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I’ve plundered the portal of infinite wisdom (YouTube) and educated myself in the fundamentals of New York street-etiquette. For example, I know not to talk to, look at, interfere with, obstruct or make physical contact with anyone who looks remotely like a Manhattanite for fear they’ll go ghetto on my ass. This shouldn’t be too hard, because I’m told true locals are easily recognised because (a) they don’t smile, and (b) they are better dressed than you, and (c) they don’t smile.

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I want to blend in, so I’ve been practising the not-smiling part (since about 1987) and now have a face to make the moai of Easter Island seem expressive. The dressing-better part, though, I can only achieve by leaving my entire wardrobe at home. Maybe burn everything before I leave, so that I have no choice? Anyway, I need to buy some clothes when I arrive in the city, but I have to be careful or I may end up with a suitcase full of unstructured outerwear, satin pants and ‘statement belts’; or ‘athleisure’ whatever the fuc* that is. I don’t want to accidentally end up like a paunchy version of this sorry-ass individual:

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Mind you, those pants do look comfortable. Plenty of room for when I get back to Sydney and have to run for my life.

That said, I’m only half of the problem. I’ve heard whisper that women’s fashion for Spring/Summer 2017 might be locally-driven by the ‘fashion-forward’ Trump women. While I certainly won’t stand in her way if my wife wants to come home dressed by Ivanka or Melania, there’s always the fear that she might get sucked into the vortex of some random third-world groping frenzy, just because she’s ‘taking the puppies for a walk’ if I can coin a phrase. But I’m talking about Bryant Park here, not downtown Bengaluru, so that won’t happen, will it? What do real women with boobs in NY wear, anyway? Note: I didn’t say women with real boobs in NY, so let’s ask the First Lady.

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Hmm. At least she’s not stuck with high-waisted clown-pants like I am! But I digress — the best thing about getting older is that you gradually become invisible. The only thing that spoils this well-earned peace is if you vainly persist in trying to look younger than you actually are. The phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb‘ probably has its origins in the UK, but we use it here for that. We also like the US-imported ‘sixteen sixty-six‘ which is an updated variant on the ‘good from afar, but far from good‘ insult handed to older women who look young from the rear but OH MY GOD from infront, what the Japanese call a bakku-shan. It’s totally unfair that there aren’t equivalent phrases for men, but, you know, shit happens. That doesn’t mean people aren’t laughing at us fellas too, though! That’s why we should go gently into the night. We’ve earned it.

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But I’m getting (20+ years) ahead of myself. I’m not ready to give it away just yet, and I know that my wife still has plenty of miles left in her. You don’t want to become an embarrassment to your children prematurely — it’ll happen in good time anyway, why rush it — so the New York fashion-spree is something we’re looking forward to, rather than dreading.  My wife has her look all stitched up, but maybe I can find a ‘look’ of my own as well, finally, after all these years.

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