Chop Style: Avoiding the Freshman Sydrome

First things first… The first thing is that we’re happy to announce that this blog was recognized yesterday by the City Paper in their annual Best of Baltimore issue as being Baltimore’s Best Local Blog. The BoB award carries a lot of weight in this town, and most of your finer local establishments display one on their walls from some year or another, so we’re excited to have one of our own to put in the office. We’re looking forward to spending long hours staring at it while we’re lazy and distracted and saying to ourselves “What the fuck are we going to write about today?” which is how blogs are made.

We also want to thank the CP staff for paying enough attention to remember that we are a blog. If we were handing out advice to a beginning blogger, it would not be “don’t write anything at all for 3 months” which is exactly what we’ve done up until yesterday. It means that much more to us for having been offline these 90 days.

A visual approximation of the Chop being the best.

So like we said, we get a little award suitable for framing. But the real prize when you win one of these is that you score an invite to the annual Best of Baltimore party, and get to hobnob and schmooze and glad-hand with the other winners, and of course, be privy to an open bar.

So we went there yesterday, and we did that. We even managed to get a date for the event. And without saying too much about it, we didn’t look at it as one of these “Oh I just need somebody to go with so let’s just go and hang out or whatever” dates. It was more like one of these “She seems pretty awesome and I really want this to go well and I’m kind of nervous about it and I still sort of can’t believe she said yes.” kind of dates. The best kind.

Which brings us to the main idea of this post. For a big date, or any type of big event whether it’s a job interview, a holiday, a wedding or what have you, the temptation is always there to go shopping beforehand and find something new to wear. It’s a temptation we usually resist, and we recommend the rest of you do the same.

Think about the beginning of high school. The first day of ninth grade is a big fucking deal for most kids. You’re out of middle school, and thrown in with a lot of older kids. You may be meeting kids from other middle schools, taking new classes, dating for real for the first time, and you’re trying you’re level best just to fit in, let alone cut a great figure down the hallways.

Maybe it’s different for girls, but for most of us boys your mom dragged you to the mall to hit the back to school sales and made you try on jeans and shirts for hours on end, wouldn’t let you get any of the things that you really wanted, or anything that wasn’t on sale, or anything that couldn’t double as church clothes- in short, anything good. So the first day of school rolls around and now that the clothes are bought you actually have to wear them, and in addition to all the hassles and stresses and pressures of starting high school, you’re constantly thinking “Do these jeans look like Dad jeans? Do these look like floppy clown shoes? Does this shirt make me look like a doofus?” And you wish you’d never gone shopping at all.

We’ve got it better as adults. Most of us have a much improved sense of style and a better sense of self than we did at 14, and we’re free to buy and wear what we will without any help from Mom. All the same, the Freshman Syndrome still persists.

Sure, those pants look great, but do they look great on you? That sweater is nice enough to be an investment piece, but will it itch your neck until you wash it a few times? New shoes are great to have, but they’re even better after you’ve broken them in and they’re not stiff and unforgiving. At the end of the day, looking good is mostly about confidence, and it’s hard to be very confident in something you’ve seen only once in a store mirror. The clothes that really inspire confidence are the ones that we know fit the best; that we’ve seen in our own mirrors, that we’ve been photographed in, that have generated plenty of compliments in the past. Better than new clothes are your favorite clothes.

Having a closet full of clothes that we can count on is one of the best things about being a bona fide adult. In our case, we’re always prepared for anything from a wedding to a funeral to a formal event, or even a date… no trip to the mall required.

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3 Comments

Filed under Baltimore Events, Chop Style, Other

3 responses to “Chop Style: Avoiding the Freshman Sydrome

  1. StabbyCerberus

    Hahaha! I’m pleased to say that I didn’t wear anything brand new & maybe I was the only woman wearing flip flops.

  2. StabbyCerberus

    Goodness! I haven’t had one of those exciting “seems pretty awesome and I really want this to go well and I’m kind of nervous about it and I still sort of can’t believe [he] said yes,” kind of dates in a long time. . . . Here’s a bit about dating and attending social functions from the perspective of a single, professional, middle-aged woman. Maybe I have a really warped perspective from having traveled with a lobbyist for several years. As a woman, you rarely go anywhere at night without someone covering your back. First choice is always to get one of your most favored ones to be an escort. That not being an option, you invite someone you know would have no interest in anything more than hanging out (which is why I asked ThBaltimoreChop to accompany me to the CP BoB party, hehe). For a woman, bringing a companion is the best defense to getting cornered by a coyote. I will happily go off and mingle with people on my own, but if I’m feeling cornered, I can feign the necessity to report back to my companion. I have developed other lines of defense, but “utilitarian dating” is by far the most effective and enjoyable. . . . Yes, I did attend the BoB party solo. I would never have done so, but CP was gracious enough to give me tix.

  3. Congrats on the award! – it’s well deserved.

    I’ve never really thought about “The Freshman Syndrome” but what you are saying is true. Going back to school shopping in my household was always bitter sweet – it meant seeing all of the cool stuff you really wanted but instead, picking out stuff from the sales rack. Also, there was the moment when you get to school on the first day – confident that you DO look cool – only to realize you don’t. I’m so glad I never have to go back to high school. But yes, you’re right – sometimes its best to go with something tried & tested!

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