What is it with celebrities who appear in public looking like they just crawled out of a cardboard box under a bridge?
The men are the worst. Most actresses still get spiffed up for movie premieres, but alongside each bejeweled, beautifully coiffed and gowned woman, you’re likely to see a guy with a three-day growth of beard, torn jeans, dirty sneakers, a plaid shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest, and hair that looks like monkeys have been combing through it for fleas.
It’s possible that the guy is clean and smells like a rose, but I always feel sorry for the woman who has to go out in public with a man who looks as if he stinks.
The facial hair thing has been out of control for years. I don’t recall exactly when it started, but at some point every man in show business suddenly had beard stubble all the time. I kept wondering how they managed to keep it perpetually at that two-day stage, then I learned that razor attachments are made for exactly that purpose. What I’ve never learned is WHY any man wants to look that scruffy. For whatever reason, the old-fashioned close shave every morning is history for many male celebrities.
The bed-hair style took hold hard soon after chin stubble did, and I don’t think any man in show business who’s under 45 has combed his hair since.
What kills me is that they seem to think they look great. Sexy, even. They pose for the cameras with a confidence that says, “Take a look at this, girls. Am I irresistible or what?” All I can think is, why would any woman want to run her fingers through that greasy hair? Do these men not own mirrors?
I give rock musicians a pass. They’re a different species, living in their own little universe. You can’t be a rock musician and look normal. I also don’t mind Johnny Depp’s clothing and hairstyles, which have grown increasingly eccentric as he has aged. He’s Johnny Depp, after all, not a mere man, and besides, he always looks clean. But I have to wonder about actors who work hard to put an impressive performance on film, then go around promoting that film in such disarray that their appearance detracts from anything insightful or appealing they might have to say.
Now I fear the trend toward grunge is invading the world of mystery writers. With each year that passes, I see the appearance of conference attendees slipping ever more rapidly toward that just-got-out-of-bed look, and some writers have decided that being comfortably sloppy is their right, wherever they are, so they dress the same way for panels as they do for playing with their pets at home. I have recently seen jeans and tee shirts at an awards banquet. It wasn’t the Edgars banquet, you can be sure; Mystery Writers of America still knows how to emphasize the specialness of an occasion by asking everyone to look their best.
I realize it’s unseemly for one adult to tell others how to dress in public. I’m just saying that mystery readers who go to conferences to meet writers might appreciate seeing them looking tidy and attractively dressed.
Here are two writers, Jason Pinter and Hank Phillipi Ryan, who sat next to me at the Oakmont Festival of Mystery in May. Don’t they look great? They aren’t overdressed, but they do appear to care about making a good impression on readers.
So how do you feel about grunge? Is your opinion of a show business celebrity or a writer diminished when you see that person looking unkempt or frumpy in public? Are you ready to sign my petition to Angelina Jolie imploring her not to let Brad Pitt out of the house again until he shaves and combs his hair?