I’M ON A BOAT: A RUNDOWN OF ACCEPTABLE SUMMER FOOTWEAR

Fact: Women love boats. We love riding in boats, looking at boats, yacht clubs, booze cruises. You name it, we’re on board with it (literally). And since July is the prime season for sailing into her heart and dropping anchor, Miss Wingman thought it only fair to provide you with a little nautical footwear rundown.

Why? Because you should capitalize on this opportunity to put your best foot forward while it’s still seasonally appropriate. And because the only thing that can hurt your chances is what you’ve got on your feet. So take a break from swabbing the deck, raise the sails and listen up, boys.

(*Miss Wingman note: In Googling whether “swabbing the deck” is even a viable nautical term anymore, I discovered that it has an alternate meaning of the perverse sexual variety. Thanks for the traumatic new knowledge, Urban Dictionary).

You’ve heard me rant against public enemy #1, Crocs, before. And decry the offensiveness of mandals (that’s “man sandals” for the uninitiated). And I’ve grazed over the merits of Sperry’s and flip flops (both completely fine). But a new potential enemy has surfaced in my war against male footwear, and I had to share it with you.

Behold: Swims.

Am I the only one who hadn’t heard of these before? It’s recently come to my attention that someone has taken the idea of summery dude shoes to another level, and thus Swims were unleashed on the world. They’re a hybrid of aqua socks (bleh!) and loafers, and they look a little like a Tod’s driving moccasin with an entirely mesh, waterproof cloth body. Oh, and they come with laces and tassles, too… if that’s what you’re into.

As ridiculous as this sounds, I’ve been grappling with what my opinion is on these things since they were put onto my radar. So I did a little research: The Norwegian company who created Swims (or more accurately, a Norwegian guy named Johan), began by making fashion-questionable galoshes to help protect shoes during the soaking rainy season. Yes, galoshes – those things your dad wore. Or your mom, they make a truly horrifying version for women’s high heels, too (Thanks a lot, Norway).

This is a fine idea I suppose, but somehow over time they expanded the brand and began cross-pollinating water proof shoes with penny loafers, and this is where the trouble started. Though I understand the necessity for a rubber-soled shoe for men, I think I’ve finally figured out where I stand on the issue: The world did not need the Swims loafer. It has simply gone too far.

That said, I know there will be several of you who will adamantly defend these ridiculous things – just like legions of Croakies lovers came out of the woodwork after I bashed those, too. Miss Wingman is still getting photos of Croakies texted to me and email testimonials from friends who apparently love those God awful things. (PS, remind me to de-friend all of you now, thanks).

So, if you choose to ignore my purchase advice and absolutely MUST take a dip in the Swims pool, there are only a few acceptable styles and colors to choose from among the vast array they offer. I’m more pro-tassle than pro-flat front loafer, which is considerably less attractive. The lace up loafer is the least heinous style and the penny loafer is borderline, in my opinion. As for colors? Navy is nice, gray is good, and the orange, red or green? Those would even be a little bit much if you were competing in a regatta. Yikes.

Under no circumstances should males rock the white Swims – in any style. You’ve heard me say this before, but no one can pull those off. Not even a deckhand on the Love Boat. I mean it – cut that sh*t out.

You’d also do well to avoid the Charles style, but the forthcoming Helmut isn’t too terrible, from what I can tell. But if I ever spot any of you sporting the slipper Swims, I’m staging an intervention, and it won’t be pretty.

In fairness, I would never give you a full list of “Don’ts” without at least offering you some alternatives. That said, I’ve grown to appreciate a good Sperry top-sider. Recent collaborations that I love are the Sperry Top-Sider/Band of Outsiders styles and Sperry for Barneys Co-Op (a pop of color at it’s very best).

I also never find fault with flip flops, unless they’re of the Adidas, shower shoe variety – it’s not college anymore – and Cons (ahem, Converse) will always be an old school favorite of mine.

But whatever direction your footwear fetish takes you, keep in mind two things: 1) Gay men can pull off many things that straight guys cannot (look no further than length of shorts hem). Baby steps, boys, don’t try to emulate – for your own good. And 2) Remember, even if you don’t actually have a boat, that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to your girl-getting advantage. Good luck, god speed, and may the romance waters always be smooth sailing.DAPPER WINGMAN

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(SUMMER) GAME KILLERS THAT MAKE WOMEN CRINGE

(Taps the mic) Is this thing on?

Listen up, men of the world. Miss Wingman is all for praise and patting you on the back for having good manners, decent style or even superior pick up skills, but sometimes I have to put my foot down.

And speaking of feet, we need to talk.

Now that the mercury is rising (or more accurately, assaulting the hell out of us) there are a few things you boys need to be aware of in the grooming department. Why? Because summer is rife with opportunities for picking up women. Roof top parties, backyard barbecues, ball games, weddings, concerts – it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. So why would you voluntarily blow your chances with a girl by committing one of these highly unsavory faux pas?

You wouldn’t, at least not if I can help it.

But getting back to the feet thing – or rather, toenail thing – let’s be real here. I’m horrified that I have to write about something so vile, but apparently dudes are not getting the memo that having feet that resemble talons is highly unsexy to most females. Strike that – to all females.

Common sense dictates that if the weather is warm enough for you to ditch socks and shoes in favor of some flip flop action (*Miss Wingman note: Notice I didn’t say “sandal” action. I’m strongly anti-Mandals), then your toes will be on display for all the world to see.

So please, for the love of God, put the “man” back in “manicure” and clean your act up, boys.

Use some clippers, trim some hair, hell – even throw on some moisturizer if you’re feeling a little crazy that day. Just do some maintenance, I beg of you. I’m not suggesting you hit up a nail salon (Women judge you for that. Don’t let any of them tell you differently), but sometimes a professional is required to work that sh*t out. Do what you must, we’ll look the other way.

And if you do all that and your little piggies still look like they didn’t only go to the market, but they also got run over by an 18-wheeler on the way home, then perhaps opt for some closed-toe shoes instead. Sperry’s or Converse are a solid summer substitute.

One last thing to really nail my point home (pun intended!). This goes for fingernails, too. If I had a dollar for every time I was on the subway and I saw a guy grab the pole with fingernails so long they could only be suitable for drug sniffing, well…I wouldn’t have to take the subway, let’s just put it that way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no one wants to look like Wolverine, and women don’t want to date that, either (unless we’re talking about Hugh Jackman).

Onto the issue of sweating. No one’s arguing that there are few things that suck harder than being forced to wear a suit on a sweltering day. I have the utmost sympathy for corporate-types in heat waves, I assure you. But if you’re not donning your office best (or if you have a job with a particularly casual-slash-liberal dress code) take this hot weather fashion suggestion: Just wear a white T-shirt. Hear that boys? Just a plain, crisp, white tee.

Why? Because it’s classic (hey it worked for James Dean didn’t it?) but more importantly it masks your enormous sweat stains. Sure, they might still be there, but at least we can’t see them. Not a huge revelation, but an important one.

And finally – the topic of eyewear. Miss Wingman will do a full rundown of female-friendly frame styles down the road, but in the meantime just take this advice: No one should ever wear a sunglasses strap (otherwise known as Croakies). Ever. Under any circumstances. Not even if you’re a sport fisherman on the Discovery Channel.

True story: when I first started dating a former boyfriend, he owned this heinous accessory. Upon discovering it, I promptly made it disappear, and would keep hiding it every time it resurfaced. Why? Because it looks ridiculous. What are you really telling the world when you wear it, that you can’t be bothered to put your shades in your pocket when you take them off? Is the weather that blustery that they’re at risk of just flying right off your face?

My hatred of Croakies is second only to my disdain for Crocs, but I’m not alone in that sentiment. Sure there will be men among you who will plead your pro-Croakies case, but trust me on this one – we hate them.

So that’s it – warm weather wisdom for wooing women. (I should get an award for most alliteration for that sentence). I’ve sacrificed my eyesight for the greater good, but I did it out of love. Ever tried to Google image search “long fingernails”? You can’t un-see that stuff. Now kindly heed these suggestions in your pursuit of a summer romance. And remember: You should always put your best foot forward with the ladies, but there’s nothing wrong with it being a well-manicured one.DAPPER WINGMAN

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