A Love Letter to Men in Shawl-Collar Sweaters

Oh, hey there, Professor Cutie Cute. Riding the subway, are we? Me too. 

I can’t help but notice that you’re wearing a shawl-collar sweater. It’s a most excellent choice. The shawl collar says, “I’m cognizant of the things that I put on my body, but I’m not a slave to fashion.” In fact, the power of the shawl collar is that the wearer doesn’t have to acknowledge its appeal. You can be accidentally sexy in a shawl collar whether you’re an esteemed scholar, an off-duty businessman, or a retired Lands’ End model hurrying to CrossFit. A shawl-collar neckline lets a man show off the things that make him manly—shoulder brawn, neck scruff, Adam’s apple—without giving away the keys to his castle. Most sacred about the shawl-collar sweater are the secrets it gladly hides beneath its forgiving folds. 


But back to you. Your Filson cross-body messenger is digging into your clavicle? That’s okay, I dig the line it’s creating across your chest muscles. Plus, we’ll be there soon; Chambers is the next stop. What’s that you’re reading? City on Fire? That’s nice. I read about Risk Hallberg in New York. Did you know that that guy wakes up at 4:30 A.M. to write? Oh, that’s when you and your brother, Crosley, go quail-egg hunting? That’s lovely. Yes,  I can only imagine how serene the thickets are at that time. No, I didn’t know Crosley canned his own preserves. That seems like a wonderful use of a schoolteacher’s free time.

I’m so glad you chose to wear this sweater today. My weather app said 54 this morning, but I could tell from the frost on my windows that the wind chill would be in the 40s.  


I’m sorry—I must be blushing. It’s just that there’s something about your sweater shape that does me right. You may have a banker’s bod and keratosis pilaris on your upper arms, but inside that gorgeous knit you look like an all-organic Popeye. It’s like you’re somehow both Ben and Noel. I don’t even mind your Merrell clogs. I hope they provide some much-needed relief to that stress fracture you got while trekking Machu Picchu with your rugby buddies.

Oh, yes. This is your stop. Here, let me help you with your Linus. I wish I could watch you sprint up the stairs with your lightweight designer bicycle hoisted elegantly above your tufts of pomade-free curls. Would it be too forward if I said that I’d like to create a hair doll from the downy fleece that keeps your neck warm during these transition months? No? You never judge anyone, do you?


So long, precious lamb. Thank you for the time we shared—you and your exposed forearms will always be with me.