Billowing Robes

Many young people thought that “Neo” was cool in his robe-like coat. I wonder how many of them reflected that in many cultures men originally wore robes, and that some of these cultures still survive. Trousers probably began as the only practical garment for people of either gender who rode horses. There seems to be no other good reason for them: they are clearly more difficult to make than kirtles, djellabas and so forth, as well as being badly ventilated and so inherently unhealthy in a hot climate. And for aesthetic purposes there is nothing much you can do with a pair of trousers, other than the crude sexual display of leg muscles, bottom and penis; sacrificed is the whole visual language of the way a skirt or robe billows, flares, swishes and generally counterpoints the motion of the wearer. When these things were reserved to women, it was a sign that they were competing entirely on aesthetics and men entirely on money and masculine protective virtues.

Now, it is a commonplace that the cosmetics expenditure of the metrosexual results from his having to compete for women who do not need him economically; if this trend does not culminate in the universal comeback of the male robe, whether as austere Matrix fetishism or with lush mandarin embroidery, then it jolly well ought to.

Posted on May 8, 2011 at 10:38 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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