Dear three dudes,

I hope I didn’t weird you out yesterday, when you were sitting across from me on the R train. I didn’t mean to stare, honest. I just couldn’t help it, the way you can’t help staring at a car wreck or Suzanne Somers’ freakish lips. What can I say, I was struck dumb. Dumb as a bag o’ hammers, I was.

The only explanation I can think of is that you must belong to some secret society, a white-boy gang whose members carve the other members’ initials into their chests with a linoleum scraper. Why else would ALL THREE OF YOU be dressed in khaki cargo shorts, white t-shirts, only slightly different blue-striped button-downs, Adidas with ankle socks, pooka shells (pooka shells!), and Livestrong bracelets on BOTH WRISTS (BOTH WRISTS!!!).

I’m pretty sure it all started with the bad-esque ass one of you in the middle. He was probably the first to do the half-inch buzzcut with sideburns, and probably the first to discover the Livestrong and make it his own. Maybe the blond guy to his-right-my-left came up with the ankle socks. He kind of looked like the type. It’s hard to know where the striped button-down originated, but I’m going to guess with one of your older brothers. I’m sad to say that your third friend, the Jewish kid, is clearly just along for the ride. Don’t even try to tell me the pooka shells were his idea. Doubtful.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure you didn’t notice me taking your picture with my phone, thinking deeply as you were about how hot you are. I’m pretty sure the guy sitting next to me did notice, but he had no love for you. I only wish I’d been in a better position to get you in all your glory, to hold you up to the masses as the poster boys for surf-prep conformity (that is what you were going for, right?). But this will have to do:


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  1. “Hi, I’m Abber, this is my brother Crombie, this is my other brother Fitch. We’re all assholes.”

  2. snowy

     /  August 12, 2005

    those bracelets must be stopped. just hand over cash to a cancer foundation already. enuff with the cheap plastic wristlet.

  3. Man, I’m never riding a subway again. Especially in flat shoes.

  4. Oh no, don’t worry, I’m not just being arbitrarily harsh– the outfits themselves weren’t the real problem, it’s that they were ALL IDENTICAL for no reason, just the way that 5 year-old girls want to wear the same dress as their best friend.

  5. Megan

     /  August 14, 2005

    Aren’t guys like this the reason people move to NYC in the first place? To get away from all those chaches in the suburbs? Nowhere is safe!

  6. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that smells like a terrorist cell to me. Someone get Rumsfeld on the phone.

  7. Where are their backwards baseball caps?? That brings the entire ensemble together! No wonder they all looked stupid, they were missing that essential fashion item.

  8. quickhot

     /  August 15, 2005

    My Dear Outer Borough “R” train riding friend…

    My advice is to take your camera phone on the 3 train north of 96th street and secretly snap a photo of three brothas lookin fly with da bling. Then post the photo on your blog and tell the whole world how banal it is to wear cheap oversized jewelry, hats tilted sideways and “Tupac
    Resurrected” tee-shirts.

    If you think that’s too risky, then take the 7 train to Flushing and photograph 3 Chinese ladies with miss-matching plaid pantsuits. How stupid is it that they carry their bok choi with them!?!?

    If you think that’s too mean, take the L to Canarsie and digitize three goombas wearing crucifixes and wife-beaters and cigarettes over their ears. It’s always easy to make fun of Italians, because it won’t violate unspoken PC rules.

    Hey… There’s nothing wrong with belonging to a tribe. Making fun of others because of their associations goes beyond what we expect of you.

    Next time you feel like picking on someone or some group… keep it to yourself.

    Posers and Haters not wanted…

    Quick Hot

  9. In response to Quick Hot:
    You’re right, it’s totally not cool to pick on people just for belonging to a group. It’s not generally my style, and I certainly would never do any of those things you suggested as alternatives (which of course you know).

    Not that I can really put forward any valid defense for this one, but let me just make one point: I don’t know if these guys have any particular association with anything, I just made that up, my guess is that they’re three guys who all have an affinity for the same fads which resulted in them looking absolutely identical. And it’s just generally amusing to see three quasi-adults dressed identically, especially if they’re not part of a club that requires them to do so.

    My snarkiness comes from the fact that these particular guys were, in my grossly over-generalizing assessment, the prototype for exactly the kind of white suburban snots who *would* openly make fun of the Chinese ladies, complete with slanted-eye mockery and pretend “Oriental”-speak. Chances are these three particular guys would do no such thing, but as I saw them for those few minutes, they represented the sheltered, apathetic white America that I’m ashamed to be associated with.

    So again, I apologize for being so extremely cruel, and I agree with you that these particular guys did nothing to deserve my wrath (but I mean BOTH wrists?)– but they had clearly deliberately chosen an identity that I tend to associate with asshole. And the guy who used to throw rocks at me in high school.

  10. Of all the ethnic or cultural groups to be up-in-arms about their being hated upon, I’d have thought that “Upper-Middle Class Young White Male” would be a teensy bit further down on the list. Perhaps I’m not live stronging enough to truly understand.

    Regardless, I have to disagree with your apology EV. This is not about race, this is not about culture, this is not about tribe, this is about humor. And conformity for conformity’s sake IS deserving of comic ridicule.

    Perhaps while being simultaneously Quick and Hot (a feat which I certainly could not accomplish. Kudos!) you yourself have made fun of the Indieboys in Williamsburg? Or maybe you had occasion to scoff, albeit silently, at the groups of five or six girls all in fuzzy boots this past winter? Black, White, Asian, Italian – in New York, in Boston, or in Philly – when people are dressed exactly the same, it’s funny.

    One guy in a “Tupac Resurrected” shirt? Not funny.
    Four guys in “Tupac Resurrected” shirts? Funny!

    One Chinese lady in a mis-matched plaid pantsuit? Not Funny. Well..okay, kinda funny.
    But THREE Chinese ladies in mis-matched plaid pantsuits? Damnit, that’s funny.
    Why? Because three of ANYTHING in mis-matched plaid pantsuits is funny.

    These three guys’ obvious need to be analogous with each other, particularly with regards to those absurd rubber bracelets, deserves a chuckle or two. And speaking of which…perhaps yours are on a bit too tight.

  11. Freddy B Honest

     /  August 17, 2005

    I actually think these guys are undercover somethings – think about it.

    They’re probably headed for a stakeout somewhere and need to blend in, together they may look like a fashion accident in slow motion but apart they will come to their full potential.

    The guy with the coffeemug will most assuredly switch the mug to the other hand and then speak into the microphone he has hidden in his hand, ordering his mates to close in on various nefarious criminals of the most invisible type.

    Freddy B Paranoid

    (Btw, hey there! Just found this.)

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    Its a very needed information because i need to buy variety of socks.

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