I Must Have Missed the Meeting

When did being an unkempt slob become style?

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: November 1, 2003

I Must Have Missed the Meeting

Style.....there's a word that bears consideration. "It takes style," "He or she has style," "It's the style of the times," "Latin style," this or that "style".... I don't know how most other people define the word style, but to me, it has always meant something positive, something to emulate, something you strive to be or be seen as, on mutually accepted terms in public.

Two recent experiences have motivated me to write this story, which has put the term "style" into a different perspective. Let me briefly share some giggles about style with you:

A couple of months ago, I was invited to a CD release party in Hollywood. I got dressed up in a suit and tie, for respectful reasons, and happily attended. While standing outside having a quick smoke with one the producers, I noticed a young man began to approach us with some purpose. I don't know if he wanted to speak with me or the producer, but before he could say anything, I gave him my usual L.A. response when approached by healthy, able-to-work-a-job panhandlers: "I don't have any spare change, man. Sorry." The young man looked at me first with surprise, then with hurt anger, then walked away after giving me a middle finger salute. (He was lucky I was wearing a suit in public!) He was wearing torn blue jeans that looked like he hadn't changed the oil in them in months, his hair was in disarray & severely uncombed, he was unshaven and his shirt looked like he had slept in it for a couple of days.

The producer I was with had a good laugh before informing me that the young man was a member of the band that was being honored that night. I thought, shouldn't somebody have told him to shower, shave, comb his hair and wear some clean clothes for the occassion? Again, my producer friend laughed when I shared this thought with him. "Man, that's the style. And they're selling records, so don't knock it," he said. He agreed he wouldn't be caught dead outside of the County Jail or a homeless shelter looking like that, but that if brought in adolescent-fad dollars , he was all for it. (Yet, he was looking mas suave in his 3 peice!)

I felt like I had missed some important entertainment world meeting where this was discussed and approved. Seems only us older Gente know how to dress for special ocassions. I am always so tempted to send some of these morning TV news people a comb in the mail. A gay co-worker friend of mine once remarked, "there must be a bunch of gay hairstylists in Hollywood laughing their asses off and exchanging high-fives when they exchange stories on how some of their customers that are stars have been fooled into going out into public looking like absolute slobs, and they see them on TV".

When I was young, we called them "winos", "bums", and "hobos". Now we call them "homeless", "druggies" or "rock & movie stars". I must have missed the meeting. I still smile when I think about it. Oh vale!

A couple of months ago, I attended a funeral for an old friend of the family. Being in Church and again being respectful, I dressed up in a suit & tie. I couldn't believe it when I saw some young homies coming into the church in cut off shorts, t-shirts and cut off pantyhose or hairnets on their heads! What the hell was this?, I thought. Where's the respect for the dead? Some of the guys who were shaved bald wore baseball caps and refused to take them off when asked. Others had their pants hanging beneath their nalgas like they we were SO cool. I actually felt embarrassed for them.

Some of the Chicanitas, who are naturally some of the most beautiful females on Earth, had so much cleavage & butt showing that they looked like hookers! I truly believe girls with tatoos on their chests and scarred up legs shouldn't dress so skimpily in public! (especially those who have been missing the gym lately!) Glad there wasn't a bunch of white people to see these clowns. I mean, when did wearing sunglasses on the back of your head become cool? Who the hell did they think they were, I thought?

Then, as I mentioned to a friend how it bothered me that some homies have made it a style to carve their plaqueasos on toilet seats in public restrooms, some young Chicanita overhearing my conversation stepped in and agreed that it was a stupid thing to do, but that some of the guys were "so cute", and that that was the "style" of today. I don't know if she was just humoring a couple of older dudes, or if she really believed that being "cute" justified such embarassing behavior, and was acceptable as "style". I don't know, did I miss a meeting, or an announcement in LatinoLA or La Opinion or La Prenza? When did the Raza decide such pendejadas were ok? Where are the parents, older family members & neighborhood veteranos that should be schooling these young people who will inherit our planet? Isn't anybody else besides me embarassed how our young Gente look?

As I was leaving, feeling a bit disgusted and disappointed at the younger generation, 2 young homies in baggy, sagging pants decided to show off and throw a small football around in the parking lot. As one youngster was running to catch the ball, his pants fell down around his knees and he fell smack on his face! Laughing out loud, some older females said, "see what happens when you screw around in God's parking lot?", causing the young guy to run away in shame as he pulled his pants up, while others laughed at him. I felt sorry for the young baboso, but glad that maybe this would influence a change in "style" in him, maybe pull his pants back over his nalgas or something. I giggle when I think about his fashion statement as he fell on his ass in front of all those people. Asi no mas, dude! Tell somebody, ese! Don't do it again, pendejo!

I don't know......I must have missed the meeting. When did being a unkempt slob become "style"?.........

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme doesn't spend all night starching his khakis anymore, but still dresses clean! website:

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