CHOW.com’s design team was having quite a laugh over this photo shoot from the New York Times’ Style magazine, which depicted the guests at a “men’s tea party” in ratty gray cloaks with scraggly beards in Brooklyn. The look, with credits for both food and prop styling (prop styling??), was described by one commenter as “pseudo-hobo.” I find it somewhere between “hobbity” and “Fairport Convention Circa 1969.” Yes, the tea men ate fine blue cheese in their fingerless gloves and also enjoyed some loose leaf tea, seed cake, and artisanal chocolate, while working on their knitting—that’s right, knitting. One photo showed the Donald Sutherland-ish one with the long mustache working on a mustard-colored sweater.

CHOW.com has long been a proponent of the tea party and was happy to see the New York Times agreed, along with some of its readers. One wrote: “liked the revamp on the tea party as a masculine, yet curiously sensitive affair.” Others had nothing but wrathful condescension for the peaceful fashion hippies: “When, oh when will this Oberlinization of everything end?” lamented one, and “Are you kidding me? Tea? Knitting? Is this the 2010 version of the drum circle?” asked another. And yet another summed it up beautifully with “straight men with ‘stylist’ girlfriends are idiots!!!”

I do not see what’s wrong with fetishizing great-looking beards in a fashion shoot or at any other time, for that matter, and am glad to see these gents enjoying seed cake—a much underrated treat.

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