A little help | Chuck's World
The first thing I need to tell you about the movie “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is that those commas are intentional, not the result of an over-caffeinated columnist or a layout error. I approve of such commas, in fact. I do like some sassy punctuation.
The second thing is that “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is a 2011 romantic-comedy, a genre that has been supposedly dying since the glory days of Meg Ryan and still they keep making them, and a pretty successful one.
It’s goofy and unbelievable in parts, fluff and circumstance, but sometimes people enjoy that sort of thing.
I did, since I watched it twice a couple of years ago, although the second time was to show it to my wife, to see if she agreed that Emma Stone’s character seemed a lot like our daughter. I can’t remember what she thought about that, but she liked the movie.
And if you can look past the contrivances and coincidences and silly stuff, what’s not to like?
It stars Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling as two men at different stages of life, with very different sensibilities and tastes, who become friends after a fashion. And fashion has a lot to do with it.
Carell plays an old-fashioned cuckold, whose marriage of over 20 years has become unstable.
His wife has an affair with a co-worker and kicks Carell out of the house, leaving him to sulk in an upscale bar, bringing down the room temperature with his pathetic story, until Gosling takes pity on him.
There’s more to the plot, but it’s the Pygmalion aspect that’s on my mind. Gosling attempts to help Carell navigate the singles scene, and they start with a trip to the mall.
Carell shows up wearing a pair of white New Balance shoes, which Gosling practically rips off his feet and throws away. “Are you in a fraternity?” he asks. “Are you Steve Jobs?”
I have those shoes. So, it’s personal.
And this is what I think: I think if you’re a young person, in your 20s, and you want to make the world a better place, and you should, you could do worse things than taking a middle-aged man (or older – not too much older) under your wing and showing him how to buy jeans.
I’m very serious. Sometimes people think I’m not.
I could tell you some unsettling stories about this, but I’ll just stick with this one.
The other night, I went over to a friend’s place and spent a really enjoyable evening with several men, all of whom were about the same age as I am, and I was easily the best dressed of the bunch. That kind of unsettling.
I have a theory about this, too. In my cohort, people born in the late 1950s or early 1960s, we came of age in an era of special relativity, in which the standards of conventional graceful aging were rejected by the Baby Boomers ahead of us, and in some cases by our parents.
Suddenly 50 was the new 30, or 60 was the new 40. Everything old was new again, anyway, leaving us to draft behind these trailblazers as they rejected the idea of getting older.
It was easy. We were getting younger every year.
So, many of us kept wearing the same clothes, just bigger sizes. And then Dockers came along, and so on. It got pretty ugly out there. I have pictures.
I’m not talking about being fashionable here. I’m just suggesting a little guidance for the older guys, and mostly so we don’t embarrass our families. Even Ryan Gosling would look dumb in dad jeans.
My wife gave up years ago, of course. My daughter, being young and idealistic, suggested a few months ago, very gently, that maybe it would a nice change if I wore clothes that actually fit me.
So I have some of those now, which explains the other night and the other men. They don’t have daughters.
It was this same daughter who, on my last visit to see her, listened politely while I whined a little about needing some change in my life, and at the same time made an appointment with her stylist for that afternoon.
Now there were two young women, looking at my rapidly aging self and trying, apparently just for fun, to see if they could slow down that process, or at least make me age appropriate.
So I got a new haircut, and at some point it was suggested that I might want to upgrade my eyewear. Since I wear glasses all the time, and since I’d been wearing the same style of glasses since 1972, I took the advice and bought some designed in this century.
None of this made me look younger, or hipper or (I assume) even thinner. My brother, in fact, mentioned that I reminded him of our grandfather. Those kinds of compliments are hard to come by, I know, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
But hang on to the dad jeans, since they’re good for working in the yard. Haircuts are never a bad idea, although your scalp and genetics may be taking care of that for you. If you don’t have a daughter, you should get one.
I’m grateful for mine, at any rate. Although, as I was leaving to return home, she got a worried look on her face.
“I’m concerned about your shoes,” she said, and I know what comes next.