I’m not holding myself up as an example of high fashion. I have a bulky gray t-shirt which reads “eschew obfuscation”. In other words, I am both dowdy and pretentious. I also admit to having a yellow t-shirt which reads, “If I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I’d put shoes on the dogs.” Extenuating factors: I only wear it on laundry days, and it was a gift (sorry, Mom). My favorite new t-shirt reads “Vie’s Snack Shack: World Famous Conch Fritters and Garlic Chicken” (thanks, Mom!)

But here’s the point. Do you not know that the world is full of atrocious choices in clothing? I am a minor offender by comparison. Working at a major tourist destination gives me ample opportunity to observe. The questionable slogans on my shirts are clever and inviting compared to the t-shirts I’ve seen recently. “How may I ignore you today?” Or the more enigmatic “Manny loves Big Papi’s Little Pee-Pees”. Or, more direct, “F*ck You.” Where’s your mother, asshole?

Bad clothing is not always a matter of a written message. I’ve seen an entire family with matching ecru Crocs. American men have succumbed to the Crocs craze, as evinced by the vacationing gentleman I saw this week. He wore a goldenrod-colored polo shirt and large lemon-yellow Crocs. But the topper was the khaki fisherman’s vest, pockets bulging and zippers dangling. The largest pocket, on the lower right-hand side, was unzipped to hold his wallet and traveling brochures: the touring sportsman’s purse.

What about the skin-tight, knee-length brown-and-gray plaid pants under a baggy neon green shirt? Or the teenage girl from France: a strip of tight black elastic at the hips and a strip around each thigh. Between the top-and-bottom elastic: plaid bloomers. Forget the Swine Flu. We can only hope that the short plaid bloomers don’t spread across the Atlantic. And a word to the many healthy-sized adult women in relatively small and flimsy cotton shorts: the back of your pants is feeding in between your upper thighs as steadily as a sewing machine gathers fabric beneath its needle. In fact, one side of your shorts has ridden up so far that it’s threatening to disappear, while the other side dangles relatively free.

Do I need to mention the Goths? Of course I do. It could be a tent-like black velour skirt with an assortment of strappy black garments on top. Obese female Goths still manage to lace themselves into bulging black polyester bodices. Their slimmer Goth sister wears a black skirt smaller than the wrapper on my breakfast sandwich. Her needle-thin boyfriend is shrink-wrapped in black jeans. Lacquered black fingernails vie with eyeliner that looks like it evolved on the arctic tundra to safely absorb snowy rays of sun. The Goth couple has the same hair: apparently they poured a gallon of maroon paint into a small pond, dunked their heads thoroughly, and went immediately to bed. They clump along in knee-high black lace-up boots with two-inch rubber soles, graceful as plungers. Everything about their ensembles, from the spiky dog-chain choker to the elaborately ripped fishnet stockings, proclaims, “I scorn your standard of beauty. I am the dour, dangerous anti-handsome.” And yet, something deeper cries out at me from these figures – something akin to what I call the Infant Pigeon (or the Baby Orangutan) Phenomenon. Some things are just so ugly that they’re cute. I believe that at heart, the Goth costume is donned with secret faith in a similar tacit principle: that they’re so hellishly unsexy that they’re…sexy.

It gets worse – worse on every level, as I witnessed last week. Her thin dyed-black hair was pulled into two pigtail braids, and her pale scalp seemed to well up through the part of her hair. Now, I’m not going to criticize this woman for having the body of the Michelin Tire Man – I am no paragon of slenderness myself. But in this case, deep blue elastic jeans skin-tight through the ankles only serve to emphasize a laborious friction from crotch to knee, with a little space gained between the pillowy calves.

My uncharitable musings on this young woman are justified: her arms dangled from a voluminous black t-shirt which read, “I don’t have a f*cking attitude, you stupid motherf*cker”. Well, neither do I, lady, until someone with your wardrobe comes along.



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  1. Fabulous description of outfits. Of course I could do without all the foul t-shirt references, but they serve to make your point. I don’t mind taking credit for all your favorite t-shirts. The next one will say, “Watch out, or I’m going to put you in my blog.”

  2. I just want to know why leggings (complete with leopard or checkered prints) are back in style…didn’t we all spend the last two decades making fun of the 80s?

    LOL, your mom’s comment is funny-you definitely need a t-shirt that says that!

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