You ‘hate’ dandies? Can I ‘hate’ some women now?

The answer to the title of the article is no. I cannot.

If its good for you, it should be good for me as well. But sometimes it simply is not ‘good’, for anybody.

So I read this article here – Why We Hate The Indian Dandy in the online edition of the OPEN Magazine, by author Aastha Atray Banan.

The article begins with an anecdote by the author on how she was completely mortified to see that some man shopping for clothes.

Presumably, she herself was just passing through that shop, not buying clothes or anything.

She says she really wanted to tell him to pick up a man purse that lay beside some scarves, but he already had one, so the sermon was cut short.

Well, since such noble sermons cannot be suppressed, we get the long version of it.

The point of her article is that she totally hates it that some Indian men are becoming obsessed with their looks and their clothes, thus entering a territory hitherto reserved for women. And then they have the gall to criticize the looks and appearance of women. The author says such men soon become “almost not a man”.

She quickly gets to the meat of the matter-

“But do you really want to love a man who puts so much effort into his looks? Or do you, like Italian designer Ermanno Scervino, believe that “Clothes may make the man, but there has to be a man first”?”

Ermanno Scervino

As we all know male Italian fashion designers are considered to be the very pillars of old fashioned manliness. (that’ s his home page. How dandy.)

So, you want to be loved? Never mind developing that personality and humanity. Take off that shirt and stop shaving you freak!  

She gives us an example of how a perfect “old-fashioned” man, who knows his place, should be –

“It warms my heart to see my husband pick out his trusted white shirt, blue jeans and kolhapuri combo every time we need to attend a fancy do. And if I ask him how I look, his answer is always “Beautiful”.”

Personally, if someone gave me the same answer every time instead of an opinion, I would suspect whether my noble partner is even looking.

And if the same answer is what I am looking for, I would go for the cheaper option and get a parrot.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Parrot Take Polly home! He say ‘beautiful’ every day for rest of life! – Image by Papegøye[/caption]

But then again maybe I am weird.

Meanwhile, the author trots out the supporters –

Media professional Ruth David –

“I once knew a man who would offer advice on what nail paint was appropriate. Needless to say, his appeal faded in less time than the paint did. I find vanity in a man the most unappealing trait.”

Please note: The wearer of the nail polish is not vain, only the one with an opinion on it.

“Also, Indian men are too self-conscious… maybe because, culturally, there isn’t much emphasis on men’s dressing and fashion in India.”

Err…Are they self-conscious that they are dressed badly or self-conscious that they are dressed to well? Or are they generally self-conscious and incidentally you also have a remark on Indian culture. Which is it?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="247"]Sherwani Indian men in good clothing more than 10 years ago? Perish the thought. Here we see a Chinese wearing his national dress – the Sherwani.[/caption]

But, sans clarifications, our media professional friend continues-

“And then, in the mall, he asks me, ‘Does the colour of this shirt go well with my skin tone?’ That was the last time I went anywhere with him.”

Nail polish and shirts. It is obvious her deep wisdom comes thanks to her deep relationships.

We move on to the next one.

Shrimi Sinha, a real estate professional who finds the Indian dandy “disgusting” says –

“I like old-school men. Rugged and dependent on their women… well, a bit dependent for their clothing. Metrosexuals are so anal and effeminate. ”

Anal. Like them gays. You know…the homo-sex-uals. The ones who *cough* take it up the butt. They are not real men you know.

Yes…It is the new-age pansy un-men dolts from our shabby “gay” age who are renowned for treating their women like cattle.

The old-fashioned “rugged” men were world-famous for their fair and equal treatment of women

In fact they were so dependent on women they never let them leave the kitchen! It all makes sense now!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="296"]Michael Corleone Michael Corleone. He had only two things to tell his wife – ‘look after the children’ and ‘never talk to me about my business’. Oh how we long for his ‘old-fashioned’ kind.[/caption]

Sinha goes on –

“I have some men in my office who sit around discussing how much weight they have gained or lost. Really? Give me a break. Then they talk about how women in the office dress. I can understand it if you remember a girl’s feet looking nice because she gets pedicures every week, but talking about what brand of bag she’s carrying or lipstick she uses? That’s crossing the line. These men are so brand conscious.”


They are beasts I tell you! BEASTS!



[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400"]maybelline Remember – Only women have the right to discuss this. Men and dogs not allowed.[/caption]

A n y w a y . . .

We are then told that the Indian dandy is a fake who does not have the intellectual capacity to be a dandy.

You see, the dandy is not, as is commonly believed, a male who pays WAY too much attention to his looks.

No no. A dandy is a great and deep soul whose intellectual ladders climb up to the very heavens. Clothes are merely an expression of the perfection he achieved in every field.

And who better to dig the depths of intellectual dandy-ism that a magazine editor.

Is she from that magazine hailed for its coverage of world events, politics and science and intellectual debate…Oh, excuse me…so sorry, that was the Time.

I meant she is a features editor of the magazine dedicated to telling women what to wear, how to wear it and what make up to wear with it – Vogue India.

[caption id="attachment_1336" align="aligncenter" width="221"]Vogue July 2012 Cover I wonder which intellectual movement went behind this dress. Leo Tolstoy?[/caption]

Bandana Tiwari, fashion features editor of Vogue India, says –

“I grew up reading the works of famous dandies like Byron and Wilde. Today, ‘dandy’ is associated with the metrosexual man, who to me is just degenerate. The tag says nothing while pretending to say a lot.

In the 18th century, to be a dandy you had to be a brilliant raconteur, someone whose mind was dressed as well as his self.

These people were connoisseurs of aesthetics. Dandyism is nothing without intellect. You see dime-a-dozen dandies on TV these days, and describing them as ‘dandies’ is a crime. They think it’s all about snide remarks and being bitchy. This mock dandyism is terrible.”

Yes girls, listen to the nice lady from the magazine whose entire goal is to show you styles that you have no connection to but can copy because you saw it in the magazine.

She is the very symbol of only wearing clothes whose causes you are deeply and completely attached to.

Good point. Why wear a style if you cannot understand the historical and social reasons for its existence?

All of you who is not an actress, not Audrey Hepburn and have never even seen Tiffany’s, please surrender your little black dresses in that bon fire there.

Also, if you have not served jail-time, worked in farms, worked in factories during World War II or were not a ‘rebel without a cause’ in 1950’s America (or if you aren’t even American) better add those jeans to the flames as well.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200"]Lord Bryon That Bryon was quite a dandy though[/caption]

Incidentally, I realise this may come as a shock to you madam, but there is a scandalous and popular belief that these two men you mentioned were actually world-famous for something completely other than their clothing.

And since they were as vain as was humanly possible to be, and so much in love with themselves it is a miracle they actually got around to doing those ‘other’ things, they spent a lot of their time dressing. In the styles of their day.

What are they famous for you ask? Well a woman of such intellectual depth as you can probably Google it.

As for the intellectual heart of dressing up – Three hundred years ago french proletariat used it as a way to irritate the Bourgeoisie. They lived decadently to show their contempt for their current social order. It didn’t last (presumably they went broke) and the movement died soon enough.

Not exactly “all men are created equal”, so I would cool it with the “Dandyism is nothing without intellect” if I were you.

The author, still venting that seemingly never-ending spleen, continues with this nugget –

To many women, being a dandy is almost the equivalent of not “being a man”.

Almost? Why stop at almost? It’s not as if these dandies will rise to the occasion and prove their manhood…oh wait. Never mind.

Actress Gul Panag adds –

“My idea of a man is of a classic man…Indian men don’t understand their body types, but still want to dress dandy. It’s pretentious. The jeans can’t be too tight. I need a man who can change a flat tyre, not say, ‘Oh, my clothes won’t allow me to do that.’ I don’t want to know how much time and effort a man puts into the way he looks. If he takes more time than I do, well, there’s a problem.”

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200"]Gul Panag I just know the West invented the sequined dress with your so very Indian body type in mind.[/caption]

I know Gul darling. We all understand how irritating it is when people of a certain gender do not perform their historically assigned role and start having ‘jobs’ and ‘rights’ and wearing ‘phoren’ clothes not specifically invented for their body types.

Shameless they are.

And I am glad to see that your sense of equality is so bone-deep that you are completely fine as long as a man takes less time to dress than you.

Rupa Gulab, author of A Girl Alone, has a sole test for the dandy –

“Would he kill a cockroach with those shoes or would he just say, ‘No, my shoes come first’?”

Ooooh, oooh, Can I also share my sole test for a woman to prove she is a real woman? Can I ? Can I? It involves a kitchen and a martial bed and obedience. And children. About 12 of them.


The author ends the tirade with a pithy closing line –

Those were men, real men.

Bravo. Clap. Clap. Clap.

You know…

If I meet a girl wearing pink, in room filled with teddy bears, what saves her from a scathing comment is not the fact that she left the room before I could blurt it out.

If I meet a girl in sweaty, oil-stained overalls fixing a truck, my first instinct is not to write an article on how “disgusting” she is and ponder on whether she is “a real woman”.

If I meet a woman in a bar, in a skirt, who introduces me to her third boyfriend, I don’t greet her by saying “You are obviously a dumb bimbo who has no intellectual depth”

If I see a women dressed in pants, jeans, slacks, shirts, coats, shoes, sneakers or any of the hundred articles of clothing that were originally designed for men but are now worn by women, I do not sigh and long for “real, old-fashioned” women.

Now I don’t have to like some or any the above, and I can criticise them. But as long as I keep my advice to their clothing. But I cannot and will not start speculating on their character, their mind and tell you how disgusting they are.

Now you, dear author, have the right to write all your trite and Open is free to publish it.

But, if it is not right to lament that women are not performing their gender-assigned roles, then it is not right to vilify the men who don’t do the same.

And I am calling you out on it.

You can completely make it clear how they look completely ridiculous. You can express your disbelief at their beauty regimes.

But you when you go on about how these men are not “real” men, how they are disgusting, how you want to mock them while they shop, how their clothing is telling you their intellectual capacity, then it is you crossing the line – from a critical piece about men’s fashion into a paranoid, sexist rant.

And this makes you much more ridiculous and shallow than whatever coloured clothing the dandies might be wearing, however tight.

Now let me close with a pithy one-liner as well –

Maybe you would find a real man if you bothered to look deeper than his clothes.


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