by Réginald-Jérôme de Mans

By now the reader is no doubt aware of the ban various French municipalities have enacted against the wearing of the burkini at their beaches. The French constitutional court has overturned such bans, but not before video went viral of armed police forcing a burkini-wearing woman to remove her clothes. It should not matter, but I am not a Muslim. However, whatever one’s preference for beachwear is (and most dubiously heterosexualist men like me no doubt believe less is more when it comes to women’s beach attire), a sickening irony lost to very few made itself clear that here, just as in certain regimes whose repressiveness Western democracies decry, was an example of men creating and promulgating restrictions on women’s clothing, and men enforcing such restrictions with the obvious threat of force – male use of state power legislatively and paramilitarily to dominate women’s bodies. 

Rationalizing such sumptuary laws forced certain politicians to jump through ridiculous hoops. One French mayor stammered that such restrictions on beachwear would also mean that, for example, women wearing nun’s habits would also not be allowed on beaches. Take that, Sister Wendy.

Of course, and as if the French government had planned this, such bans have sent sales of the burkini through the roof

I, in my usual contrarian madness, had an idea. What if we turned our blinkered zeal on another group more deserving of our opprobrium? I am talking, of course, of other men… in this case the fringe elements of the iGent subculture. Now, I have nothing against iGents. Some of my best friends are iGents. But why can’t we keep the bad ones out? To help facilitate this, I have come up with the following sartorial fatwas:

SHALL BE PROHIBITED THE FOLLOWING AS ANATHEMA TO NATURE AND GOOD SENSE:

Men who show the passive narrow ends of their neckties dangling below the front: These poor fellows are clearly cretins dangerous to themselves and to others as they cannot even tie a necktie with any semblance of coordination. They have learned to rationalize this as something they call “#sprezz,” and in fact this suggests a related neurological affliction as they keep repeating this word ad nauseam. Suffering as they do from Sprezzatourette’s, they present a clear and present danger to the hygiene and well-being of all around them (like those doctors whose pendulous neckties were found to collect and harbor dangerous germs – or like the arguments one politician made about the unhygienity of bathing while as covered up as in a burkini). Moreover, they even risk harming themselves through their lack of basic coordination: while posing for some Pitti street-style shots their trailing, flapping skinny appendages could accidentally get caught on someone’s Vespa and strangle them Isadora Duncan-style. These troubled souls should be removed from society to a place of quarantine and purification until this malady has left them.

Men who use the words “suitings” and “shirtings” to refer to suits and shirts or who use the word “dappered”: Undoubtedly fifth columnists who have snuck in to our forgiving and tolerant jurisdictions with untoward intentions of betraying our inexhaustible Occidental hospitality. They have betrayed themselves through their shoddy grasp of the English language, which has caused these elementary and glaring errors. You won’t get us this time, you fanatics! Thankfully, even if their defective diction did not announce them, their usually ludicrous and conspicuous attire makes them stand out a mile away. To be sent for mandatory ideological and semantical re-education until the malapropist pretentions are beaten out of them. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Men who wear pocket squares exploding and billowing out of their breast pockets like a pectoral projectile Technicolor yawn: Such men are imposing yet another layer of covering over their chests. What do they have to hide? Why can they not neatly stuff or fold their handkerchieves? I fear their cultural values can never be reconciled with our shared values of not looking like a dumbass. Why, more and more men are appearing with such outlandish garb. What could it mean? Are they sending some sort of signal to each other with these items, like some sort of extremist iGent version of the complicated and mythical ghey bandanna in the jeans butt pocket code? Could they be some badge of insurrection? Best to nip these things in the bud. All those loud patterns… Spots, paisleys, bright colors no longer are just an alleviating dash peeking out of a pocket, but a gigantic eruption like that which caused the Year Without A Summer in 1815. My God, they can’t be trying to re-enact that cataclysm, could they? We must keep them from signaling to each other and avert another Bronze Age Collapse! Such wearers to be sent to a black (suit) site, indefinitely.

Of course, this is a fruitless, if not onanistic, exercise. Odds are five against one that such fellows are perfectly harmless. Placing the onus on other men, as opposed to women as is common practice, with all of this attendant hyperbole ought to highlight the ridiculousness of legislating, for badly veiled ideological reasons, what others can wear. And, in addition, a fatwa is just an opinion or a decree, not a death sentence, and is binding only on its deliverer (thanks Wikipedia!). Thus, the only person who should be forced to obey these ridiculous ravings… is me. So I won’t dress in the way I deem against nature. Would we could all respect each other’s idiosyncrasies.

Photo by Neil Watson