Wait, you say. In class? Didn’t you retire? Well, I took over for a maternity leave in the fall and now am in the middle of a second one. I guess I need a tutorial on how to actually retire. I’ll elaborate next time on how it feels to work when I don’t need to work.
But yes, I am a hobosexual. It’s a term I created several years ago when I first heard about metrosexuals, referring to heterosexual men who are meticulous in their grooming and who dress with a certain pizazz. You know, the guys who spend the equivalent of a car payment on a pair of jeans. The guys who enjoy shopping for scarves and silk shirts and cologne. I am the opposite of this. I am a hobosexual. The guy who hates shopping and grabs whatever t-shirt happens to be on top of the pile in the dresser drawer. The guy who wears gym shoes for nearly any occasion. The guy who owns a single sports jacket that I wear for both school open houses and funerals.
I’m not proud to be a hobosexual, and a part of me envies guys who can pull off the metro look. But I don’t think I can do it. My head is too big, my legs are too short, my posture is too stooped. Granted, I’m not as pathetic as I once was. Marriage saved me from looking like a homeless person. To offer one example, when I was a kid, guys commonly wore high, striped athletic socks. It wasn’t uncommon for me, even as a young man, to pull two unmatched striped socks and wear them with shorts, which I’m sure were equally hideous. (Imagine tight and too short.) Having daughters who have not inherited my high style has helped too. On my birthdays, they sometimes present me with shirts or pants or, god help me, sandals, that will push my boundaries. And I try. At times, I try. But I feel like an imposter. And so self-conscious. Like I’m betraying some core personality trait.
The reason I’ve mentioned the term in class over the years? I like the term. I think it’s apt. I think it’s a word that could catch on and perhaps provide consolation to other hobosexuals out there. You don’t need to be ashamed anymore. Come out of the closet—because there’s nothing worth wearing in there anyway.
I told my students about my mission to spread the word, encouraging them to start using it. Savvy as they are, they said, Well, why don’t you just tweet about it? They were not shocked that I hadn’t thought of this. They were shocked that I have a Twitter account, and within seconds, one of them tweeted about my hobo ways.
Right now in my word processing program, that squiggly red line appears under hobosexual to indicate a misspelling. Pass this post along, spread the word, and together, maybe we can erase that unstylish red line.
It might take a while, but I really need to find an old photograph.