It’s that time of year. Every May, after the last white cherry blossoms blow off the trees, men in white hats blow into New York City. Expect seamen jokes from every media outlets and most ladies in Times Square. That’s right folks, it’s Fleet Week NYC. The ships arrive today and stay through Memorial Day.
“There’s something about a man in uniform.”
Expect to hear that phrase a lot this week. What is it about men in uniform? Especially the sailor suit that harkens to what two year-olds wear to weddings? I have theories:
The uniform fits him perfectly.
Men wearing close that fit them, it’s a sight for sore eyes. I still have PTSD from the tragic sagging pants trend. While more fitted styles have blessedly become more in fashion, it’s still not common place to see a nice ass accentuated by a nice pair of pants. Until you’re walking behind a group of sailors. Fellas can lie to themselves and their dating profiles, claiming to be 6′ tall, but not the US armed services! They’ll cut a man’s uniform to actually fit his 5’10 frame, saving 2 inches of fabric bunching around his ankles, and the end result actually makes him look taller. The superior posture drilling into him during basic training is attractive too.
The uniform is pressed and pristine.
Every time I try to wear white in New York City, I regret it. A casual lean against a subway poll and suddenly I’m wearing a gray striped dress. Coffee spills seek me out like bees to honey. If I don’t bleed on myself, I can count on a some random stranger to some how, some way, get their bodily fluids on me instead. So when I see hundreds of men in perfectly pressed, spotless white from head to toe walking the streets of NYC? I can only explain it by magic. They’ll put a spell on you.
The uniform allows the perfect blank canvas to project a fantasy onto.
The best and worst part of a uniform? It indicates nothing of personal taste. Left to his own devices, mark my words, that sailor boy would visit New York wearing crocs, cargo jorts, and a HOOTERS shirt. But you can live in blissful ignorance of that, my dear! You can pretend he’d wear Brooks Brothers, a motorcycle jacket, or sustainable hemp: whatever you want! A uniformed outward appearance says nothing about personality, not something we’re used to. So we create a personally for them! Full of our hopes and dreams, bullshit and clichés!
Oh yes, clichés: Men in uniform are strong, chivalrous, protectors! Real men who take charge! Brave Americans who value tradition! Dominant and commanding! TESTOSTERONE!
Like all clichés, there’s truth in the assumption, the stereotype. For some people. Some times. Depending on how they feel today.
Our country continues to build up an image of its armed forces, as it has for centuries. In May of previous years, I’ve tried to look at our Fleet Week visitors as individuals instead of what they stand for. Nine times out of ten, I saw a pimply 19 year-old looking nervous, overwhelmed, and trying to hide discomfort. It’s easy to forget behind the man-in-uniform mystic, but generally teens in uniform or below drinking age boys in uniform would be a better way to describe the males serving our country. They are so freaking young.
So young I feel bad dropping an f-bomb around them, much less actually fucking one. But if that’s your fantasy, hey, no judgment! Check out Gawker’s Nabbing a Fleet Week Sailor: A How-To Guide.
If you’re still fascinated by Fleet Week, this article from Business Insider is great: Here’s What It’s Like To Be A Sailor In NYC During Fleet Week. It also has some pictures that demonstrate how young sailors are.
If you want to read about when I myself dated a sailor (who I did not meet during Fleet Week) check out this popular series: A Date with My Elementary School Nemesis: He’s in the Navy
Most importantly, there are a ton of Fleet Week events happening in the town most, if not all, are free. Alas, none are quite as fabulous as the navy party they showed on that episode of Sex and the City. But watching Top Gun on the flight deck of the Intrepid surrounded by sailors definitely sounds surreal.
Full event listing at fleetweeknewyork.com