A link between neurotic unhappiness and creativity

by WCE

Creative and neurotic: Is neuroticism fueled by overthinking?

This article positing a link between neuroticism and creativity discusses a correlation with no known mechanism, so we can speculate unencumbered by data. Mr WCE and I both have trouble turning off, and for him especially, that leads to sleep difficulties. I can’t tell how neurotic I am, but I know I spend a lot of time living inside my own head. When I spent a month in the hospital before my twins were born, it was hard to read books and so I mostly did Sudoku puzzles and thought, with some listening to music. Apparently not everyone is like that.


191 thoughts on “A link between neurotic unhappiness and creativity

  1. I am super neurotic and it has gotten worse since I don’t work. My neuroticism was an asset in my professional life and I could channel most of it to work. Not so much an asset in my personal one. I am working on becoming more zen. But even that makes me neurotic.

  2. That need to be inside my own head for a certain amount of time each day is what makes going back into the office so difficult. When my kids were small and needed more attention, working from home in complete silence was a sanity-saver for me. The constant him of people, and people popping in to chat when I’m deep in thought really wears me down. And like Mr WCE, the difficulty in turning off my thoughts results in sleep problems. That is why I like reading so much more than watching TV – it requires more focus so I can quit thinking about whatever is pre-occupying me. I do not consider myself unusually creative, though. On the flipside, my two siblings write for a living, and I am potentially more neurotic then the two of them combined. So from my sample size of three, I don’t really see a link.

  3. I don’t like the word neurotic, since it means so many things (and makes me think of Woody Allen’s style of neurotic NY geek). I would describe myself as very intense which I know can make me offputting at times. I often wish I could relax and take a “Don’t worry” attitude. I laughed at WCE’s description of doing Sudoku instead of reading when stuck in the hosptial. I would be the opposite – puzzles make me more fidgity.

  4. Interesting test of neuroticism:


    ..Friendliness 65
    ..Gregariousness 92
    ..Assertiveness 1
    ..Activity Level 1
    ..Excitement-Seeking 1
    ..Cheerfulness 66

    DOMAIN/Facet Score
    ..Trust 92
    ..Morality 50
    ..Altruism 69
    ..Cooperation 93
    ..Modesty 74
    ..Sympathy 82

    DOMAIN/Facet Score
    ..Self-Efficacy 38
    ..Orderliness 41
    ..Dutifulness 54
    ..Achievement-Striving 17
    ..Self-Discipline 4
    ..Cautiousness 96

    DOMAIN/Facet Score
    ..Anxiety 19
    ..Anger 1
    ..Depression 38
    ..Self-Consciousness 67
    ..Immoderation 68
    ..Vulnerability 28

    I’d be interested to see how others scored.

  5. I think MIL’s got this. I’ve never known someone who has such an intense need to know the details of things over which she has no responsibility. I realized when we were on vacation that she has severe weather alerts programmed on her phone (not surprising) for where they live, but also where we live, and where her DS lives on the other side of the country. So she’ll always know when someone’s getting a thunderstorm. We were seated at a restaurant, and my brother and his family were a few minutes behind. We saw them crossing the street to come inside, but my brother and his kids came inside while my SIL went somewhere else, out of sight. What I think the normal response in this situation is to figure that if they want to share the reason that she did not walk into the restaurant, my brother will tell us. If not, who cares?

    My MIL physically can not let this go, and she starts asking me where my SIL went? Clearly, I have no more information on this topic than she does. “Well is she OK??” This is where I was a little bit rude, which I regret, but WTF does she want me to do? How am I supposed to know? If they needed help, I’m sure my brother would ask for it. Otherwise, just relax. But she can’t, and sometimes you can almost see the gears working and that it’s a constant struggle to not get antsy about nonsense that doesn’t matter.

    And I don’t know if that really relates to the article, but DW has recently mentioned that she wishes she were not so hard on her mom about it, and that sometimes she feels small inklings toward the same behavior.

  6. On the Big 5 Personality traits, I am very low on neuroticism. When I took a management seminar with coworkers, I was the lowest, and it wasn’t even close. The instructor told us that our company & industry are generally very high on this trait. So that aligns to the theory that neuroticism and creativity go together. I also think that explains why since I started working here that people always say that I am a “calming influence”. I never heard that before until I started working here.

    Rhett – as for the other traits – I am average on extroversion and openness, somewhat low on conscientiousness and somewhat high on agreeableness.

  7. I am not neurotic or creative (happily so) and I sleep very well. DH leans toward neurotic with a heavy perfectionist streak and he has sleep problems when a lot is going on at work. My youngest sister and I were chatting last night about the lengths she went to to ensure her family’s new rental didn’t have an unsavory past (a neighbor had mentioned something about being glad they were moving in because the previous tenants had kept odd hours). She pulled police records, researched FB accounts and had her new home tested for meth because her 1 year old had a bad rash. All came back fine and apparently the previous tenants were actors. I was laughing but also in complete disbelief. Then she mentioned she barely sleeps. She knows there is a connection between bad sleep and neuroticism. and needs to seriously start running again.

  8. I generally do not have any trouble sleeping, although the older I get, the more often that I have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. (but I go right back to sleep)

  9. Milo – my mother is exactly like your MIL. We were enjoying an afternoon on the beach with the kids and she had forgotten her phone but she knew thereight be a storm coming (but it just depended on which direction the storm was going to turn). I had to check the radar about every ten minutes for her, but not the Weather Channel because that’s not accurate, it had to be AccuWeather. And even when it clearly said it was not going to hit she kept looking at the sky saying it looked menacing.

  10. Rhett, the directions on that inventory are what most people would refer as neurotic!
    I felt that the results for me were inaccurate. I asked you another question on yesterday’s post.

    On needing to know/wanting to control stuff over which a person has no control? That’s my mother! She tempers it with my sisters, out of respect for my brothers-in-law, which may mean I get overflow. I am slowly learning to let this be her issue, not mine. Some of it was learned by the next generation–I consciously taught myself years ago not to ask “who was that?” When someone takes a call in my presence, but when I recently sent a text to my sister that was intended for someone else, followed by a “sorry–wrong recipient” msg, she asked who it was meant for. When I didn’t answer, she asked again. Whole family (except me) will follow others’ flights, and might mention it in conversation “so, looks like your sister & fam are hung up at O’Hare”. I occasionally point out the pointlessness of discussion that further, but usually just go along with it, and am glad they don’t call to say “you’re still on the runway? What?!” All of this extends much, much deeper, way beyond sight of boundaries I’d consider appropriate. Again, I’ve learned that I can’t change their issues, so just do my best to tune it out. The thing that can still make me crazy there is my little sister insisting there is no difference. I think figuring out these patterns in my family, what about them bothers me, and how best to respond (i.e., not respond) has helped my other relationships.

    ..Trust 39
    ..Morality 83
    ..Altruism 79
    ..Cooperation 54
    ..Modesty 7
    ..Sympathy 95

    ..Self-Efficacy 78
    ..Orderliness 68
    ..Dutifulness 72
    ..Achievement-Striving 71
    ..Self-Discipline 33
    ..Cautiousness 97

    ..Anxiety 98
    ..Anger 76
    ..Depression 89
    ..Self-Consciousness 94
    ..Immoderation 97
    ..Vulnerability 99

    ..Imagination 90
    ..Artistic Interests 71
    ..Emotionality 91
    ..Adventurousness 71
    ..Intellect 84
    ..Liberalism 86

  12. and some could be answered differently, self control with cake is different than my self control with studying for an exam or going to the gym

  13. left off this one

    DOMAIN/Facet Score
    ..Friendliness 3
    ..Gregariousness 11
    ..Assertiveness 47
    ..Activity Level 82
    ..Excitement-Seeking 31
    ..Cheerfulness 80

  14. Wine, there were a lot of questions about getting angry, worded in different ways. Made me think of the recent discussion on here re customer service call centers. Lol!

  15. Saac – YES! to the tracking flights. That’s exactly what MIL will do.

    ..Friendliness 37
    ..Gregariousness 29
    ..Assertiveness 1
    ..Activity Level 4
    ..Excitement-Seeking 17
    ..Cheerfulness 66

    ..Self-Efficacy 38
    ..Orderliness 66
    ..Dutifulness 66
    ..Achievement-Striving 1
    ..Self-Discipline 17
    ..Cautiousness 92

    ..Anxiety 12
    ..Anger 20
    ..Depression 38
    ..Self-Consciousness 83
    ..Immoderation 6
    ..Vulnerability 68

    ..Imagination 11
    ..Artistic Interests 8
    ..Emotionality 22
    ..Adventurousness 11
    ..Intellect 79
    ..Liberalism 10

    A lot of these things are fairly accurate, but they also reflect your mood and specific focus at the time you take the survey, and that’s an individual snapshot that may or may not be representative of the whole picture.

  16. I took the test and turned out to be in my own mind to be a disagreeable slacker and extroverted openminded neurotic. Not sure what that means.

    I don’t think being nosy or controlling of others is the same as being neurotic. A neurotic does worry about stuff that is not perceptible to others or is completely out of his control and annoys people around him and makes him fretful. But it does not necessarily reduce his own enjoyment of life. Fussing over the details and giving himself a substitute for control via preparedness or attention to self perceived menacing outside events is part of what makes him tick. A control freak or nosy person can be that way without any sense of personal weakness or powerlessness – au contraire, they are angry when they don’t get information or their way because it is their right.

  17. Also, why did the survey ask if I liked going to art museums, and seemingly based on that answer alone, score me low on artistic interests? The guy never heard of concerts, live theater, movies? Or even the art inherent in the design of cars or boats?

  18. I think during one of our Frugalwoods discussions someone said something about it not being “Art!” With “Art!” having a very specific meaning. A Lucian Freud retrospective being “Art!” and a Jimmy Buffet concert being entertainment.

  19. Meme, you’re right that what I posted about isn’t neurosis. It’s gathering info to try to take control of others. Neurosis would be trying to control your own world. I almost never check on things like connections once I’m checked in at the airport, because the airline has a contract to get me from A to B, and will likely do it on their own schedule. If I miss a connection because the plane I was on was late, they’ll get me on another. Not much I can do about it, so I focus on other things, like my young travel companion. I take enough food and things to do to keep us for a long time.

  20. “I don’t think being nosy or controlling of others is the same as being neurotic. ”

    Totally agree. Neuroticism is more about how extreme your emotional reactions are, not necessarily how you express them outwardly to other people, right? I know it is often framed in the negative sense (being prone to depression and worry), but it also involves high levels of positive reactions as well.

    That said – the flight tracking thing totally clicked with me. The IL’s (all generations) are way more into each others’ business than makes me comfortable. They definitely track each other’s flights & stuff, and pass around completely inconsequential bits of information as if it is salacious gossip. I find it very odd. Why do I need to know what everyone is doing all the time? If they want me to know, they’ll tell me directly or share on social media or something. And on the flip side, why does anyone care that I had a meeting in a different office building? My coworkers don’t even care!

  21. Clicked send too soon.

    There is, of course, a huge difference between looking for info and signs for your own use and doing the same to control others. But at some level, it is the same. Atlanta’s MiL might have been worried that the children would get wet and wanted their parents to do something about that, or she might’ve been worried about getting caught in a storm herself. Either way, all the AccuWeather checking is annoying

  22. Ivy, you must be married to the brother I never knew I had!
    Honestly, the crap that bugs me about my own family shows up most frequently in people’s complaints about in-laws, not about family of origin.

  23. I tried to find a good definition:

    1. Also called psychoneurosis. a functional disorder in which feelings of anxiety, obsessional thoughts, compulsive acts, and physical complaints without objective evidence of disease, in various degrees and patterns, dominate the personality.
    2. A relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.

  24. With MIL, it’s not about being nosy or controlling. She’s the total opposite, if anything. If I had asked “Do you want me to ask my BIL where SIL is?” you can imagine that realization processing and her saying “No, of course not.”

    It’s much more just thinking out loud and fretting (the word DW uses) over these things.

  25. Sorry for all the comments. Some are probably itching to control my posting. I keep picking up the phone to see if Rhett has replied to me on the other page yet, as if checking would make him do it, lol.

  26. “Honestly, the crap that bugs me about my own family shows up most frequently in people’s complaints about in-laws, not about family of origin.”

    I don’t think it bothers DH much because he’s used to it & has some of the bug himself. He’s always asking me the most random questions ever about my own family & I look in his with disbelief and say, “Why would I know that? Why would I ask that?” Not nosy really – it’s not deeply personal stuff, it’s just random stuff.

    My family has plenty of their own quirks. More, in fact. Just not this particular one.

  27. what bugs me is whenever I call Mom, she says “where are you?”

    what does it matter?

  28. “what fictional characters do you consider to be “neurotic”?”

    In addition to the entire cast of Seinfeld, my favorite might be Colonel Cathcart:


    He’s the funniest one, at least:

    Colonel Cathcart is described in more detail. Although he is fairly young and successful, he is anguished that he is not younger and more successful. He wants desperately to be a general, and he can only measure his progress against the progress of others. This makes him perpetually unhappy. He depends mightily upon the advice of his assistant, Korn.

    Cathcart, who has adopted using a cigarette holder to appear more serious, is a great military tactician, so long as the campaign is his own self-interest and advancement in the ranks. Cathcart looks down on Korn—Korn’s family is middle-class, and Korn attended a state college—but without Korn he would be utterly lost, consumed by his anxieties.

    Cathcart meets with the chaplain. Cathcart has seen in the Saturday Evening Post a report of a chaplain who says prayers before missions; he asks the chaplain if he would do the same, here, in the hopes of getting the group in the magazine as well. Cathcart says he wants the prayer to be “snappy,” and he doesn’t want the chaplain to dwell on death, God, or other unnecessarily religious matters in the prayers.

    The chaplain replies that this will be difficult to accomplish; most prayers make reference to God in some way. When the chaplain asks whether enlisted men will also be asked to pray, Cathcart appears genuinely surprised that enlisted men pray to the same God as officers do.

  29. I was thinking about a friend’s mom who is neurotic. They bought a beach house so their kids and eventual grand kids could come visits etc. But, every time someone comes to visit, the mom will do an inspection to see if anything is damaged. If there is a chip or a scuff she’s rant about it. Her husband and kids are like, “It’s a chip on the landing, when we accumulate enough chips we’ll get it repainted.” Or, someone will leave a half empty bottle of whole milk in the fridge. And, since they only drink skim, she’ll rant about what to do with the whole milk. Her husband and kids are at their wits end as she’s ruined their entire day with her rants about nonsense.

    She knows she’s not supposed to do it but she just can’t control her reactions.

  30. My family has plenty of their own quirks. More, in fact. Just not this particular one.

    Same here.

  31. I am fairly laid back–I inherited this personality from my father. My mother is a lot more intrusive/ controlling. I don’t think it’s to the extent that it can be labeled “neurotic”, but it frequently drives me nuts.

  32. I fret internally about stuff constantly and have to make a huge effort not to speak about it. I think my husband and sons would say I speak about it a lot but they don’t hear 20% of it! Also, I would characterize it as “wonder about it and wonder whether steps could be taken to avoid some discomfort and inconvenience if x, y, and z happen.” As opposed to really worry. In my heart I know it’s not a big deal if that happened, but wouldn’t it be better if we did have an umbrella?

  33. I’ve always described myself as neurotic. But I work really hard to control my neuroses around most people. A state of anxiety is normal for me – I always find things to worry about, even if it’s something I did a decade ago and apologized for. Not too many compulsive acts, though I do have obsessive thoughts. I have a 300-ring circus brain. Something is always brewing somewhere, it just depends on what ring has the spotlight.

    Oddly, I’m not indecisive. At times, I could be considered impulsive.

    But I don’t think I’m creative. I just get through the day putting out or preventing fires the best I can. I do my best to solve problems efficiently because I can’t stand the mess problems leave.

    This is probably why I have my plans in place, and my plans have back-up plans which have back-up plans.

    DH is the perfect opposite. I have to tell him to worry or deal with “your monkeys, your circus”. I truly think I have too many monkeys and have worked hard to remove some of them.

  34. Wine – I’ve always thought Jane Eyre was neurotic. I think that’s the reason she, as the main character, doesn’t seem to “control” the narrative until the end. She’s too indecisive and anxious.

  35. Rhett – I know several older women who become neurotic where their houses are concerned. When they were young and raised kids they were somewhat neat freaks but as empty nesters they cannot have a pin out of place. It is difficult to visit them because they will want to vacuum as you are eating.

  36. The article measures things against what’s normal, which is a little problematic to determine. I assume that for most people here, the amount of drive to take a thing all the way to the finish and the level of proficiency required to be “OK” are higher than for many people.

  37. Louise – my aunt is like that. Her house is spotless. As soon as you’ve finished your last sip of tea, she whisks away the saucer and wipes the counter.

  38. “The article measures things against what’s normal, which is a little problematic to determine.”

    Yes, and it additionally expects you to really make a determination based on what you perceive yourself to be compared to what you perceive as normal. For instance, if it asks about the accuracy of saying “I don’t mind leaving a mess around,” ATM’s aunt might think “Very accurate, I don’t mind at all if a teacup is left in the sink for five minutes” whereas someone far more laid back might say “Not accurate at all. If a dog poops on the floor, we definitely clean it up before going to bed.”

  39. I mean, if I get up at 5:30 every morning, dutifully come to work and do a pretty good job, and we work to save a lot for our own goals, does that mean I have lots of ambition to be moderately successful professionally and achieve financial independence, or does it mean I have no ambition because I just want to do what’s expected for moderate success, go home in time for dinner, and before too many years pass, be able to do something else when I want to?

    Since I recently read MMM’s interview with the founder of the YouNeedABudget app, who has six kids and gets up at 4:30 every morning to go to CrossFit before work, I was feeling like I had no ambition at all when I took the survey.

  40. “what fictional characters do you consider to be “neurotic”?”

    Mrs. Bates needs Mr. Wodehouse, Emma’s father, to complete her. He could be a Woody Allen character.

    “Mrs. Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs. An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome. Serle understands boiling an egg better than any body. I would not recommend an egg boiled by any body else; but you need not be afraid, they are very small, you see—one of our small eggs will not hurt you. Miss Bates, let Emma help you to a little bit of tart—a very little bit. Ours are all apple-tarts. You need not be afraid of unwholesome preserves here. I do not advise the custard. Mrs. Goddard, what say you to half a glass of wine? A small half-glass, put into a tumbler of water? I do not think it could disagree with you.”

  41. I have lots of ambition to be moderately successful professionally

    I don’t think you can have lots of ambition to be moderate successful.

  42. I agree with Milo. Most of life’s wisdom is knowing when you have hit your success threshold on life’s variables.

    A very successful fab manager left her job as a hospital lab manager because the low quality control standards in the hospital drove her crazy. On the side, she learned device physics to a high level.

  43. Extraversion 77
    Agreeableness 47
    Conscientiousness 16
    Neuroticism 16
    Openness 78

    I think conscientiousness ended up way too low, probably because I was comparing myself to lawyers and ubermoms. For Pete’s sake, it suggested on one of the facets that I “find contracts, rules, and regulations overly confining” and am “likely to be seen as unreliable or even irresponsible,” which is not accurate as such. And extraversion seems a bit high — I’m more accurately right in the middle on that one. But the others are probably about right.

  44. I don’t really see a connection between being nosy/controlling and being neurotic. I am the latter but most definitely not the former. I think much of my neuroticism stems from a sense of responsibility. I am not neurotic about it things that don’t matter or that do not involve me. But if something is important and my responsibility (e.g., my kids or my work), I am super neurotic. The controlling people I know are that way because they believe they deserve deference and to run the show.

  45. “Captain Queeg from The Caine Mutiny”

    wasn’t he obsessed with strawberries, or strawberry ice cream or something? I’ve told this story, so I’ll keep it short, but that reminded me of the officer on our little cruise to NYC and Boston the summer after freshman year who flipped out when people were serving tortilla chips and salsa with lunch in direct violation of the menu plan, so he started taking tortilla chips off of people’s plates and putting them back in the bag, then emptying the bowls of salsa back into the jar.

  46. On that inventory, I notice that bossiness actually counted toward extraversion, not neuroticism.

  47. Kate, I think that little detour was about people who constantly keep up on lots of little info, similar to what neurotics do. In my family’s case, the drive behind it seems to stem from desire to control others, the same as neurotics seek to control themselves/their environments.

    Milo, I was referring to the article WCE started with, that discusses Isaac Newton, but I agree with you about that quiz too.

  48. Kate, I think that little detour was about people who constantly keep up on lots of little info, similar to what neurotics do. In my family’s case, the drive behind it seems to stem from desire to control others, the same as neurotics seek to control themselves/their environments.

    Milo, I was referring to the OP from WCE, discussing Isaac Newton, but I agree with you that the quiz does that too.

  49. Hmmm. I took the test. I am 32 on neuroticism and 96 on conscientiousness. So from now on I am going to consider myself conscientious, not neurotic.

  50. Totally unrelated, but there is an amusing article about cargo shorts in today’s WSJ (that would have fit in perfectly with the 90’s post). The story includes a quote from a professor of design and merchandising who wrote his dissertation on cargo shorts.

    Trying to imagine the dinner party conversations during which he, and more importantly his parents, answered the question “So what’s your dissertation about?”

    But, at least he got a job at Drexel, a school that many people have heard of.

  51. cargo shorts

    When are those ever going to become less ubiquitous? It’s hard to find non-cargo non-athletic shorts for boys! (Not impossible, I can get them off Amazon, just hard to find them in stores.)

  52. Milo- I read that article on MMM too and felt positively lazy and unfocused.

    I have been told that I have a lot of nervous energy and can be intense. However, I think I am positively laid back relative to the neuroticism of my coworkers. It is a sweat the details type of place. My father also believed micromanaging everything was the key to success.

  53. The places where I get shorts for my kid have cargo and non-cargo. I know, because he greatly prefers the pockets and I have purchased the others.

  54. That said, are there things that set you off all out of proportion to your normal way of being and give you a glimpse into what it must be like to be someone else?

    In my case I scored a 1 in both assertiveness and anger. However, every once in a while, usually as a result of work/billing/contract issue I’ll come to find out someone is trying to fuck me over. Oh, it will send me into a spittle flecked rage. So, it’s interesting to get a sense what it it would be like to be a 98* on anger and assertiveness.

    * Meh, even at my spittle flecked rageiest I probably don’t get much above 65-70.

  55. Kate – I got a 58 in both neuroticism and conscientiousness. I really don’t know how to take that…

  56. Rhett, customer service calls can do that to me. My kid will walk out of his room, sit across from me, and just stare until I pipe down.

  57. The story includes a quote from a professor of design and merchandising who wrote his dissertation on cargo shorts.

    What’s wrong with that? Cargo shorts alone are a nearly $1 billion business just in the US.

  58. I have a good friend who is really neurotic and worries about things that it wouldn’t even occur to me would be something to worry about. She has a lot of trouble sleeping and if you look at the time stamp on some of her e-mails, a lot of times it’s in the middle of the night. She tells me that I’m a good influence on her because I’m so laid back and she needs that in her life, which DH finds endlessly amusing because he thinks I am not laid back but just too lazy to worry about things.:) The only area I am at all neurotic about is healthy food, especially for my kids, and dwell on this any day I feel like they’ve eaten too much junk.

  59. So if I’m tempted to write the test author and suggest he reframe the statements so that they are more specific (e.g., “I am happy to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight” or “At a party with 20 strangers, I would want to stay until I spoke to everyone”), does that make me neurotic, controlling, or just a little too helpful?

    On a related topic, I can’t sleep anymore. Went to the doc and there’s nothing wrong with me, but I can’t get more than four hours a night (I wear a monitor). Took up running and am putting in 3 miles every day, to no avail. Tried meds but they don’t seem to affect me at all. Would rather not take up drinking. Any suggestions?

  60. Sky, does it bother you to only sleep 4 hr/night? I have an acquaintance who has been like that her whole life. Her take on it is, “So I read a lot.”

  61. Rhett, Milo, that’s probably the issue, that he has Brooks Brothers taste but that’s not where I’m looking. His favorite shorts ever were in fact seersucker Brooks Brothers shorts embroidered all over with little ants. So appropriate for someone with chronic ants in his pants.

  62. Any suggestions?

    What is the current state of your bed, bedding and pillows? How are the temp, light and noise levels?

    I started staying at a new hotel a few months back and the first night I climbed into bed to read at 10pm and the next thing you know, the alarm is going off at 7:30 after 9 hours of blissful slumber. I went online and ordered the bedding and my sleep at home has improved dramatically.

  63. “that he has Brooks Brothers taste but that’s not where I’m looking”

    When DW wanted to go shopping last week, I hung out with the kids and we went into a few stores, including

    My daughter’s really sweet and set out to find a tie that I would like. She picked a really nice one, I think it had subtle anchors or something, and was excited to show me. This is the kid who’s become interested in the Secret Lives of the Super Rich show. I said it was a great tie, but it was $145. She was genuinely curious and baffled why something like that would have such a price premium, almost looking for an answer like is it right or wrong. I didn’t want to be preachy and I just said that sometimes there are certain aspects that make a product objectively higher-quality, and sometimes people just want to pay for a name and an image, and sometimes it’s a little bit of both.

  64. HM, no ants on them, but ‘saac just got some seersucker shorts from Lands End for about $12

  65. Part of the problem is that my younger two kids still wake up at night – so I can’t take the stronger sleep meds, or else I won’t be able to get up when they cry.

    Usually I go to sleep around 10:30, get up when they do sometime around 1, get them back to sleep in a few minutes, and then stay awake the rest of the night until around 5, when I might get another 30-60 minutes. I get up at 5:45 to run. I don’t get out of bed while I am awake, or eat or drink, or turn on the lights.

    Nothing wrong with the bed, bedding, lighting, etc.

    Although I would happily exile every other living thing in my house (including the bat that moved into my attic, the dog, the cat, and the three children), I don’t think it will help. It’s more that I can’t stop worrying from 1 AM to 5 AM.

    It bothers me because I do need 7 hours; I’m a walking zombie.

  66. On the bright side I probably make more friends this way, because I deceive people into believing I’m far less intense than I am :)

  67. Sky, have you ever tried putting your DH on overnight kid duty? Or would you just wake up anyhow when they do? If you were able to get away on your own for a few nights, would you’ve able to sleep a normal amount?

  68. Rhett – When I lived there, I bought a pair of seersucker pants from them. If money is not a consideration, it’s a nice place to shop in the Fall or Winter. But when it’s 105 degrees outside in the shade, we were primarily just looking for a few minutes of air conditioning, and no matter how much money I had, I wouldn’t have been able to get in there without being drenched in sweat, which doesn’t put anyone in a mood for trying on wool jackets or fine shirtings. Not surprisingly, the store was empty.

  69. Ok, based on the definitions rift posted, I am not neurotic. It doesn’t really drive any kind of anxiety in me. I just have extensive list going on in my head all organized for maximum efficiency. When the world does not get with my program, it annoys me, but not enough to derail my day. More like enough for me to make sarcastic comments to whomever I’m with about the failure of the world to recognize that I am in charge. The loss of sleep part comes from creating the following days lists. The annoying to others part is I will issue reminders to my children or husband about things that I think they need to add to their lists. They/I joke about it, so I don’t consider it a big deal.

    I was visiting my siblings this weekend in another city, and we used find friends to kind of keep track of each other. One of them texted, noting that I made it to the airport, and that does not bother me at all. The same sibling noted when my parents were at the hospital when they had not called us yet. So I actually considered that helpful. maybe because it’s rare, but it doesn’t bother me for a member of my family to note where I am. They do it to be considerate – such as will call me if they see I’m working at home but won’t call or text if I’m in the office. I check my kids some times because I won’t text them if they are driving.

    I have an aunt and uncle that monitoring the weather in every city any of the relatives living. So every time we have flooding or hurricane warnings, they call my parents to check on me. They are 85, and you have to entertain yourself somehow. I think it’s sweet

  70. “I have an aunt and uncle that monitoring the weather in every city any of the relatives living. So every time we have flooding or hurricane warnings, they call my parents to check on me. They are 85, and you have to entertain yourself somehow. I think it’s sweet”

    I have known a number of elderly people who do similar tracking. When my kid was in college, first thing in the morning I would check the weather at his location. And I would regularly check the handy criminal report the college produced … and sometimes I would check the college webcams. So clearly I’m on track to being an even bigger PITA when I’m elderly. (However, I rarely if ever mentioned any of this tracking info to my kid.)

    According to the linked quiz I’m not neurotic, but some of the other scores were a little worrisome.

  71. “there are canoers and cacti and these”

    Saac, Junior would rather die than wear these!

    Given that he has been a little turd today, I just may order them for church on Sunday.

  72. MBT, I have no problem with the tracking when there is a need for it. My sisters and I have all been keeping track of our parents when they drive from Ohio to Florida and back for the last few years. We also all followed them when they had to spend a night in an airport en route to Europe, and somebody texted them to make sure they had connected with the group. Dad’s over 80 & Mom is just a few years behind him, so we think our concern is warranted. But when I decided to go to the beach with baby saac, I really didn’t care to hear anyone’s judgementalism. I told our babysitter, because I think it’s always safe to have someone aware of if you get back when you should, but otherwise I just left for 2 or 3 days and didn’t pick up when Mom called. She called the management office at our apartment closet and looked up and called the sitter! Watching the weather for other people started with the paper newspaper and they had sisters in other states, so I’m not surprised they continue with the electronic men’s of the same thing. I have no idea how I’ll be when my son is older. He called me every day from a one-week camp because he missed me so much; I don’t think keeping track of him will be a problem! That said, his route home from school this year includes crossing a railroad track with no crossing or pavement, and I will be nervous.

  73. No, not for Jr. Not for ‘saac either. But I thought tuxedo man might like them

  74. Rhett, that plantation is the finest house you’ve ever found for us! That is really beautiful.

  75. PTM,

    It really is. According to the description the house was designed by the man who designed The White House.

    And what a staircase:

  76. It’s a lovely staircase, for a theater, courthouse, or other public building. But living in a house big enough to house it, I’m sure I would feel like I was in a movie about ghosts or the like.

  77. PTM – The first one was in the WSJ recently:


    I’m not much into houses any more, but something about those saltwater, tidal marshlands in the whole region is really pleasing to me. I sound like the late Pat Conroy, but the steady rhythms of the tides, in and out and in and out, is captivating and soothing. We chartered a boat ride through them one day, and another night just the five of us had dinner at one of my favorite retaurants:

    (The whole thing is basic, yellow pine decking and unfinished plywood. A handwritten sign on the wall says “Some people will like it…Some people won’t.” I love the attitude. It’s also a spot that was used in filming a portion of The Notebook.)

    I think if I ever live down there again, it will be on a tidal marsh rather than the ocean.

  78. “I think if I ever live down there again, it will be on a tidal marsh rather than the ocean.”

    It sounds very nice when you describe it. But…the bugs! My God, the BUGS!

    Restaurants like that just put me in a vacation state of mind.

  79. “But living in a house big enough to house it, I’m sure I would feel like I was in a movie about ghosts or the like.”

    Saac, my brother’s been asking my opinion on new basement flooring. He wanted to replace the carpet with hardwood, but was advised by every professional against that, so he’s looking at the porcelain tile that looks like wood. Since he asked for my unvarnished, honest opinion, I told him I couldn’t care less and, as we have carpet in our basement, I would keep the carpet in his. Since the finished portion of his basement is 2,000 sf, he’s looking at spending about $20,000 to replace the flooring. Then we got to discussing things like boats, and, in a friendly way, our obvious differences in spending priorities.

  80. I’m curious. My channels are full of outrage that people are criticizing Mahlia Obama for going to Lollopoluza instead of the DNC. Is that for real? Have any of you who hang out in conservative circles heard such criticism?

  81. “But…the bugs! My God, the BUGS!”

    We didn’t really have too much of a problem. I think mosquitoes were a bigger issue downtown, actually, around dusk. Maybe the abundance of fish in the marsh keep the larvae down. But you definitely need a large screened porch, no doubt about that.

  82. Milo, I’m not talking about finishes–the stair case is lovely. It’s the size that gets me. Can’t imagine living with enough people to fill it up decently, and having all that staff in my private spaces! I tried hiring cleaning help once or twice, but it drove me absolutely nuts every time.

  83. Sky – the only thing I can say is once you are no longer woken up by your kids, you will be able to sleep the 7 hours.

    I love the pictures of the plantations and tidal marshes. I grew up in a Low country type climate. My parents bought undeveloped land in a rural area and I spent sweltering summers there. The very basic house did have electricity and water (no A/C). The flying bugs at night were HUGE. But none of the them liked me and I escaped being bitten by insects and mosquitos.

  84. I know, but at some point, everything needs to be refinished, replaced, re-done, re-painted, re-carpeted, re-floored, updated bathrooms, counters, tiling. That’s what would keep me up at night, even if I owned the place outright:

    Lord Grantham:
    You do not love the place yet.

    Matthew Crawley:
    Well, obviously, it’s…

    Lord Grantham:
    No, you don’t love it. You see a million bricks that may crumble, a thousand gutters and pipes that may block and leak, and stone that will crack in the frost.

    Matthew Crawley:
    But you don’t?

    Lord Grantham:
    I see my life’s work.

    Ugh. I see the thousand gutters and pipes that will block and leak.

  85. Milo, we have the $2 sq. ft. wood look tile from Lowes in our basement, because it is a walkout and may eventually be turned into an in law suite. I love it.

    If your brother wants to do it, he needs a perfectly level floor and a tile with a maximum length of 2′ or less – even on a freshly poured slab it is tough to get the long tiles flat. There are a lot of more realistic wood look tiles that are 4′ long, but you can’t use them on a basement slab because most are poured with a slight angle to drain, or just not that smooth. Plus the slab may shift and crack the tile.

    If the floor is not brand new, he could do “luxury vinyl tile” in a wood look, or just leave it. But definitely don’t buy tile or hire a GC until you have a professional tile setter look at the bare floor to make sure it is feasible!

  86. I confess that I sent Rhett’s link to my hedge fund friend and his wife.

    I now dream that Junior and I will have futures as caretakers.

  87. “The only thing I can say is once you are no longer woken up by your kids, you will be able to sleep the 7 hours.”
    Louise, is that how it was for you? I went from not understanding how sleep could be a problem to middle of the night feeding & diaper change to just waking up because it was time. I remember the first times that happened, and I just stared and stared at the babe sleeping through the night. Ever since then, it’s been on and off, and once I’m awake I always have to go to the bathroom, which wakes me up more.

  88. “f the basement isn’t perfectly dry, carpet isn’t the best choice.”

    I know, but the house is about 20 years old, and the carpet is in perfectly good condition. Two old people lived there hoping to make it a family retreat for a bunch of grandkids who never were born. A modern slice of the UMC.

    We, too, have a walkout basement, so with a nice grade on the lot, the basement stays totally dry.

    Sky, I will pass that on.

  89. Saac – I had been a good sleeper till my first kid was born. Waking up at intervals was absolutely horrible for me. When DS started to sleep regularly DD was born and the interrupted sleep and feeling exhausted continued. I was also working full time so I couldn’t nap during the day.
    Once that stage with the kids passed I am back to where I was before.

  90. Lord Grantham:
    I see my life’s work.

    Ugh. I see the thousand gutters and pipes that will block and leak.

    Ha ! I am Lord Grantham, DH is Matthew.

  91. Saac,

    Oh, yeh…ghosts. If any place is haunted that place is. PTM, you’re on your own.

  92. Sky – search online for “sleep hygiene” and make sure you are doing everything. No naps. No sleeping in. Consistent bedtime, etc.

    I love melatonin and never felt it kept me from waking up at night for my kids. I also wonder if attacking the kid wakings would solve your problem. Bol sure we’d be happy to solve all your parenting troubles.

  93. Ada, did you ever find the softer kind of earplugs? Did they work for you?

  94. Thanks, all.

    We have made a lot of progress on kid sleep – at this time last year DS, then 4, was still waking 4-5 times per night screaming, but we finally figured out and treated the underlying medical issue.

    Part of it is the ingrained habit of getting up so often, since I have slept 7 straight hours only twice in the last 8 years. And part of it is that I have something worth worrying about, and that’s my only uninterrupted time. Unfortunately my worrying will not alter the course of events.

  95. Sky, yep, those ingrained patterns are exactly what I meant! When it’s long enough after the kid has stopped waking you up, and you continue to go to sleep just fine only to wake up hours later, unable to fall back asleep, they just call it secondary insomnia. No fun. A kid waking up screaming with a medical issue sounds really hard. Glad to hear that’s resolved!

    Louise, nice that you are back to your old sleep patterns, All I was trying to say to you is that not everyone is so lucky. And your comment about working fulltime and not napping–is that a dig at profs because you think a work schedule that can be broken up during the day is somehow not fulltime, even though most work around 60 hrs a week?

    “the carpet is in perfectly good condition.” Must be a dry basement.

  96. Saac – it meant on weekends when I was home, I tried to nap at mid day when my kids were napping. Not possible on week days in the office. Dig at profs ? Not at all.

  97. “I have slept 7 straight hours only twice in the last 8 years. And part of it is that I have something worth worrying about, and that’s my only uninterrupted time. Unfortunately my worrying will not alter the course of events.”

    Sky, that is truly awful. So very sorry. Not being able to sleep, either because of circumstances or worries or both, is the worst kind of hell. I hope you can get some resolution soon.

  98. Sky, I’ll add my sympathy. When I was in the hospital awaiting the twins across from the nurse’s station, Ambien was helpful and not habit forming for me. It would probably be safe to try if Mr. Sky were at home to deal with any issues. For me, it worked quickly- under 10 min.

  99. My scores from the test linked to early today.
    Extraversion: 33
    Agreeableness: 40
    Conscientiousness: 32 (I scored low on orderliness, as a mother of 4)
    Neuroticism: 33 (highest scores on depression/anxiety)
    Openness: 22 (what a hodgepodge of subcategories, with 1’s in emotionality and artistic interests, despite my strong interest in music)

  100. Sky,

    Has your doctor mentioned doxepin? It can reduce anxiety but it has the side effect of drowsiness. However, if you can’t sleep anyway and take it before bed, the side effect becomes a feature rather than a bug.

  101. My experience is that some people just have more trouble sleeping than others. I’ve always had a hard time falling asleep. (Yes, I’ve tried the 4-7-8 technique and it does help, but it sure as heck doesn’t put me to sleep in a minute.) I see it with DS and DD. We did the exact same things with them when they were babies to try to establish good sleep. DS started sleeping like a rock at 6 months. We finally had to let DD cry it out to get her to fall asleep on her own. DS is still a great sleeper and DD still struggles. People are all wired differently.

  102. HM, when you go to Japan, make sure to take your DS to GU and Uniqlo, especially the larger stores. They had non-cargo shorts, although by the time you go they may have switched to fall or winter clothes, and thus the suggestion to go to the larger stores where they may still have summer clothes.

    OTOH, what’s wrong with cargo shorts? I just bought a pair yesterday. The cargo pockets offer a nice solution to the dilemma of which pocket to use for the wallet, although that may not be an issue for your DS. It wasn’t really an issue for me as a kid, when I had no credit cards, little money, and thus a thin (or no) wallet.

  103. Finn,
    Cargo shorts are very functional, but the wives of cargo short lovers interviewed in the WSJ article were unanimous on their lack of style. One woman was distressed because of what people would think of her — how could she let him go out like that? Another went on seek-and-destroy missions when her DH was gone, forcing him to hide his very last pair. (He started with 15).

    Cargo shorts seem to function as man-purses for some of these guys. DH certainly could use such an accessory for his cellphone and bulky sunglass case, but has so far steadfastly rejected any suggestions at checking them out.

  104. I’m Taking a Stand for Cargo Shorts and Their Big, Gaping Man Pockets. Pockets Filled With Stuff. Like Freedom.

    The author says at least cargo shorts are useful, with all their pockets. He goes after other unappealing fashion choices, like sleeveless tops and Crocs. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with cargo shorts. I think they’re fine.

    I feel so bad for you all with sleep problems. Sleep is so important in many ways that are becoming increasingly apparent.

  105. Sky, let me add my sympathy for whatever it is you’re worrying about. I hope it resolves for the best.

  106. In my experience, poor sleepers also have a lot of anxiety (just anecdotally). And it can ebb and flow throughout life. I used to have a terrible time getting to sleep and DH was asleep in minutes for 8 hours, now we’ve completely switched that around (I can read for all of ten minutes some nights before I’m soundly asleep). DD was anxious last night about school starting today and she showed up in my bedroom around 10 because she was worried she would be so tired she’d fall asleep in class today (and she frequently has these issues). My younger two are the asleep within five minutes and stay asleep all night kind.

    Sky – my sympathies really. You really do have to retrain your body to sleep again once it’s accustomed to night waking. Good luck with everything and try melatonin or magnesium as a first step. For me, magnesium both puts me to sleep and if I’m awakened in the night it just makes me go back to sleep easier (and that seems to be what the issue is).

  107. Hate the look and sound of Crocs, but have found nothing better to wear around the house as slippers, and my plantar fasciitis vanished after I started wearing them religiously instead of slippers or going barefoot. But I don’t wear them any further out the door than to the end of the driveway to pick up the paper or take down the trash. DH, who mocked me at first but then joined me after realizing how perfect they are when spending hours in the kitchen, will sometimes wear them on surgical strikes to the grocery store, and then I have the same feelings as those cargo short wives, and hope that he didn’t run into anyone I know who holds me responsible for his wardrobe choices.

  108. I have these for beach, pool, boating, kayaking…

    I’ve never pointed them out to anyone, but a few people have commented on their surprise when I took them off and they noticed that weren’t some kind of regular top-sider. The benefit is that they don’t stink and rot like wet top-siders, there’s no wet leather to stain your feet, and water and sand wash right out the bottom as you’re wearing them.

    There are times when technology really is an improvement in every way, and that includes shoes and apparel.


  109. What’s wrong with Crocs???? I think they are far more attractive than the ubiquitous flip flops. I may be biased, of course, because my DS2 adores them and wears them all summer. He gets them in really weird color combinations. For example, he has these

  110. That link brings up the wrong color. His are the graphite and bolt green, not the ugly brownn in the link. I can’t seem to get links to work these days

  111. Milo, I like those Crocs, I thought all of their shoes had the ” holes on the top” look

  112. I lile cargo shorts too. I think they are cute on guys. What I do not like are those shiny, drapy, uber long athletic shorts that many men wear, usually topped with a Tshirt that hangs almost to their knees. I reallly hate that slimy shiny athletic material for some reason

  113. I have a tough time with shorts in general. None of the models on the Vineyard Vines page that Rhett posted looked like something I’d want to emulate; they were just too fussy and feminine looking. But when shorts are too baggy, you can very quickly look and feel short and fat. And then, I don’t even find them all that comfortable or cooling. If I’m hot, it’s because I’m hot around the waistband, with the three layers of underwear, shorts, and shirt all retaining heat. It’s not because there’s insufficient air flow to my calves.

    Often, for any sort of going out where I’d be wearing dressier shorts, I’d just as soon wear pants. They’re generally more comfortable, they’re definitely better for driving, and they offer mosquito protection for your ankles.

  114. I think cargo shorts are the male clothing equivalent of a mini van. Functional, inoffensive, semi-dorky and not “cool” but mostly used/worn by sensible people who have bigger concerns than being “cool”. There is nothing wrong with cargo shorts.

    DH has them I think, but on the weekends he is more likely to be wearing athletic shorts, and he wouldn’t wear them on a date night. DS refuses to wear them because, like a lot of 8 yo boys, he refuses to wear anything but athletic pants/shorts.

  115. “I reallly hate that slimy shiny athletic material for some reason”

    Me too. The super shiny basketball short material, right? I don’t think it’s comfortable for either actually working out or lounging around either.

  116. too fussy and feminine looking

    I believe the word you’re looking for is douchey.

  117. yeah, that’s part of it. my Navy friend from Boston would fit RIGHT into that picture. He’s still single, of course.

  118. The Vineyard Vines shorts for boys that Rhett posted are the “dress up” look for boys here. And the boys will wear the peach and green colors. I think of it as Southern preppy.

    Milo – love those shoes. I may have to switch DS from Sperry Top Siders to those. DS is a big fan of Crocs.

  119. At least the guy on the left is more normally sized, from my perspective. The models in your Vineyard Vines link all must have had 28″ waists. But those shorts just seem a little too short to me for style purposes, like it’s too much. But if they’re hanging on your knees, that’s not comfortable, and doesn’t look great, either.

    The only cargo shorts I own are REI hiking shorts, but maybe cargo shorts are popular not for objective functionality, but because, subjectively, they somehow take the focus off of what’s otherwise an awkward sizing and cut dilemma.

  120. The pastel checkered long-sleeve button down + pastel short short + brown boat shoes look on men is WAY less attractive than cargo shorts. My God those photos hurt my eyes!

  121. The guy on the far right looks like he is also wearing navy blue shorty socks. MY EYES!

  122. Are short shorts on men coming back? The shorts in that second photo are very short, almost 80’s short. I don’t see men around here in such short shorts. Mostly I see the drape style that hangs below the knees, or cargo shorts, or the slender denim shorts popular among high school and college guys that want to look more alternative.

  123. Looking at those photos, I realize more and more that I PREFER cargo shorts on guys. Cargo shorts make a guy look like he is about to set off in a canoe or do a long hike.

  124. My DH has several pairs of cargo shorts – I don’t let him wear them on date nights but I have no trouble with them as casual wear. :) Although he doesn’t let the pockets get all baggy like he’s using them for a tool belt.

    Milo – I agree with you, those shorts are too short. I like just above the kneecap or slightly longer depending on height. My DH is 6′ so can usually wear the longer shorts without them looking too much like jams.

  125. Yeah, I’ve never been one to know what women want, but it’s hard for me to imagine any girl posting on her bedroom wall the pictures that Rhett shared of guys in Easter egg-colored jackets and short shorts.

    I agree with Mooshi that if you’re in reasonably fit condition, cargo shorts make you look like you’re going canoeing or hiking. If you’re overweight, you look like you’re going to Costco.

  126. but it’s hard for me to imagine any girl posting on her bedroom wall the pictures that Rhett shared of guys in Easter egg-colored jackets and short shorts.

    Ah, but when her thoughts turn to affluent stay at home motherhood the douchbag starts looking mighty appealing.

  127. “Are short shorts on men coming back? The shorts in that second photo are very short, almost 80’s short.”

    Yes. Especially HS/college/young 20’s.

    To me, in that photo, it looks like the guys are wearing their girlfriends’ shorts.

    FWIW, DH likes shorts that are slightly above the knee, but not nearly as short as that photo.

  128. “Are short shorts on men coming back?


    Not all fashion trends achieve mass popularity.

  129. I saw a lot of this on campus in the spring. But no short shorts. And I think my school, being in NYC and all, is pretty fashion forward. What it isn’t, though, is white. Perhaps the short shorts are more of a white thing?
    I saw a lot of this on campus, especially on hip Asian guys

  130. I’m sorry, but lets just say it – those guys in the shortie Easter egg shorts are gay.

  131. “you’re in reasonably fit condition, cargo shorts make you look like you’re going canoeing or hiking. If you’re overweight, you look like you’re going to Costco.”

    Yes, which may explain why I find them appealing. Love the hiking look and Costco ain’t so bad either.

  132. those guys in the shortie Easter egg shorts are gay.

    They are douchebags, that’s totally different.

  133. “Ah, but when her thoughts turn to affluent stay at home motherhood the douchbag starts looking mighty appealing.”

    It does seem like the purpose is to signal affluence rather than sex appeal. But to your point, thinking of the two guys I know who would wear that, they are reasonably affluent, but they’ve done nothing but string along one seemingly great catch after another, then dump them, and they don’t have any real desire for changing.

  134. “those guys in the shortie Easter egg shorts are gay.

    They are douchebags, that’s totally different.”

    I think they’re both. At the very least, they’d be happy with some experimenting.

  135. @MM – Definitely a preppy thing, therefore more of a UMC white thing than any other demographic. But trickling down – e.g., Old Navy still sells mostly longer shorts (and lots of cargos), but Gap is prominently featuring 7″ shorts. (the ones in that photo might be shorter than that, but still)

  136. Finn, for me a three mile run is exercising to exhaustion :) I’ve never been a runner, and still don’t really qualify, although I’m finally finding it somewhat less than absolutely horrible. Sort of.

    I tried the full dose of melatonin last night and slept from 11 to 4:30. VICTORY! Thank you to whoever told me that they could still get up with the kids after that. DH has major work meetings this week and can’t take over the night waking duty.

  137. “The pastel checkered long-sleeve button down + pastel short short + brown boat shoes look on men is WAY less attractive than cargo shorts. My God those photos hurt my eyes!”

    have to agree on this, those short shorts look awful on men

    DH lives in cargo shorts (including date night) I think he looks very attractive in them, much better than those awful shorts posted above

  138. Yay! I am an evangelical melatonin user. (My kids call them sleepy gummies and get them whenever there is a time change involved). Also, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I will take a half-dose if there is a chance to get 4 more hours of sleep. That doesn’t happen to me often, unless I have been up night-shifting a few nights in a row.

  139. I find it hard to live my life in short shorts, even if that were a flattering look on me after three kids – how do these people bend over?

    DD now has to follow the fingertip rule because I do not want her on the playground in super-short shorts.

  140. The short shorts look good only on lean guys. If the guys are pudgy they don’t look good.

  141. I agree that cargo shorts are the equivalent of a murse. How I wish women’s clothing had more pockets!! One less thing to carry/remember is always good. I don’t really care how they look, as long as they are worn in daily life and not special dress-up times. DS carries his phone in one pocket and during school his pencil is in the other. I try to get him to carry the wallet, but it has nothing in it but the prepaid debit card I use for his allowance and maybe a couple singles.

    I’m not surprised Crocs have a good deck show. That’s what their company was aiming for in the first place.

  142. I loved it when Bill Watterson starting drawing Calvin as the dad to his own little terror, but I can’t stand the ways little Calvin is being used as the stand in for brattiness, like the decal on so many pick ups of Calvin peeing with a mean look on his face. It makes me sad to see them cut out the wonderful innocence and joy in that cartoon.
    Do children of anyone here read 39 Clues? It’s progressed into a couple of new series, and the main characters, Dan and Amy, have aged through the series. Fine with me, even if they one day get to be adults. The books are written by multiple authors, but they adhere very tightly to guidelines about who the characters are, their traits, etc. That’s the only kind of case I can think of where it’s ok for one author to pick up someone else’s characters. If Mark Twain had written about Tom, Huck, and Becky as adults, it wouldn’t worry me, but I’d rather not see someone else try their hand at it.

  143. Those shorts aren’t that short and those colors (not with Blazers) are totally normal for south Florida. Men’s boating shorts are not usually long. Would not work on DH’s physique but I don’t think they are abnormal with a t-shirt or polo.

  144. Au pair’s shorts are all of the cutoff variety. She is 20 and nothing is visibly hanging out but I wouldn’t mind them being 2 inches longer.

  145. Good looking swimming, surfing high schooler in a gorgeous house in a flashy city, 20-yr old au pair in short shorts, hard-working parents–not much else needed for a sitcom. Perhaps a few HS friends who are crushing on or jealous of the au pair.

  146. 9:14 seems to me guys who grew up very upper middle class but the kind of upper middle class where their parents got them a keg for their high school graduation.

    Kids in the Totebag upper middle class, raised on a diet of calculus worksheets and desert tomatoes, would tend to dress like this:

  147. And indeed, I do see that look at my kids HS. Not everyone, of course, but some.

  148. My oldest would wear the shorts, but never, neverr, never the shirt. He would call it a hipster shirt. He tends towards snarky Tshirts (Ninja Kitty, Pi-liscious, and so on)

  149. Just saw a bunch of guys wearing cargo shorts getting on a plane. They’re very practical for traveling, when you’re likely to be carrying more stuff than usual.

    But I don’t see the point of the tassels on some of them.

  150. Someone mentioned Asian guys further up. What I saw in Japan was a lot of young guys wearing capri pants.

    I did a quick experiment rolling up my long pants to Capri length, and found that was noticeably cooler, suggesting a style based at least partially on practicality.

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