One for the Boys

Gouyaveman 17th May,2006

The phrase “Coming Out”, even though it is commonly used within our West Indian culture takes a different implication when it is used in the context of what was expected from our own Gouyaverian youths.

For many a young man in Gouyave, it meant the crossing of the bridge and the realization that one had made the transition from adolescent to adulthood and that also meant that you were under the watchful eyes of your elders. As you began to take charge of your place in “the established pecking order of things”, it was expected of you to cast away your childish behavior to earn your place in Gouyave’s society and be recognized, not so much of who you were but most importantly, what you intend to become.

For those who dared to entertain the thought of quickly rising up the social ranks to mount a challenge against the more seasoned and establish men like Wright, DeCoteau, Crowe, Spra-gi-digs and Bald Plate in their practice of “territoriality”(^._.^), you had to first be subjected to a preliminary test of a dress rehearsal and be prepared to walk the “runway” of The Lance “before you kud call youself, man!”.

Their predecessors (like Pajamas, Sweet Man Durey, Ting-ah-Merry and Pampalam) had already established the “rules of engagement” and had acquired the appropriate accolades and nicknames associated with their feat; so to venture into that territory meant you had every intention of displaying that inherent biological characteristic that differentiate you as a Bull from that of a Heifer and be willing to stake your claim. Needless to say, the Girls/Ladies would be watching you also, but their reserve and conservative upbringing would defer their choices only after carefully concluding that your attire and behavior were appropriate enough so as not to draw any attention to the “other watchful eyes in Gouyave and “oh Boi, there were many”.

Every young lady at the time knew what it meant to be stigmatized with the phrase “She Break Away” and no one wanted to be associated with the social decadent behavior attributed to it and risk being stained with disparaging remarks made against their character.

But as a prerequisite to all of this, the simple art of knowing how to dress was enough to determine if one was to remain among those who were possessed with overactive libido and high testosterone levels and needed a “quick bite to eat” or if he was to exercise the required patience, exuberance and courtship that was necessary to elevate himself to make a smooth transition across that bridge. Failure to adhere to the proper dress code could have meant the designation of a nickname for which one would have to carry for the rest of one’s life.

So at the height of this display in personal attire, the “Gouyave Dappers” had created a subtle level of competition thus creating by extension, two distinct classes of dress codes among the men; and the four most prominent pieces of clothing that had heavily influenced Gouyave’s culture at the time was the Banlon Jersey, the Terelyn Pants, the Handkerchief and the “Stingy Brim Hat.

One could have tell which side of the fence a young man was heading by his display of all four or three of the four, but this was the attire of the time and you could not have been considered to “worth your weight in gold to demand your pound of flesh” and compete with the other Dappers if you could not elevate your taste in attire to the established standards.

The Sunday afternoon stroll was indeed a display in “groomeology” (if you will) and a chance to walk on the runways of Gouyave streets.

To begin with, the hair had to be well coiffed, preferably with the skills of Sarda(aka, Doggie) or Par-Bain, from Down Street.

The Banlon Jersey was of the Polyester blend variety and had to be worn neatly tucked inside the slacks and capped over the belt, making the perfect silhouette to enhance the curvaceous tone of the body.

The slacks had to be made out of the finest of Gabardine or light-weight Tropical Wool Worsted from the stocks of Granby’s, Everybody’s or General Commodities. But the Dappers ultimate in sporting slacks had to be tailored from Terelene and tapered with the fine tailoring skills of Figs, Ah-pooh, Tony Marqs or Domingo. They took pride in sporting and pointing to the sharpness of the “pants seams” ensuring that they were well pressed and were of the same length from mid-thigh to the bottom. The preferred styles were either “gun mouth” or “Bell Bottom”, but whatever the style was, you could have betted that none would have violated the standard “yard and three eights” it took to “make the thread”(‘pants’ in Gouyave lingo) as we used to say.

The “bam pocket” sported the folded white handkerchief, exposing approximately half inch from end to end.

The socks were usually black in color to match the shoes that were buffed into a shine that only “Nugget” c could have provided. But the “Jigger Boots” was the ultimate in foot-ware as its rubbery bottom provided comfort to “strut the stroll” of the Dapper and draw attention to him by the lookers-on; so with that combination, one was ready to walk on the runway extending across The Lance Bridge. You knew “you had your shidt together”(pardon the indulgence Mr. Web Master) if you made it passed the bridge with no remarks as to your attire, but if you had the proclivity to sport a Stingy Brim on your head, the whole of Gouyave would begin to “shu-shu” as you would be on your way of establishing your reputation as a “ah Gouyave Saga Boi”.

Wright, DeCoteau, Crowe, Spra-gi-digs and Bald Plate knew never to wear that infamous Stingy Brim Hat and that kept their reputation and character intact.

Gouyaveman ©