As our friends over at the Eat Like a Man blog will tell you, barbecue season is here. Officially. We know that you've been wearing white for a weeks already, and we've informed you how to shop for the long weekend. But it's still worth remembering a few other rules about what happens when white turns to stain, and other manners of making a sloppy holiday stylish again....
Rule No. 1: Club soda and salt.
You will spill sauce. You will spill mustard. Your wife will spill both on you. Do not panic. Just dab — not rub the stain — with some Schweppes, then grind some salt on there. When you get home, or if you must panic, pick up a stain-removal kit from club soda, usually that will hold you over. For those especially stain phobic, pick up a stain-removal kit from Madame Paulette. If it works for wedding dresses, it'll work on your polo shirt.
Rule No. 2: Wear nice jeans. And wipe on them.
But wear strong jeans. A raw-selvedge denim pair should do. Even if you paid $200 for them, a barbecue's as good an excuse for a breaking-in as you're likely to get. Because a good pair of jeans can withstand napkin duty, or your ass in the grass, or a slide into third base. If it can't, then why the hell did you pay so much?
Rule No. 3: It's okay to wear an apron.
But only when you're cooking. And make it a shop apron, because no one wants to kiss the cook. And because they're cheap, last forever, and include pockets. Try heavy cotton twill, canvas, or more denim. It's all at the hardware store.
Rule No. 4: It's not okay to wear sandals.
When you're cooking. Like European airliners, exposed toes do not get along well with burning ash. Nor with stampeding guests once you hit medium-rare. Not that you need to go with steel toes, exactly, but rubber ones look pretty good.
Rule No. 5: You must wear sunglasses.
Even if it's cloudy. A man can man a grill with ease when the breeze isn't blowing smoke up his eye sockets. Also: that look of consternation over the charred chicken stays wear it should — behind the lenses.
Rule No. 6: Febreze is your friend.
Much as we love cologne, it doesn't mask the smokey aroma so much as blend with it. Spray an odor neutraliser on the bottom half of your shirt before dessert instead. Alternatively, if anyone asks why you smell like fire, say: "Because I just made steak for thirty. What have you been doing?"
Rule No. 7: The chef may ask anyone to get him a beer.
Just remember to say please.
Thank you to Esquire magazine