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One of the many enduring lessons imparted on us all by pint-size philosophers and noted social commentators 3 Little Women (known amongst the intelligentsia simply as 3LW) went thusly:
Playas, they gonna play
And haters, they gonna hate
Ballers, they gonna ball
Shot callers, they gonna call
That ain't got nothin' to do
With me and you
That's the way it is
Blame it on social constructionism—everyone knows 3LW’s self-titled debut album was largely inspired by the works of Lev Vygotsky—or blame it on some kind of biological pre-disposition, like Restless Leg Syndrome, the polio of our time. But that is, it seems, the way it is.
With all due respect to the playas, ballers and especially the shot callers, I’d like to hone in on the haters to examine this treatise further. Before we go any further and I start getting anonymous angry emails again after one of my Four Pins pieces goes live, I’m making the Steve Dool Legal Department announcement that I’m not talking about spray-painting-swastikas haters, or high-school-bullying haters, or any other actual-hate-crime-haters. I’m talking about your average, run of the mill, unimpressed, grouchy, surly, doesn’t-like-anything hater. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’d also like to point out that in many instances, I too self-identify as a so-called “hater.” This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever read anything I’ve ever written in my nearly three decades of walking God’s Green Earth. Like this, for example. And definitely this, too.
Drunk bachelorettes from Arizona would probably tell us that haters are just jealous, while overly-confident bros with shirtless profile photos are likely to comment that without haters, there can be no lovers.
If one is to believe teenagers on Twitter, rappers and the Real Housewives of All Over the Goddamn Place, haters are everywhere. Everywhere in the world, just sitting around, feet up on an ottoman or something, hating on stuff. They’re easily identified by their befuddling habit of not agreeing with you and their penchant for calling out what isn’t “good.”
The world of men’s fashion is of course no different, especially with the Internet as such a driving force in the industry. Street style looks are dissected all over social media. Editorial spreads with questionable styling are examined and reblogged ad naseum. Have you ever read the comments on a blog like Hypebeast? Haters on haters on haters. It’s like the Hater Township Country Club on there, which is at least 1x more intimidating than the Babysitter’s Club. And of course, my absolute favorite, menswear blogger battles on Twitter, which I’ve recently heard have sometimes mutated into menswear blogger battles on INSTAGRAM, which is kind of like flipping a table over at a church bake sale. Take it to StyleForum or something, guys. Instagram is about peace and pictures of your food.
Above all else, a steady stream of hate as we know it is really fucking exhausting. But do haters play a role in our little corner of the little corner of the world occupied by fashion and men’s fashion, in particular? Drunk bachelorettes from Arizona would probably tell us that haters are just jealous, while overly-confident bros with shirtless profile photos are likely to comment that without haters, there can be no lovers. And in a sad, stomach churning way, maybe they’re both kind of right?
You know you don’t love Joseph Abboud that much, ok? My accountant doesn’t even love Joseph Abboud that much.
Sure, sometimes people getting street styled look ridiculous or are the obvious benefactors of some new wave PR efforts in a way that’s painfully contrived and they deserve your disdain, I guess. But just admit that sometimes you see a photo of somebody on Jak & Jil and you get a little tinge of something that feels a lot like envy. And you wish it were you up there on the Internet, strutting faux-casually for all the world to see. And how exhausting does it get when industry insiders live tweeting Fashion Week talk about how much they love absolutely everything? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear them just tear something apart for once? You know you don’t love Joseph Abboud that much, ok? My accountant doesn’t even love Joseph Abboud that much. Shouts to Gary S., CPA, btw.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that there will always be haters, just as the aforementioned trio of diminutive ladies Adrienne, Kiely and Naturi warned us, and there is a place for some shade in all of our lives, provided we can mix it up with some good vibes, too. And vice-versa. Any real hater or real lover knows that if you want your hate/love to actually mean anything, you’ve got to temper it with some of the opposite sent out there every now and again so you’re not written off as a total sociopath.
Ironically, Songs in the Key of Sociopathy: I Am Literally Crazy in Love Right Now, Boo was actually the working title of 3LW’s last album, forever lost inside the archives of Epic Records upon the group’s dissolution in 2007. Ahead of their time, that 3LW.
Steve Dool is a writer based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.