Thursday, February 21, 2008

So, What's the Male Version of a Schlumpadinka?

Apparently, Oprah Winfrey introduced the world to a new word today, schlumpadinka. According to Winfrey, a schlumpadinka "represents, for me, a woman who dresses like she has completely given up…and it shows."

Hmmm. Maybe Winfrey is being a bit sexist. I mean, there are males who seem to have given up on looking human. too. Oprah hasn't yet dubbed these men with names, sort of giving them a pass, don't you think?

But, Oprah isn't the only one overlooking male frumpiness. Society is certainly more accepting of we men who have given up on looking presentable.

Don't believe me? Think of all the sitcoms that feature average-looking guys who dress like slobs, but whose TV wives, when seen in public, appear to have combed their hair and pressed their clothes.

There's a reason for these stereotyped TV couples: They represent, to some extent, the real world. Ralph Kramdens and Jim Belushis who live on your street have managed to win the hearts of wives who, at least outside the house, avoid being schlumpadinkas. But the guys don't even try.

So, shouldn't there be a male version of this word. How about dumpaschlink?

It works for me.

In fact, a few weeks ago, in a busy parking lot, I saw a dumpaschlink. He was changing a tire that had gone flat on his car.

I felt badly for him and for his pregnant wife, who was shivering in the cold waiting for him to finish up.

As I was driving off the parking lot, I stopped and rolled down my window to ask if they needed help. (Honestly, I'm pretty useless when it comes to anything mechanical. But I thought that I'd at least offer.)

"No," the woman said, her teeth chattering in the cold. "My husband is almost finished." I said, "Okay" and glanced over at the man.

Now, of course, no one who's changing a tire in inclement and difficult circumstances is going to look their best. Nor should they be expected to.

But, sprawled on the pavement, this guy's untucked shirt and unbelted pants conspired with his decision to not wear undergarments to create a really unpleasant sight. I wanted to tell him that this was not what Jesus had in mind when He told us to turn the other cheek.

Whether Oprah intends to provide fashion advice to dumpaschlinks, I don't know. From the brief minutes I've watched her show through the years, my guess is that the advice offered would be more hoity-toity and precious than we guys would want to hear or that we'd abide by, in any case. So, here are a few basic rules for dumpaschlinks who'd prefer not being such slobs:
1. Tuck in your shirt.
2. Wear a belt.
3. Wear the waistline of your pants on your waistline. (There's a revolutionary notion!)
4. Wash and comb your hair at least once a day.
But, I suppose, offering this advice is pointless. As long as women are willing to accept the double standard that says a man can be a dumpaschlink but a woman can't be a schlumpadinka, frumpy men will be mooning unsuspecting passersby on public parking lots.

(I will admit that it takes some guts for me to write this because, as I sit at my computer, I'm wearing an old orange sweatshirt, at least ten years old, and a black ball cap that should have been thrown away a long time ago. But I'm not planning on sharing my dumpaschlinkness with anybody tonight.)


Julana said...

It's also connected to posture and muscle tone.

Walk half an hour a day and do a little yoga; lift a few weights.

Take fish oil, magnesium, vitamins.

Michele Scaparrotti said...

And what is with those beards? The scruffy three day growths that look like a dirty face and the long beards that can be tucked in the belt. Especially when there is no hair on the head or the little that is there is around the sides and tied into a pony tail. I ask you? I always think I would like to get them down with a lawnmower or shears.