Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 04.19.16
Stanstead, Quebec


Steal This Look

Sweater: Woolrich, neutral, bumpy

The sweater, of course, anchors the ensemble. Woolly, bland and shapeless, like its owner, the sweater's neutral tones cry out, "This once belonged to my father-in-law, and the fact that it was free is its finest quality."

Preferably, the sweater should have no discerning patterns that would allow one to stand out against the wall of your average hospital corridor. No insignias or brands on the front, because you aren't some corporate stooge. The only message you send with this nondescript pullover is, "It's not quite time for sweatpants." This is a sweater that asks, "What decade is it?" and can't come up with a solid answer. Though this casual, all-purpose sweater is worn too frequently, it nonetheless cloaks a mystery: are there muscles under there or just blobby bits of torso?

The sweater is worn over a T-shirt that is, of course, tucked in.

Jeans: blue, Levi's 501, button-fly, buttless fit

A timeless classic, and by "timeless" we mean "blue jeans all the time since the age of 12." But not all blue jeans are created equal. There are dressy blue jeans, casual blue jeans, working around the house blue jeans, mystery stain blue jeans, and, of course, duct tape blue jeans. The possibilities are endless! As long as they're blue jeans.

(A note about duct tape blue jeans: The duct tape in question is wrapped around the top of the zipper where several teeth have fallen out due to age -- zipper teeth; I want to be clear on that. The duct tape prevents the zipper's slidey part (note to self: research zipper terminology) from slipping out of its track and causing the fly to fly open – - though what would be wrong with that? Why the big deal over one's fly being down? It's not like something's going to spring out of there – - unless you're not wearing underwear. And if so, you have more to fear from zipper teeth than your fly being open.)

Slippers: moccasin style, filthy-ish

Remember as a kid when you walked around in bare feet all the time, oblivious to the cold, just you and your skin, as nature intended? Yeah, you can't do that anymore. It's slippers for you now. Pad around in these moccasin-style slippers that combine old-world charm with old-man comfort. With their useless leather ties, you'll feel like the coziest of cowboys in your own home. Note: you want your slippers to be fuzzy, but not too fuzzy. Keep the fur on the inside. Otherwise, when you eventually change your fuzzy slippers for these stylish dirt-magnets, your mother-in-law will say, "Oh, I see you got rid of your girly slippers!" If this should happen, your only response should be, "Does your husband have any more sweaters?"

Glasses: outdated, chipped

Is there electrical tape holding the frames together? Carry on.

Beard: patchy, haphazard

Warning: time saved on not shaving will be negated by daily trimming of straggly and increasingly white hairs using tiny manicure scissors, plus weekly maintenance provided by a hair-clogged industrial trimmer (sideburn adapter) because that's the best you've got. A beard means hours and hours spent in front of the mirror. But it's totally worth it, because this beard sets you apart from the crowd -- except for that crowd with all the beards. This beard isn't so much a look as a project. It's the rec-room of personal grooming where anything can happen and everything's covered with crumbs. Never heard of beard dandruff? You will!

Hair: undefined, ??? If variety is the spice of life, this hairstyle is cumin, oregano and lovage. What the hell is lovage? Exactly. To get this look, you'll need incredible patience, like 50 years' worth of shampooing with whatever's within arm's reach and the conviction that conditioner is a racket. See your hair stylist, ask for the "Number 3," then wait five to six months until the hair has lost all definition but not its sense of humour.

Occasionally think about getting a haircut, but then think about all the money you're saving by not getting a haircut. Eventually, you'll require product to keep your hair out of your face. Whatever's on sale will do. Product is likewise a racket. Finally, after showering, go for a walk wearing a cap on your wet, product-ed hair. Upon your return, put the finishing touches on the asymmetrical swooshes and cowlicks by taking a long nap. Now you are unkempt. You are complete.

Next time: How to pull off a long nap.