Fancylad, outsideleft's own in-house self-appointed style expert answers all your nagging questions on fads, fashion, vanity, style and the gentleman's code of conduct.
What's the best way to blow your nose in public?
-- Jack B, Boston, Mass.
If you absolutely have to, in a kerchief, as far as humanly possibly away from other people as possible -- or among strangers or people that you detest. (Kidding.) That's what hankies are for. By the way, the same advice applies for any other grotesque bodily function as well as crying like a baby.
I just got into becoming a vegan and I'm trying to get out of the habit of wearing leather. Can you tell me if there are any stylish shoemakers that make shoes of synthetic leather?
-- Justin A., Austin, Texas
You might want to try Dr. Martin's Vege Docs. They're big in the UK and you can now get them special order at your local Doc dealer. They're completely overpriced, but that's the price animal lovers have to pay these days.
If you're concerned about money and less so on stylish, your bigger discount chains like Wal-Mart sell very inexpensive imitation-leather shoes. You'll look like you just stole your shoes from a mailman, but at least PETA will still allow you into their secret meetings.
I'm having my girlfriend's parents over for dinner for the first time at my apartment. I'm nervous because I'm a pretty lousy cook. What can I make that will taste decent and within my modest capabilities?
Frank, Canton, Ohio
Spaghetti, linguine, or any of the major pastas is pretty hard to screw up if you can, at the very least, boil water. Essentially what you'll want to do it buy the best jar or pesto sauce you can find. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box and add a dash of salt and a bit of oil to the boiling water -- that's Fancy's own secret.
For a decent salad, buy some fresh arugula and dress it with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar -- don't use the entire bottle! -- just enough to lightly coat the leaves.
Add a good, long loaf of sourdough bread and a mid-priced bottle or red wine, and you got yourself a no-effort dinner that'll take you about 30 minutes to prepare and practically idiot-proof.
To make this sham really believable, have a good block of Parmesan cheese and grate on the spot -- visuals are everything. If you're working the cheese in front of your dinner guests, you can probably give off that legitimate "I know what I'm doing here" feeling.
Need advice? Does it concern fashion? Style? Affairs of the heart? Fancylad shoots straight from the hip pocket. Send him all of your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org -- the intern-monkeys will be sure to pass them on to him.
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