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Should Couples Put the Same Amount of Effort into Dressing Up?

I don’t always need him to look as hot as me, but there are times when his cargo shorts aren’t gonna cut it

Every few months, some redundant tweet about a stop-you-in-your-tracks-gorgeous woman dating some totally average, unimpressive guy goes viral. It’s annoying because it’s never a fresh concept — and the dudes in question are presumably nice — but I think I know why the sentiment keeps being repeated so often. It’s not because he’s “just some dude,” it’s because he dresses like “just some dude.” Meanwhile, the woman wears a beautiful sundress or a thoughtfully curated, fashionable outfit. Basically, they’re dressed at entirely different levels of effort.

Recently, a TikTok addressing this issue became a big source of debate on Twitter. The video, shared by @SithLizz, features a bosomy woman (popular OnlyFans creator Jesse Switch) dressed in a sexy, deep-cut bodysuit and leather bodycon skirt, an outfit best suited for a nightclub or a late-evening dinner in a major city. Switch then asks her viewers, “If you’re going on a date with someone and you feel like dressing up, but they don’t feel like dressing up, do you make them do it, or do you show up a little mismatched for your dinner plans?” 

Next, she pulls her boyfriend into the frame, who’s wearing baggy drawstring shorts, a baseball cap and a tank top that’s a slight breeze away from revealing his nipple. She states that she doesn’t care how he dresses, and that she thinks he looks hot as fuck, but she’s curious how other people feel. Her boyfriend appears entirely indifferent to the matter.

The majority of responses came to the same conclusion: We have no idea who’s right in this situation. “One of them is wylin’, dunno who though,” wrote @Parkour_Lewis in a reply tweet. The main issue with assessing this couple’s specific situation is that we have absolutely no idea where they’re going. It does, however, still raise an interesting point: Should it really matter if a couple dresses differently when they go out together?

Personally, I think it all comes down to the fact that it’s rarely awkward to be overdressed, but it’s often awkward to be underdressed. I’ve stated my preference for men who dress like garbage before, but the caveat was always that, despite dressing like a dweeb, they still dress with some cleanliness. An additional caveat should have been that they dress appropriately for the situation. A guy can dress like Adam Sandler on his runs to the grocery store, but there’s a time and place for a collared shirt, even if it was acquired at JCPenney by his mother, like the rest of his wardrobe. 

That said, not every situation in which I want to dress up necessarily requires the same of my male partner. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood to be the hottest bitch in an Applebee’s. I like doing my makeup and putting on my silly little outfits, particularly now that I spend the entire workweek at home choosing my clothes exclusively according to comfort. In many cases, the destination doesn’t require that I dress up, but I enjoy doing so just the same. It doesn’t matter whether my guest follows my lead. At Applebee’s, I might stand out as being overdressed, which is fine. His gym clothes would probably blend right in. 

However, say we’re going somewhere a bit nicer, where the entrees cost more than $20 and there are actual names for the wine offerings beyond “red” and “white.” In this type of scenario, being underdressed is more uncomfortable. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule — there are plenty of expensive restaurants filled with customers in casual clothes, too — but I personally prefer my date not be the only guy wearing a T-shirt and shorts in a restaurant filled with collared shirts and tailored pants

Honestly, it has very little to do with fashion. A sense of courtesy and some semblance of awareness of social norms both transcend style. Knowing when a situation calls for a nice sweater, whether that be because a restaurant environment dictates that or because he wants to dress up to match me, is more about good judgment than anything else. 

Then again, it all depends on where we’re going. Who cares if he looks like “just some dude,” so long as he doesn’t look like “just some dude who is terribly underdressed”?