“Look at these hilarious words on my shirt, aren’t I just super witty and original?”
Ever since I was five years old in a chocolate-stained t-shirt surrounded by other children, I have found people frightening. The boys kiss you against your will or step on your Barbie’s tea-cup while the girls exclude you from their games because you can’t do cartwheels or worse still, demand that you commit to being their best friend for ever and ever.
As I stumbled through childhood and continue to fight my way out of adolescence, people have continued to scare me. I’ve learnt to handle men and their peculiar urges and women with their insecurities but what baffles me still is the things some of these people wear. Hot pink skinnies, plastic black leggings, fluffy boots with giant baubles hanging off them…are enough to send me into a gin-swilling-coma. Worst of all though, is a bright yellow t-shirt, (usually worn by some pimpled juvenile with a smug grin) boasting the words: “Six-pack inside”, “I‘m a lesbian” or my personal favourite: “I‘m a lover not a fighter unless you like it rough ;)” printed boldly on the front.
What I want to know is: why? Are you lacking a personality to the extent that you need to wear one? Do girls find it funny? Perhaps it makes up for the fact that you have a mono-brow or a third nipple.
I believe clothes have many powers. They can make us feel like Grace Kelly or the wife in The Shining. They can give us that tiny little pinch of confidence needed to stand up and speak to a crowd or that added oomph to say: “You seem to have confused me with someone that cares.” But clothes can be our downfall too. They can rip whilst dancing, be ruined by your favourite merlot or be vandalised in the wash. (My striped pullover will never be the same.)
And of course, they can send out messages about who we are that we may have preferred to keep private. A yellow smudge lets me know you’re a mother with a newborn baby. Safety pins and skull tattoos you tell me you hate the world and your father never paid you any attention. Couples in matching jerseys cause a bout of nausea, and men in white chinos make me wonder: Do you have a croquet club membership and a pocket watch?
All of these things I can handle. In fact, I enjoy seeing what other people wear and thinking about what went through their mind when they stood in front of their wardrobe that morning. But when doing my sit ups in the neon lit gym and contemplating the benefits of a celibacy, I look up only to be met with the sight of a puffed up skin-head doing squats in a vest labelled: “All this could be yours.” That pretty much settles it. Knitting and long-johns here we come.
If you have nothing to say, if you are socially awkward, if you think sexual innuendos are the height of humour that’s fine. Its your life after all. But that doesn’t mean you need to broadcast it to the world, people will eventually find out who you are without you wearing your personality like an army badge.
So yeah I’m judgemental. Blame it on my mother, like my anxiety and love of early nights. But my point is, that in a world dominated by social media where nothing is secret anymore, from the president’s meal preferences to your brother’s Friday night plans, we have enough things to frighten us without you strolling through supermarket aisles sporting some crass phrase which translates to everyone else as: “I‘m a douche bag.”