Robin sprained his ankle over the weekend—we took him to the doctor and it’s definitely not broken, but the poor little guy is pretty laid up. He won’t walk, but crawls around the house instead. Obviously he’s going to stay home from school until he’s walking again.

Meanwhile, I am pondering (and not for the first time) the following springtime conundrum:

Men in rolled-up shirtsleeves—totally sexy.
Men’s button-down short sleeve shirts—never sexy.

Why is that?

11 Responses to “Homebound”

  • Maike Says:


    Funny timing.

    I took today off because 4 yr old Daniel couldn’t walk. Vitamins didn’t help :))

    And right now he’s yelling that he wants to play with on pogo stick. This is probably what caused the issue in the first place but his brain doesn’t yet understand that learning to jump on a pogo stick requires two feet.

    Pogo stick was my Robin’s 6th birthday present.

    Anyways, I love that you keep updating your blog. Thanks! Am still reading and smiling faithfully.

    • shannon Says:

      Your kids and mine are leading parallel lives!

      And thanks for the kind words. My favorite thing about the Internet is how we can make friends with people we’ve never met. I feel very warmly towards you and your family, and it’s great to hear from you.

  • shannon Says:

    Further thoughts on shirt sleeves:

    I think it’s that the rolled-up shirtsleeve says, “I’m a man of class and poise, at home in the world of high finance or posh society, but I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty or engage in a bout of fisticuffs if necessary.” Yet somehow that same stretch of manly forearm, the line of muscle that seems so compelling when glimpsed emerging illicitly from a taut roll of cloth, is transformed into an awkward chicken-like naked joint when it’s just left dangling all out there from a flapping sleeve.

    I mean, right? Ladies–and dudes with an eye for dudes–back me up, here.

    • Jennifer Says:

      I agree completely with your coding of the rolled-up shirtsleeve, esp. with the “bout of fisticuffs” thing, ha! I think the non-sexiness of the short sleeve button up shirt, for me, is about pretention. An old-fashioned gentleman is either completely covered up, or in a state of sexy deshabille (like the rolled-up shirtsleeves), but when he’s properly dressed the only thing showing is face and hands. When you wear button-up shirts, you’re evoking “old-fashioned gentleman”. Which is totally incompatible with visible swaths of hairy forearm. If you’re gonna be a sexy bare-arms dude, skip the buttons and collar – go for a t-shirt. For me, the short-sleeved button-up shirt is indelibly linked with pocket protectors and general social cluelessness.

  • Madeline Says:

    I concur on the sleeves, and on your analysis of the reasons. I had never even noticed this paradox before–but I will now!

    • shannon Says:

      I bought Sam a couple of nice dress shirts. We’ll see if I can get him to model them, with the sleeves rolled up…

  • ...iph... Says:

    Oh, poor Robin! The torment of being a young boy and being temporarily unable to race everywhere at top speed. I hope he’s mended and on the run again most speedily.

    Concur about the shirt sleeves. Add’l interpretive layer: I agree that the rolled-up shirt sleeve connotes “white collar man is manly enough to do manly things in the garage or wherever after working his posh job.” There’s an immediate and quite pleasing visual there. You have to have a certain level of muscular development to provide the necessary skin/fabric tension to keep that shirt sleeve rolled up and in place, after all.

    Not that the short-sleeve button-down shirt can’t be pulled off by the right fellas (or the right shirt), but that one’s more likely to connote, to my mind, a certain non-muscular pasty-facededness; a mid-eighties cinematic proto-nerd; geek before it was chic. (In fact, do a Google image search right now for “nerds” and you’ll find a thought-provoking preponderance of short-sleeve button-down shirts.) As much as we may appreciate the brains over brawn and love the geekery on an everyday, real life level, we’re perhaps less likely to people the romance novel covers of our fantasies with this sort. (Ah, women; we are simple creatures!)

    • shannon Says:

      “You have to have a certain level of muscular development to provide the necessary skin/fabric tension to keep that shirt sleeve rolled up and in place, after all.”

      I think that’s a very good point!

      I’ve seen the short sleeve button-downs worn in a kind of hipster-ironic way, too, but I still don’t think they’re sexy.

  • Dom Camus Says:

    I’m not an expert on the attractions of male arms, but I wonder if the phenomenon you’ve observed has partly to do with the fact that rolled up sleeves constitute undressing of a sort?

    • shannon Says:

      I think that’s definitely a part of it. With the rolled-up sleeve, you’re glimpsing something that’s “meant” to be hidden, so it’s got an extra charge. Like Victorians and ankles, I guess.

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