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Slobs At 30,000 Feet. (Update)

This is the guy across the aisle from me on my flight back from NYC.

a) If you're a grown man, don't wear shorts until the thermometer hits 90 degrees. Minimum. This guy was older than me.

b) If your legs look like this, forget 90 degrees. If the metals around you are still in solid as opposed to liquid form, if you're not standing on the surface of the sun, if you are not the flamboyant member of the Fantastic Four known as The Human Torch, keep your pants on.

c) Ewwww.

UPDATE: Hmm, many comments. Many anonymous. Some using the word "fucktard" which is always a sign of a profound intelligence at work. A couple of points:

1) I did not seek the subject's permission because I didn't need it. The subject cannot be identified from the photo. And I don't earn money from this blog, therefore, no permission would be required even if he were identifiable. However, again, the subject is not identified and can only suffer embarrassment if he recognizes himself (unlikely) and then chooses to identify himself. Why did I not identify the gentleman? See point #2 below.

2) The argument that when it comes to appearance we owe nothing whatsoever to our fellow human beings is the argument of a child. It was a bold, rebellious stance to take . . . in 1967. Now it's just the defensive cry of the boor or the solipsist. Civilization rests not only on law, but on certain codes of behavior. In other words, while we can argue whether this particular man violated some unwritten rule, only a child would argue that there are no unwritten rules, or that such unwritten rules are without validity. (Had I shown the man's face, or in some other way identified him, I would have broken one of those unwritten rules.)

3) The argument that goes "The airlines all treat us like cattle therefore we can behave however we like," is a logical absurdity. The fact that we are treated like cattle (and yes, I agree that we usually are, though not on this particular airline,) does not somehow entitle us to live down to that standard. To argue otherwise is to argue that being treated like a murderer entitles you to kill someone. And I miss the point of punishing me and other passengers because of your irritation with the airline.

4) The East/West argument has some validity. The problem being that in this case I am a native of Los Angeles. I currently live in a very informal college town.

5) The accusation that I am a snob has some validity. Maybe quite a bit of validity. I believe people should dress decently. I think we should attempt politeness toward people we encounter. I think we should try to keep ourselves clean, avoid smelling bad, brush our teeth and cover our open sores. In almost any country on earth, or in almost any previous era in this country, my position would be considered self-evident. Now it seems it qualifies as snobbery.

“Slobs At 30,000 Feet. (Update)”

  1. Blogger Randy Says:

    Uggh. Ranks right up there with overweight women running around in spandex shorts. Long ago, I decided the most plausible explanation must be that these guys figure they are never going to run into anyone they know, and aren't going back to wherever they are going or coming from.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    TO: Michael Reynolds
    RE: Say What??!?!?!!!!

    "Ewwww." -- Michael Reynolds

    You sound like a meterosexual, heavy on the feminine side.

    As for the hair...

    ....what's the matter? Can't celebrate his 'diversity'?

    As for the attire....

    The epitome of sophistication is not giving a rat's hiney what other people think about what you're wearing....as long as it is not against the law.

    In short....

    Grow the flock up.


    [A man of great common sense and good taste,-meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage. -- George Bernard Shaw]

  3. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I can remember the days when everyone, including kids, wore jackets and ties to fly. (I'm 49.)
    As to why to dress more appropriately - a number of years ago on an overbooked flight to Honolulu I was bumped up to business class because I had on nice slacks, polo shirt and Topsiders. (The "sophisticated" guy in front of me with cutoffs did not get bumped - the agent waited for me.)

  4. Blogger K T Cat Says:

    Get over yourself. I spend plenty of hours cooped up in airplanes. I'm going to wear the most comfortable thing I can find. The shorts I wear on airplanes are fashionably long, but in any case, turning you on is not high on my to do list. You can get a date elsewhere.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    If you're afraid to carry a styrofoam cup because strangers keep throwing change in it, it's time to re-evaluate the wardrobe.

  6. Blogger Morgan Says:

    I guess I tend to not wear shorts on planes just because of the temperature, but you could definitely call me a slob when flying.

    It's sweats and flip-flops, period, until I can find a way to wear a suit through security and actually make my flight. Take off your shoes, take off your jacket, take off your watch-- forget it.

    I wouldn't mind looking decent, but between the delay and the fact that I feel gross after a flight anyway, I'd almost just rather wear a towel and head straight for the showers.

  7. Blogger NSC Says:

    I agree totally. People have no class anymore. Just because you have the right to go out looking ghastly doesn't mean you should do it.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Maybe you should photograph yourself and under your picture you can caption it 'Snobs at 30,000 ft.'

  9. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Oh. I thought this was going to be a post about artocious seat pitch on horrible airlines.

    So what are people supposed to wear to a flying POW camp?

  10. Blogger Jojo Says:

    People can dress and behave however they want ... until it interferes with other people. I once had to sit next to a very, very, very, very large woman on a 3-hour flight. Her body spilled over onto me, making me utterly uncomfortable. Think about that the next time someone bothers you. Does it actually affect you or just annoy you cause they're different from you?

  11. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I'm an airline pilot and Air Nat'l Guard fighter pilot. I'm a trained crash investigator as well. It makes me cringe when I see people (mostly women and college kids) wearing flip flops on a plane. Or even shorts.

    The facts are you are extremely unlikely to be in a plane crash. You are even more unlikely to die in a plane crash. When you survive a crash (and you can!), you're going to be in a twisted hunk of sharp and hot metal with panicky people. Give yourself every opportunity to get out of the plane. Even if you know where the exits are and do everything right, it'll be tough with burned legs and bare feet...your flip flops will be long gone. Ditto for heels, ladies.

    Look, I'm young (34) and dress as cool or trendy as the next guy. I wear cargos and live in flip flops most of the year...just not on airplanes! Be comfortable, but at least look like you give a sh*t and think about safety!

  12. Blogger Lou Minatti Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Blogger Lou Minatti Says:

    Doesn't bother me. Fat people and smelly people bother me on flights.

    During those long anxious minutes after you board and take your seat. There's an empty seat next to you. You watch to see who's coming down the aisle. If it's a tubagoo, you pray silently that they aren't sitting next to you.

    If you say you've never done this, you're a liar.

  14. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    This is Michael's problem. I've watched our society develop a phobia over hair in this past generation and its kinda pathetic. I say good for the other passenger for being able to relax not caring about his unsightly hair. Imagine, taking a photo and posting the cause on a web site. :-)

  15. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    You related to Althouse? People who say "Ewwww" are not to be listened to for advice.

    Get a grip.

    Anon pilot. Those poly slacks will be molten lava in a fire. No protection at all.

  16. Blogger NSC Says:

    Seems to be a lot of people making excuses for not having enough self-respect to dress like adults. There's a book out about that . . . adults no longer want to grow up . . . they live in a perpetual state of adolescence . . . and dressing like kids in shorts and flip-flops on a playground is part of it.

    Sad commentary on our society when you think about it.

  17. Blogger M. Simon Says:

    If thine eyes offend thee pluck them out.

    Problem solved.

  18. Blogger P_J Says:

    Wow - Michael, I guess you hit a nerve with this one.

    Some of the most uncomfortable hours of my life have come from wearing a hot, sweaty wool suit while being crammed into an unairconditioned space in high summer. And to think I did it only because I was worried about other people's expectations. Well, to heck with that! Next time I perform a funeral, I'm wearing cargo shorts and flip flops.

  19. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    When you buy my airline tickets for me, you may dictate to me whatever dress code you desire. Until then, STFU. Let's see how comfortable you get when you spend 20 hours either travelling on an airplane, or waiting for your connecting flight.

    "Snobs at 30000 feet" is exactly right. Here's an alternate suggestion - go pay extra and sit with the other first class folk. You obviously don't want to spend any more time with the rest of us peons in Economy than you absolutely have to.

  20. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Lack of courtesy, lack of hygiene, dressing like a slob, speaking poorly are all facets of the same problem. You may think people should not care about superficialities. But if you're a slob on the outside, the odds are that you're a slob on the inside too.

  21. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    "But if you're a slob on the outside, the odds are that you're a slob on the inside too."

    Exactly. It's interesting that most (not all) of those defending their right to look a slob are also quite rude in their posts.

  22. Blogger bobby Says:

    " . . . making excuses for not having enough self-respect to dress like adults."

    Since I AM an adult, then no matter what I am wearing, I must be, by definition, "dressed like an adult."

    What you really mean is that I don't have enough self-respect to dress as you would dress.

    Which tells me that you've sadly misunderstood the term "self-respect." I dress in an inoffensive and comfortable manner so that the two to five hours I spend sitting in the plane cause me as little discomfort as possible. Sometimes, I'm in shorts.

    To those who have made the "slobby clothes bespeak slobby character" comments - you have it backwards. Your inner knowledge that you are an insecure and incapable fraud can be glossed over by wrapping yourself well and expensively, but only as a temporary measure. They will figure you out, you know.

  23. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Do the rest of us on the plane a favor and kill yourself.

    That way we won't have to put up with your judgmental bullshit.

    And what the fuck are you doing taking candid pictures of other peoples' looks?

    You are a fucktard.

  24. Blogger GaMongrel Says:

    You know, given the propensity for improper treatment at the hands of the airline industry, I'd much rather be trapped for hours on a plane in my shorts than a suit thank you very much...

  25. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Did you get a release from the subject before you posted his photo on the internet? He couldn't pick his genetics, but you're CHOOSING to be an asshole.

    I assume there's a reason why you didn't post a photo of your own attire next to this photo, too.

  26. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    You can be comfortable and look nice at the same time. A news flash for most non-gay guys, I know.

    I fly all the time and what to wear is always a question, balancing where I'm going vs. the plane environment. If you want to look like a slob, don't be surprised when people judge you as such.

  27. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Is this an east-coast sentiment. On the west coast, people don't bat an eyelash at anyone wearing shorts as long as they are not fat people in spandex. Your post comes across as being a little bizarre from my point of view. "What, he thinks it's bad to wear shorts? So what if he has leg hair. He probably has hair on his head too, but I bet the author never gave that a second thought. That's what I feel grossed out by, guys without hats on. Dis-gusting."

  28. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    It's not snobby to care about such things, just silly to insists on making 'rules' about them, unless you're on a private flight where everyone on board is there for the same reason.

    I have serious issues with flying, and cannot/will not board a plane unless I'm medicated. Therefore, I couldn't tell you what anyone else on any plane I've boarded was wearing, except for perfume. THAT's the one thing I'd ban, if I could.

    I also don't care what anyone thinks about my own tee-shirts shorts, socks, and comfy shoes, either.

  29. Blogger Tom Royce Says:

    I would agree, but only if you asked that those woman who show up for the plane in the outfits that are 4 sizes too small also change what they are wearing. Nothing is worse than the thong shot at 30,000 feet that overflows the aisle.

  30. Blogger halojones-fan Says:

    Anonymous@9:09 PM: Clearly you're biased against fat people. You're a jerk and an asshole and a mean person! Ha! Take that!

    I love how "but i want to be comfortable" has become the default excuse for being too lazy to dress. The other day I saw a family getting on a plane. Mom and three daughters were all wearing flannel PJs and sneakers. What the hell? Is your life really so busy and hectic that you can't even PUT SOME GOD DAMNED PANTS ON?

  31. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    I would agree. My (mock) presidential platform involves federal regulation of bare midriffs.

    I'm certainly not in a position to demand that people be attractive. And I don't in any way mean to imply that people should be running around in Chanel or Armani -- only dress as well as you can reasonably afford.

  32. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    At first glance, it looked like me. but I don't have a pair of Nike tennis shoes. Whew! However, I stopped wearing shorts on airline flights for precisely the reason the National Guard / Airline pilot from comment 11 mentioned. I also don't drink alcohol on flights for the very same reason. Statistically, most people survive the initial crash of an airline flight, most of the people that die afterwards have alcohol in their systems. So, my wearing long pants and not drinking alcohol on an airline flight has less to do with offending someones sensibilities, and more to do with surviving a crash, no later how unlikely that may be. Good Day! Major Bill

  33. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:



    I'm thinking we could try that as a constitutional amendment.

  34. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Ah, paranoid, I see. Me too. remember Towering Inferno? I saw that when I was young(ish) and came to the conclusion that you should always wear shoes you could climb down a flaming staircase in.

  35. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Pastor Jeff:

    I just noticed your comment above. Funny. And why not a bathing suit at baptisms?

  36. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I'm just wondering how many of the gentlemen who are somewhat partial to slovenliness would be admiring those two women whom Southwest Airlines attendants recently asked to cover up? (and they were dressed fairly nicely--no spandex and extra pounds there that I can tell).

  37. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Didn't even bother reading the rest of the comments, because you're 100% right. I've believed all my adult life that a dress shirt, tie, and long pants are de rigeur on the plane -- NO MATTER WHAT THE WEATHER.

    So there, dissenters.

  38. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    "In almost any country on earth, or in almost any previous era in this country, my position would be considered self-evident. Now it seems it qualifies as snobbery."

    This is ridiculous. Nowhere outside of North America do you find this attitude. What a curious mix of snobbery and puritanism.

  39. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    If the man were grotesque in any way, I could understand his opinion. I'm not sure why this man's legs are so frightening to him. The man appears to be in relatively good physical condition. I suppose Reynolds just doesn't like curly hair. Whatever. Sounds like Michael Reynolds has a personal problem.

  40. Blogger Jim S Says:

    Notes to self: avoid flying, continue dressing in business casual when forced to fly, make sure the weight lost over the past 3 years stays off, and DON'T pursue friendship with this author.

  41. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Wierd comments. I agree the person pictured has every right to wear shorts, just common decency should prevent it. As a hirsute male myself (blond though so the hair is not usually as offensive) shorts in general public are out, in some limited places no problem but on an airplane where people of any age or cultural background in world might be forced to view me? If we all did our best to minimze the adverse impacts we have on other people on planes, then flying would be a much more pleasant experience for all of us.

    While people do not have to right to be free from being offended by the actions/words of others in pulic, common deceny requires each of us to make small sacrifices like wearing trousers or not saying "niger" or chewing with our mouths open when we are in a place where it might make someone else uncomfortable. Sure we have the right to do all of these but, to actually do them is inconsiderate.

    License versus licentuousness and all that.

    as an aside, perfues and fragrance are a touchy subject. Some people (including yours truely after a hard night's drinking) have some fairly offensive body odours which can become rather apparent after a few hours on a plane. (the smoking ban on planes and it's affliated reduction in air quality has made this worse these past few years.) However some people are sensitive to fragrances (again, yours truely after a hard night's drinking - hmm, you'd think some people would learn). a difficult balancing act, try to obtain just enough fragrance to minimize the impact of any body odour for an indeterminite legnth of time without using any more than absolutely necessary to reduce the impact to a managable level for people who are sensitive to it.

  42. Blogger Jay Manifold Says:

    I think I have nicer legs than that guy, so I might not feel constrained about wearing shorts on a plane either. That said, I am in broad agreement with the general idea of behaving decently in public, which really ought not to be controversial.

    The real reason I'm commenting here, though, is to give Mr Hirsute Legs a get-out-of-jail-free card for reading (or at least publicly brandishing a copy of) Life and Death in Shanghai, a terrific book.

  43. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    "Get over yourself. I spend plenty of hours cooped up in airplanes. I'm going to wear the most comfortable thing I can find."

    I agree completely which is why I only travel in jock strap shower shoes and light coat of oil. Oh sure some may find it offensive but I'm comfortable and security is a breeze. And when I spot one of those snobs in coat and tie pretending like they are my better I just intimidate them with my awesome physique.

  44. Blogger paul a'barge Says:

    This guy is disgusting, but so are all the fat women who roam America. I put them right up there along side this guy's legs.

  45. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I am curious as to when hair on men's legs became horrifying to a large fraction of the population. That did not used to be so but apparently, the Fab Five have worked their magic on the aesthetics of America.

    Would you be more comfortable sitting across the aisle from Mohamed Atta and his merry men considering that they shaved off all of their body hair before they boarded the planes?

  46. Blogger kreiz1 Says:

    45 comments? Holy crap, Batman. Reminds me of the old days when you toyed with nuking Mecca.

    Anyway, totally concur with the Ewwww factor. Like Morgan above, I no longer wear shorts on planes for one reason- hypothermia, dude. Freezing. So unless someone's into goosebumps, it's not happening.

    Plus, there's always risk of meeting a Wide Stancer. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

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