Florida. Others looked like they were bound for a theme park from hell. I could have easily been heading to Mar-a-lago. And I want to emphasize I did not spend a fortune on this getup. The jacket cost $10 at a thrift store.
On the plane I sat back and took out a book I’ve been slowly making my way through for months. Many of you probably know it well. See the picture below. The drinks came free. I was not in first class but was treated like I was. I cannot say it was the attire but I cannot not say that either.
The best part about this experience is that, despite the soaring temperatures, I was cool as a cucumber.
I looked good and I felt good and people noticed.
This is how, in my truly humble opinion, we should do it. I’m tired of dressing like a boy running onto a rugby pitch just because that’s what everyone else does. For, when we dress our best, it shows forth our respect for others. A random woman in the elevator even told me so. “My you look very nice today!” she said as she smiled. I thanked her and smiled back. I hope I made her day.
Unfortunately my daughter and I encountered a perfect example of the opposite of this idea when we got to our hotel. We went downstairs for a dip in the pool. A young couple whom I will charitably assume are misguided sauntered past us. The guy was wearing knee-length board shorts. His lady friend appeared to have been clad in dental floss. I turned to my daughter and asked (quite cattily), “Ever hear of side boob?” She nodded and laughed. “That poor thing is missing so much fabric, she’s got underboob.” My daughter laughed heartily and replied, “And her butt’s falling out too.” Forgive the off-color tone but we decided to write an action story based on what we witnessed. It will be called The Adventures of Underboob and Sideass. Hey, we had to witness it so you get to hear about it. It will be tastefully written. No illustrations though.
Seriously, folks. Modesty means covering the things that God intends to be revealed only to certain people or for certain purposes. I’ve said before that suits make a man look more manly. See the remark about my tapering frame above. And there is nothing more beautiful or feminine than a modestly dressed woman.
And once again the Blessed Mother will come through for me. I’ve already lined up daily Latin masses for every day of this trip.
Today is the First Class Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. Praised be God! This feast commemorates the awe-inspiring shedding of the Blood of Jesus Christ – from His Circumcision to His Agony in the Garden to His Scourging and Crowning with Thorns to His Crucifixion. In particular I like to meditate on the Lancing His lifeless Body received at the hands of a Roman soldier. Each and every Drop was shed for you and for me. In fact, the first Drop spilled from His circumcision would have been enough to save the entire world but He continued on to show the depths of His love for us. Simply beautiful.
This, of course, is not at all celebrated in Novie land. There I go again. Forgive what sounds like a slur. In the current General Roman Calendar – the one that senselessly saw the feasts of dozens of saints removed as merely legend and fable and others like St. Benedict moved from March to July – today is the Memorial of Fr. Serra. Don’t get me wrong. Junipero Serra was a great man. I’ve visited his missions in California. That being said, the whole thing points to a bigger issue.
I was chatting with some fellow parishioners this morning and, as always seems to be the case in a trad parish, the conversation turned its way to, “Can we eat meat today?” Trying to reason the whole thing out in my mind yet not taking a side, I joined in with, “Well in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, solemnities are not days of fasting when they fall on a Friday.” I then asked out of genuine curiosity whether a first class feast is equivalent to a solemnity. There does not appear to be a clear answer. Remember that trad parishes are kind of the bastard orphan-child afterthought of Vatican II and now it seems Bergoglio would like to see them and their members returned to the steps of the foundlings home.
I consulted with a friend who gave it his best shot and told me that in the new calendar the Precious Blood feast was abolished, melded into Corpus Christi which is technically called (now) Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and BLOOD of the Lord. OK, so why was that done? Who the hell knows. Innovation or something. No one can explain it. But my friend further explained that since this feast doesn’t really exist (in the contemporary calendar) and since trads don’t use the language of “solemnity”, one could celebrate with a steak dinner but might want to pray an extra rosary. I appreciated his effort.
Or, as one of the women in my conversation said while throwing her hands up, “I guess it all depends on how hard you want to trad.”
Two forms and one rite, right? Actually, don’t we have at least three forms in that one rite what with the Anglican Ordinariate’s liturgy and all? I mean, they’re still Roman. But wait… ever since TraditionesCustodes, they say that the Missal of 1970 is the sole expression of the Roman Rite or possibly its two later revisions.
It has been theorized by not a few people that Pope Benedict in Summorum Pontificum used the language of “ordinary” and “extraordinary” forms so as to avoid priests of the Roman Rite needing additional faculties – faculties that might never be granted them by a vengeful bishop. Remember also that Benedict expressed hope that the two “forms” would provide “mutual enrichment” for one another. So how has that been working out? A single chanted Kyrie in a Novus Ordo mass during Lent?
Yet here we are. Figuring out a simple calendar of saints is more confusing than the menu at Cheesecake Factory and the Ordo about twice as long.
Do we really have one Roman Rite?
You know the answer.
And for that matter, doesn’t the confusion caused in the violent upheaval of the public worship of the church overnight signal that something is awry?
Oh I get it! We were all supposed to just follow blindly and never question anything! Unfortunately some things can’t be unseen nor unlearned. I mean think about it. We are literally being told by a man not canonically elected to anything that the venerable worship of the Church is kaput and we’re being naughty for clinging to things like a feast day to celebrate our redemption? I’ll never forget as a child learning that my older brother had taken the name of a saint – Christopher – for confirmation only to find out he “wasn’t a saint anymore” from one of his teachers. My father dusted off the bullshit flag and ran that one up the pole real fast. My brother lives happily under the patronage of the patron of travelers to this day.
Think about it.
I’m going to throw a little bomb here and then walk away. But it seems many women in trad communities are vehemently opposed to their infant sons being circumcised. That may be some overlap between the trad circle and the granola circle honestly. It’s an unusual Venn diagram. Just an observation.
Also, a reader emailed me with some excellent information on men wearing hats! Specifically , he listed some shops and gave general ideas to help get you started. Remember, gentlemen, the protocol for a gentleman (never a “guy” or *shudder* a “lad”) is to cover one’s head when outdoors. Remove the cover when indoors except in crowded lobbies and elevators. And ALWAYS remove the hat when the Holy Name of Jesus is mentioned in your presence. If that Name is used in blasphemy, you should also 1) correct the offender and 2) say a quick prayer of reparation. “My Jesus, Mercy!” works just fine. I will post more on the hat advice later.
Finally, my Sacred Heart “Adveniat Regnum Tuum” flag arrived! I am so excited to display this that I’ll be erecting a 20’ flagpole out front for the occasion. Email me for instructions on how to order one. No, I am not the seller.
Here’s to a wonderful weekend and I hope you all had a blessed Feast of the Precious Blood!
I received the following email from a reader this morning.
Here is my response.
Now Let’s Talk About Grooming
Hair: It should be short. Sorry, gents, but we’ve advanced as a society far enough now that scissors are a widely available thing as are electric clippers. In fact, there was really only one man in history Who had long hair that worked for Him. And you’re not Him. I see my barber every 3-4 weeks and get a high and tight. Again, your hair should not be a distraction nor should it be the focal point of your existence and stature.
Facial Hair: This one’s not as tricky as it sounds. I tend to say either clean shaven (all the time) or, better yet, grow it out but keep it trimmed. I remember feeling so cool when I was 13 and shaved for the first time. It was manly and I was now a man (or so I thought). Years later I was teaching CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and read (and re-read many times) the following passage. It’s advice from one demon to another.
I’ve given this one some thought and I’ve worn a beard for the past five years. I recognize not all men can grow a beard. I believe that has to do with the overall feminization of the West – soy products and overall lower levels of testosterone. OK 1) Eat meat. That being said, I say, if you can do it, do it.
Posture: Stand up straight. Shoulders back. Suck in your gut. Chest out. Make yourself big.
Chivalry: Learn it. Live it. Grab that door for every lady (and really for any person). Give of yourself. Another thing I learned from Dad was in watching how until the last time he drove a car, he always held the car door for my mom. I try to do that for my wife. She agreed to take on your life, your name, and your children. Treat her like it.
Accessories: First, don’t ever use that word. I’m just using it here for reference. Shoes should be polished. They should match your belt which should match your eyes which should be hazel. I’m only kidding about that last part but you get it.
Other than that, there’s not much to it. Ann Barnhardt mentioned a preference for not going wild with colors and not giving into the trend of “skinny” tailoring. First that brings up an important point. If you are able to and need to, get your more important clothing tailored. Many dry cleaners have a tailor on site. It’s a one-time thing (unless your weight fluctuates wildly) and worth the relatively minor cost. WEAR YOUR PANTS AT YOUR WAIST – Not below, Not above. And yes, I agree. I wouldn’t go the skinny route. I know some will push back and say “but I look good in that!” If you do, that probably means you are skinny. Don’t be afraid to put some meat on your bones. Remember we men are distinguished by greater muscle mass. Ask any swimmer who’s competed against Will Thomas. And as far as bright colors, the word I would use is gauche or flamboyant. I own exactly one pink tie. I bought it for my daughter’s baptism which occurred on Gaudete Sunday. Other than that, a tiny splash of color is OK, as Ann says, in ties, pocket squares, etc. Don’t make a habit of it.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t wear jewelry. It should go without saying that earrings are for pirates and queers. Tough love moment? Sorry. Your wedding ring, gentlemen, is a sacramental, not jewelry. Treat it accordingly. Your scapular (and you should be wearing one) stays beneath your shirt. It is for your benefit. Trust me, everyone else in that Trad parish has one on and they assume you do as well.
Wow, that was longer than I was expecting. Perhaps this becomes a regular feature? Likely not.
This afternoon I was doing my daily “research”. This entails sitting on my Texas front porch, sipping my gin and tonic, and thumbing through my phone catching up on all my trad goings-on.
I came across Ann Barnhardt’s latest post. I wonder if I can call her “Miss B.” like Non Veni Mark does? In any event, click here to read that post. It is one million per cent magnificent in its truth and timeliness. Here’s the quick synopsis. Ann argues the point that women need to start dressing modestly for obvious virtuous reasons, that doing so is not hard and in fact can be inexpensive, and that she herself is doing her part to get the trend of “these girls walking around almost nekkid, or in uber-expensive designer trash” reversed by, surprise, dressing amazingly. First sidenote: Going from Miss B. to Ann might be a bit too forward. I’ll return simply to Barnhardt. Second sidenote: Barnhardt has just upped the game for all of us. She’s wearing white summer gloves everywhere.
This all evoked incredible memories of my dad. I’ve mentioned him a few times. He was an honest-to-goodness real man and we were all blessed to have been born of him. To describe my dad accurately would take volumes so I’ll just give a sartorial overview. My dad wasn’t a hulking huge guy. He never played sports to my knowledge, though he did enjoy a game of frisbee or backyard volleyball with the kids in the summer. When you’ve brought a literal army into the world (there are 16 of us), you tend to do these things with and for your kids. Dad was incredibly smart. He was an actuary. He had a wicked sense of humor. He once told me (I was 6 years-old) that an actuary is a place where they bury dead actors. I believed him. He was a man of incredible faith and great dignity – at home with rich and poor alike. A daily mass-goer, a family man extraordinaire, a gentleman, and a scholar. And all who ever met him remember his class and style.
Barnhardt mentions that she was “born in ’76” and thus after many of the trends she’d like to bring back. Fair point. I was born in ’77. My parents, however, were born in the late 1930’s. They lived through the upheaval and the revolution and all that jazz. Dad never stepped out of the house unless properly attired. That meant, most days of the week he was in a suit. He’d tell me, “Son, you can never go wrong with a dark suit and a white shirt.” His shoes were always polished. He always had his pocketwatch tucked neatly into his watch pocket. He wore this to daily mass, to work, and finally, sitting in his chair at night watching TV with us kids. On Saturday he might be found in a polo shirt and navy trousers but always with a sportcoat and always a very nice looking one. I never saw the man wear shorts, sneakers, or a tee shirt. Every September he would grow in his goatee and every March he would shave it off. Even in his retirement, he still came to the breakfast table in a jacket. And he loved covering his head when he stepped outside. From the occasional Irish motoring cap to the wool fedora (to match his trench coat, of course) to my all time favorite – his 1910-era boater hat.
The man had style and a ubiquitous pipe from which he let out billows of beautiful and aromatic smoke.
More importantly, he respected others. He made a lasting impact. All looked up to him. He represented an ideal of manliness one hardly sees anymore. He placed my mom on a pedestal, honored his marriage vows for close to 60 years, brought many souls into being for God, took care of his family, and went to his reward buried in a dark suit. And a white shirt.
Over the years, although I’ve inherited some of his fashion sense, I’ve fallen into the terrible trap of the modern world where dress is concerned. As I write this I am wearing shorts and a tee shirt. Granted, I’m sitting inside my house and it’s late at night. But just like everything else the man taught me, I’m learning more and more everyday that he was right. That post from Barnhardt brought it home.
I dress the part. To every daily mass I wear a dress shirt and jacket (if not a full suit and tie). I will not ever again run out to the store late at night dressed like I do to work out. And I will be working harder to set those trends back in the right direction. A man who dresses well according to his state in life is a man who cares about others.
We tend to think that modesty isn’t so much of a problem among men but it surely can be. And on that point, I come back in my mind to the question of my PE wardrobe. You know, I live on the surface of the sun in Texas and by necessity I work out outside. OK, I will continue to wear gym shorts and sleeveless shirts when I’m lifting or jumping rope. It’s 14 million degrees here and I sweat. A lot. I also work out in the middle of the day when no one in my neighborhood is even home. But, as Barnhardt says in her piece, we need to lead the counter revolt and we can do it simply enough by how we dress. So, I’ll be thinking twice before running out to the liquor store in my “Biden can’t ban these guns” tank top. Come on, that’s pretty funny.
I learned from my father that men who are bold set trends, they do not follow them. Dad had no shortage of courage and just a dash of “I’m not concerned with what you think”. In the late 1980’s he and my mom headed out to his office client Christmas party. It was a big deal. His bosses spared no expense and hired incredible entertainment. Dad wore his tuxedo. Mom got after him a bit. “Honey, it didn’t say it was black tie.” He replied, “Doesn’t matter. It should be.” He was the only man in a tux that night. Within five years, it was mandatory. The entertainment that year? Dad came home and when asked who had performed said, “Some no talent clown named Michael McDonald.” And everyone in the audience was in a tux.
I started dressing up for daily mass and I’ve noticed other men doing the same. The world already marks us as different. Heck, the institutional Church marks as different – “those trads”. Do it. What do you have to lose? Your wives will respect you for dressing like men should dress. Your sons will copy you because boys want to be like their old men. Your daughters? Oh man, they already think you’re Superman. Wait until they see Clark Kent! And pro tip: suits are designed to be as flattering to the male form as possible.
So thank you, Miss Barnhardt, for starting this conversation. I’m happy if I could offer my insight on the male side of things.
So, putting a hat on this discussion, Barnhardt has a great line in her post:
Fellow trad men, we need to lead that counter-revolt. God made you male for a reason. Dress like men. Act like men. Lead by your example to show the world there are only two genders. Wear the literal pants in the family. And the tie, and the jacket. And don’t forget the hat. I wear one now just so I have something to remove should I hear the Holy Name of Jesus when outdoors. And the hat I wear to Sunday mass in the summer?…
Folks, I got off all that social media nonsense a while ago. Sorry but I'm not on Twitbook, Facepalm, YouHu, WingWang or any of the others. Maybe an event will happen to make me change my mind like Peter and Paul coming down with flaming swords and commanding it be so. Until then, read the blog and if you feel a comment is in order or you feel like sharing a tip or suggestion for a topic, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvey is a funny, witty and interesting read. Want to know what's going on in the world of Harvey? Then make a point to subscribe to his blog! You just never know when those pesky Weebles will show up. Hmmm, speaking of Weebles - haven't heard from them in a while (wink). Seriously, you just never know what to expect and whatever you find, it never disappoints! -- Debbi Robertson @ Photos and Facets