Thursday, August 04, 2011

Something Stupid

You know how you download something and the first 97% downloads in four seconds and the last 3% takes so long you bequeath the download in your will? That’s what writing this book is like. In the book’s defense, it might be going faster if I didn’t keep doing this:

“I need to confirm that statistic. Let me just grab it online at this beneficial but dreary website. Let me just take a little break after doing such creditable and mature work. Where to go, what to do...oh, look! Internet cats!”

So many cats. The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee alone can hang its head in shame for the all-nighters I’m going to have to pull to catch up.

But this is not why I’m writing this blog. I’m writing to avoid writing. Some day, a sympathetic mental-health professional and I will look at this together, but right now I’ll tell you about my friend Veronica and how she and I discovered what I suspect might be a Great Truth:

All men have one awful t-shirt.

Veronica’s husband Jack works on sitcoms as an Assistant Director. Ergo, he has a wardrobe which would be the envy of any eighth-grade boy, consisting mostly of cargo shorts, t-shirts and cheap tennis shoes. Recently, one of his friends on the set grew extremely tired of Jack’s look and insisted she was taking Jack for a makeover. Within four hours, she made him buy flat-front khakis, lose the old-man jeans and purchase shoes from someplace besides Costco. I commended Veronica on having the kind of self-esteem where she’d let her husband shop with another woman and she snorted, “Are you kidding? I gave her a gift card to PF Chang’s for getting him out of those clothes. He certainly wasn’t going to do it on his own. She was firm with him.”

I sighed, “Could you send her over?”

For the most part, I wouldn’t feel the need to send Consort off with a female friend to get upgraded. There is one item, however. It’s a green t-shirt with an image of a smiling man holding up a mug of steaming something. The logo reads...

"How about a nice cup of shut the f*ck up?"

Isn’t that lovely? Aren’t you jealous that isn’t in your closet? Consort is so close to perfect in so many ways, and the frat-tendencies in him are barely perceptible but he owns that t-shirt and he thinks that t-shirt is funny. After years of wincing every time I stumbled across it in the dryer, after countless tiny-dramas when the t-shirt “accidentally” ended up in the trash can, only to be saved at the last minute by Consort who’d surmise my sudden good mood had something to do with waste disposal, we’ve come to an agreement. He may wear the t-shirt around the house when doing something smelly, something likely to leave a stain of some kind on the t-shirt which would thereafter render it unwearable. He may not leave the house in that t-shirt, not even to go to Home Deport where, yes, he’d be likely to find other men who thought that t-shirt was a hoot, but where there might be families with corruptible small children.

Speaking of small children, this t-shirt led to my having to explain to Daughter that the First Amendment meant her father could wear that saying in the house but it didn’t mean she had the right to use it in the house.

I loathe that t-shirt.

I’d pay good money for some young woman to look deeply into his eyes and say, “Oh, no” as she doused it with lighter fluid and briefly warmed the backyard. All of this, I told Veronica, who sighed sympathetically.

“When we got married,” she said, “Jack had a Chachi—you know, “Happy Days” Chachi?—t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. He loved that thing. It took me eight years to get rid of it. He also had a Gumby t-shirt I had to hide because he kept trying to wear it with cut-off jean shorts. I tell you, I had my work cut out for me.”

Readers, this is where you come in. Jack and Consort are different men, raised in different states, great guys each in their own way but very dissimilar people. And yet each has, at one point, owned and irrationally loved a stupid t-shirt.

The question is, if you are a man, do you have a stupid t-shirt?

Do you know it’s a stupid t-shirt?

Do you care that the significant other in your life flinches when you pull it out, or is that part of the pleasure?

Do gay men have stupid t-shirts? I know there are gay men who aren't fixated on fashion but isn't one of the basic requirements of male homosexuality that you don't wear stupid t-shirts?

Do women have stupid t-shirts? Are the loved ones in their lives arranging to spill bleach on them?

Women, have you ever loved someone a little less because of a stupid t-shirt?

To what lengths have you gone to get a stupid t-shirt out of your life?

And to everyone: What’s the worst stupid t-shirt you’ve ever seen?

(Please don’t let it be “How about a nice cup of shut the f*ck up?”)


Blogger rockygrace said...

Oh my gosh - A guy in my office once SHOWED UP FOR WORK in a t-shirt with a picture of a cartoon squirrel and the words "Eat my nuts" on it.

I'm not a prude, but ... I was speechless. And to think that he sat across the breakfast table from his twelve-year-old daughter in that shirt ... *shudder*

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once received as a gift, a t-shirt that said, "It's not a bald spot, it's a solar panel for a sex machine."

I won't even wash my car with that.
a male in Indiana.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Debbie St.Amand said...

The most offensive T shirt I ever saw was on my nephew. He wore it to Thanksgiving dinner, and the saying was so offensive, I can't even repeat it here. Said nephew was still a teenager at the time, but his mother didn't say a word to him about how it might have been less than appropriate to wear the thing when my son, who was maybe 8 or 9 at the time) was around. To this day, I wish I'd just gotten up and taken my kid home with me, rather than imply in any way that it was okay to wear that thing.


12:41 PM  
Anonymous amy/ohcarrots said...

I can barely write this... I still feel a bit sick when I think of it. One time while living in a small college town, I saw a guy in Walgreens who was wearing a shirt that said "lotion dispenser" and an arrow pointing down. Why does that shirt even exist???? Still hoping he didn't actually know English and that he'd found it in a charity bin. Or a trash can.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I am a grown woman with a true affinity for ridiculous t-shirts. I have one that features the Back to the Future delorean crashing into the TARDIS from Doctor Who. I have shirts featuring the Smurfs, the Golden Girls, and one that is printed to look like Wonder Woman's outfit. Now, my shirts are generally cutesy and funny rather than offensive, (though in college I did have one that said "When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow"), so it takes a good deal to upset me, t-shirt wise. BUT, and this is a big one, shirts that advocate violence, especially violence against women, are WAY over the line. The single most offensive shirt I have ever seen in my life said, "Battered Women Taste Better." I gasped out loud when I saw that. There's not much that will make me openly glare at another human-being, but by-gum, that did it.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband (320 lbs.) routinely wears a shirt that says "Winning in the war against anorexia." I kid you not.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

growing up (in the 70's), my dad had a shirt that said "save a tree, eat a beaver." it had a cartoon drawing of a beaver gnawing on a tree. i wanted to wear the shirt for a nightgown once when i was about 7. i couldn't understand why my mom wouldn't let me wear it.

1:33 PM  
Blogger steptrig said...

I once gave a "facial" to a woman in a tshirt that said "Pick a Winner" the shirt had a picture of a large nose with an inserted finger. she had just left work as a waitress. I refuse to identify my State of Residence. Sigh...

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

I once bought a birthday present for a dear guy friend (who really, really expressed that was what he wanted) that was a t-shirt of David Bowie with the slogan, "I f---ed Mick Jagger."

On a note on positive tees, I really love the peaceful, cool-designed shirts on are awesome! I like one that Candace Cameron sells on her site that says, "Being good isn't good enough." ;-) I think women pick different sort of tees than men! haha FAVORITE shirt is a great drawing of a gorgeous lamb that says, "What kind of asshole eats a lamb?" It's for sell at an AR site. But, for the reasons you stated in the blog about concerns of a young child seeing it, I didn't buy it. But I loved that. I still might get it, anyway. ;)

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Oh my word. Ok, I laughed so hard at this blog entry, and am laughing just as hard at the comments.

Why, oh WHY do I not have my own atrocious example to give you all? Sadly, my husband is an IT technician and all his t-shirts are only nerdy and incoherent, not gross or inappropriate.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I've always been repulsed by t-shirts which advertise "Mustache Rides."

On the cute side of bad, a student was forced to call home for another shirt around Christmas time. His winking Santa t-shirt proclaimed: "I've got a big package for you."

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Nikki said...

A homeless guy at my train station used to wear a shirt that had a picture of a hot dog with arms, legs and a face and the saying on it was My Wiener Does Tricks. We commuters were greeted with that fine t-shirt several mornings a week for a number of years.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we get to do faves, too, I love my t that says, 'If a tree falls in the forest, do all the Bushes laugh?'

Had it since 2000.
Indiana guy, again.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Riann said...

At the mall over the weekend, my mother and I saw a man wearing a t-shirt with "Things That Make My Dick Hard" on it. The oh-so-classy list included such gems as Beer, Your Mom, and Midgets. I'm nowhere near as easily offended as she is, but we were both disgusted by that shirt.

Classy, classy St. Louis, MO.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Dodi said...

The first time my husband - my then "boyfriend" - met my two best friends he was wearing a shirt with a cartoon chicken and a cartoon cat looking at each other...
Cat: "Chicken"
Chicken: "Pussy"

Then, at my daughters 4th birthday party I had to make him go upstairs and change his shirt, because it said, "I'm the guy your parents warned you about."

He does have a shirt that makes me laugh, "When in Rome, Do as the Visigoths."

8:14 PM  
Blogger StaceyEsq said...

My husband was sent home from high school for wearing a t-shirt with a bunch of cartoon kittens that he had brought back from Mexico. The caption? "Tijuana Pussy Posse."

9:53 AM  
Blogger Beth HF said...

My neighbor is a pilot and has the obligatory MILE HIGH CLUB t-shirt....however tacky that is (we love him even though he owns and wears the shirt) is that his wife owns one too. Ba dum dum.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Throwslikeagirl said...

As a gay man, I know that every time a brother wears a stupid tee shirt, somewhere in West Hollywood, a fairy loses it's wings. That said, I was at an ikebana exhibit ( hey-- I SAID I'm gay! ) and saw a lovely tee with Japanese calligraphy on it. I asked what it said and was told, "Everything in life is beautiful". Sold!

I wore it to the high school where I taught and suffered through a morning of giggling students ( muffled giggles like they did when I ate a banana--sigh ). Finally I asked what was up and an intrepid young man suggested I look in a mirror. I did and found out the very nice, gentle soul at the ikebana exhibit sold me a tee that read, in English, when viewed in a mirror, "F*CK YOU". I knew right then that somewhere in West Hollywood...

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband has a t-shirt that says "meh" on it. It's red and it just says "meh." I hate it and won't go out in public with him if he has it on. He thinks it's funny. I honestly don't know any women with stupid t-shirts. This is a man thing.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband has a t-shirt that says "meh" on it. It's red and it just says "meh." I hate it and won't go out in public with him if he has it on. He thinks it's funny. I honestly don't know any women with stupid t-shirts. This is a man thing.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Throwslikeagirl said...

Women don't wear stupid tee shirts!? One word-- BEDAZZLER!

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Pat Christensen said...

O.k., to be fair about this, I love stupid t-shirts and have owned a few in my life. One, with two vultures sitting on a branch, bore the caption: "Patience my ass. I'm going out and kill something."

I loved that t-shirt when I was an adolescent. I loved it so much that I wore it everywhere. My father hated that t-shirt. But with some forebearance, he tolerated it. Until the day I wore it to Mass. On the way home, my hyper-Catholic father, who we used to refer to as "The Catholic Terminator," brought out his lighter and informed me that he intended to burn my beloved t-shirt. And if I was lucky, he told me, he'd wait until I wasn't wearing it. The t-shirt vanished a few days later. I didn't bother looking for the pile of ashes I knew was somewhere behind the garage.

But even I was flabbergasted with the t-shirt worn by a man meeting me for a blind date. He showed up at a local restaurant, proudly wearing a shirt that read "You ain't seen ugly 'till you've met my ex-wife".

Needless to say, there was never a second date.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous lali said...

A woman in my office came to work one day in a T-shirt that read “I wish God gave me bigger boobs instead of a big brain." *sigh*

12:24 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

As a sexual health nurse at Planned Parenthood, I was always given "interesting" swag from our education and political action departments. Most were in response to political attacks to certain rights. I am now the owner of "Masturbation is not a crime!" and "I had an abortion." t-shirts. Times worn? Zero. While I am *more* than comfortable engaging in dialogues about either of these subjects (in both exam rooms and living rooms), I feel a t-shirt with a political or ironic statement provokes reaction without evoking a response. That's inflammatory, not witty.

3:51 AM  
Anonymous ILikeOldConcertTees said...

After college I rented a couple of rooms in my apartment to a succession of roommates. One was from michigan. He used to wear old white tee shirts that he said had been his father's. Not fancy, no slogans, but so old and threadbare they were almost translucent. Except for the stains. He would wear them on 60 mile bike rides. And then keep wearing them. Day after day. No slogan. But definitely frightening.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Dixie Outfitter t-shirts with the slogan, "The South will Rise Again!" pretty much says it all for me. As if there'd be another war between the states...sheesh.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another gay man: yes, we wear offensive T-shirts (can you guess the subject matter?) but they are almost always worn to gatherings with other gay men...or places like Provincetown, MA. I have a shirt with the picture of a rooster wearing a saddle (you can guess the caption, right?) but I would never wear it out where straight people could see it. Thank god I have more class than that.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Throwslikeagirl said...

Yo! Me too, Anonymous! Back in the 90's, when such things were de rigueur, I had a pink muscle tee that read, "Cowfag". Funny at parties, but not for the general populace! Also, for everyone, age plays a factor. What's funny at 25 or before is kinda pathetic after that.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay...this conversation does not leave this room. Or comment box. Whatever.

When we were first married and in college, suffice it to say we were poor. A friend of ours, who is gay, was selling off his entire wardrobe to buy new things. Hubby went over and $50 later, came home with a lot of really really nice things we could never otherwise afford.

EXCEPT this one heinous shirt that can only be described as Picasso-like pattern on what used to be a shiny fabric but was now faded.

OMG. You have NO idea how ugly this shirt was.

My husband loves clothes. Because he works in banking, he has to have nice things. Therefore, nice things kept coming into the house as we could afford them but the old stuff never made their way out.

The last straw was the day he went suit Nordstrom....wearing the heinous faded Picasso nightmare shirt.

The next day, I volunteered to spiff up the closet. Out went the Picasso shirt to the Salvation Army.

A couple of weeks later, we were at a downtown park with our children when lo and behold, a guy walks by. WEARING UGLY PICASSO SHIRT.

There could NOT have been TWO of these ugly shirts. It HAD to be the same shirt!!!

I thought I was in deep doodoo with hubby. Instead, he walks up to the guy and gives him a manly slap on the back and said, "Nice shirt, man! I have one just like it!"

To this day, he never realized that that was indeed his shirt and I had given it away without his knowledge. Which means he must have plenty more to wear if he hasn't even missed it all this time.

Whew. I really needed to get that off my chest.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your second marriage, you learn not to sweat the small stuff. Live and let live, unless of course, there is violence advocated.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a female. A female on the far side of forty. And I wear t-shirts with logos on them because I am a skater (figure) and they are comfortable to fall in. I'm pretty sure it's because they have logos. :) My favorite (right now) is:

And then Buffy staked Edward.
The End.


5:27 PM  
Blogger Dimestore Lipstick said...

It was a grab bag gift, but he thought it was brilliantly hilarious. A T-shirt showing a large fountain pen bistecting the text: MY PEN IS HUGE.

He was once asked to turn it inside-out at a local club, and after that he finally believed it was in bad taste. Because they will take the word of a complete stranger on these matters, but never the wife.

3:19 PM  
Blogger deelyte said...

hahaha this post was hilarious! I own a small tshirt company and live in Texas, so I have had more than my share of requests to put bad taste in ink on a shirt. The absolute worst had to be a guy who wanted, in the middle front of his tee, to have a tiny drawing of a man's face, with a beard and bushy hair, about an inch tall. In print below, the question "How about a little head?"

AUGGH! Bad taste tees aren't the problem with my husband. It's the torn up 80's rocker jeans. Oh my stars and garters! It's done to death already and I can't tell you how many "I've just been mauled by a bear" jeans I've tossed only to have them magically reappear later in his closet. *sigh*

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Gina said...

My boyfriend has a shirt that says " I may be fat, but I have a huge Cock!" With a big picture of Buddah on it

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Lyd said...

I have tossed out t-shirts and khaki shorts with holes in them only to have them resurrected because he can do "yard work" in them. Oh, OK. But occasionally they try to make their way beyond our borders because he's in a hurry. His sister gave him my favorite t-shirt, a Life is Good one that has a picture of hiking boots with the saying "All who wander are not lost".

7:29 AM  
Blogger StevenIre said...

Back in the day when Stalin would send the first one to stop clapping at speeches delivered for his benefit off to the gulag I still would have considered wearing that shirt about the cup-of-shut-the…All of this I would do so I could wear a t-shirt that said, “If you think this t-shirt is bad, you should have seen the one that sent me to the gulag…” This would earn me a second stint. After that I would work as a medical alert bracelet engraver.

9:54 PM  

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