|Approved by the King of Monochrome himself|
Venture into the men's grooming section of a typical store and you will find that the vast majority of men's skin and hair care products are packaged with the same sober, manly colors: gunmetal grey, bleak black and minimalist white with the occasional daring forays into colors such as navy blue and Chernobyl orange, the latter two colors suggestive of the ruggedly manly endeavors of military service and donning a radiation suit to heroically battle through clouds of radioactive smoke respectively. Contrast this to the women's grooming section, where you will find near-identical products packaged in a much broader and vibrant spectrum of colors ranging from delicate pastels to vivid jewel tones. Indeed, somewhere along the passage of time, the culturally normative ideal of masculinity in the Western world has shifted from the colorfully bewigged, ruffled and powdered aristos of old world Europe (think Louis XIV, or perhaps the Swiss Guard) to the comparatively far more drab dudebro-type creature today. This is perhaps indicative of how far we as a species have diverged from our animal kin, as it is the males of the animal kingdom that tend towards biological ornamentation (e.g. the peacock vs. the peahen). Exactly how and why this shift has occurred is best left as a subject for another blog, but what I'd always enjoyed about figure skating was the fact that it was a rare exception to the contemporary sea of male drabness, where a man could wear something like this on a mainstream international public broadcast and still be taken (somewhat) seriously:
There have been times, however, I've wondered if the tides have turned and that the majority of men in figure skating have indeed plunged into the dreary sea of black, stony grey, black, olive brown, black, navy blue and black that is pervasive in so many other sports and other spheres of life. For example, consider the following examples from this season:
....and so on. Alas, in terms of color, there are times when it feels like I'm watching C-SPAN more than a figure skating competition. Of course, all this sartorial sobriety in skating is not necessarily a bad thing--Beelzebub knows how long figure skating has struggled to be taken seriously when its participants were gliding around dressed as giraffes, hicks and other assorted oddities. Yet insofar as figure skating is more circuses than bread when it comes to mass appeal, I suspect that I am far from the only one who secretly enjoys the spectacle and pageantry of more flamboyant costuming choices. Well, I suppose that's all the more reason to start watching more ice dance next season, especially with the Yankee Polka selected as the short dance pattern.