THE BOULEVARDIER: See you, see me

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: The iPhone 4 and what it means for male vanity.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for years and years. And it’s finally arrived and, to my surprise, no one else seems to have grasped the significance. How is it that Marshall McLuhan or Faith Popcorn didn’t predict this moment in social connectivity and future fashion?

C’mon people, what was so important that happened last Friday? Friday the 30th? Fine. Drum roll please…

We entered the AGE OF THE JETSONS.

I remember an episode of the Jetsons where one of the women calls her friend via video phone early in the morning. She hits the button, then screams. We see the screen: The friend is beyond disheveled, with smeared makeup and matted hair. Realizing that she isn’t put together, the friend darkens the monitor, grabs a perfect latex mask of herself and pulls it on.With a click of a button, the screen comes back to life and she’s perfectly coiffed and made-up.

If you’re as image-conscious as I’ll admit to being, my iPhone 4 has changed everything—again. (To quote Apple.) As you might imagine, I came to Skype late in the game. Not everyone has a machine with video, but now I have the technology right in my hand. Does the phrase “What will I wear?” come to mind?

Better yet: Who will I be?

I can foresee a company being created to make those latex masks—or, better yet, to make masks of how you’d like to be seen. Or perhaps it presents the opportunity to wear the face of another. Maybe a new app is being developed right now that will sync my talking head with that of my dream self talking to you: “Hi, it’s me calling.” Only you’re seeing the face of Julius Caesar or Mohammed Ali.

Other possible changes? Man’s vanity might get the better of him and there will be a renaissance in men’s makeup, to hide our blemishes and baggy-saggy eyes. Maybe there will be a return to the Elizabethan collar—think of framing of your image, and how one can best fill that up with finery.

(How I wish that sartorial moment would return and we could lay to rest the cravat. Of course, this is the perfect moment to wear a jaunty scarf or two. I promise an article in the near future on how to knot a scarf in multiple ways.)

Funnily enough, while writing this, an ad from Apple came on extolling the benefits of its new device. Newborns and soldier fathers aside, what really got me was the couple speaking to each other in sign language. OK, you win.

Do I really want you to see me? Well yes, because I really want to see you. So much of the nuance of our communication is based on the visual clues we give each other. Not to mention that I really love to see your smile.

Read more from The Boulevardier here, and follow him on Twitter: @aboulevardier.

One thought on “THE BOULEVARDIER: See you, see me

  1. Any device that hastens the demise of the cravat is to be approached with extreme caution.

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