Friday, June 09, 2006

Because I know the world is clamoring to hear about my shirt-buying travails...

Today I went down to the department store to buy some new dress shirts. It was horrible. For most people, picking out clothes is a pleasant, diverting hobby. Not for me, though. For me, it’s a process that involves little other than confusion, frustration and disappointment. You see, the American apparel industry has decided that my body is too freakish and rare to mass-produce garments for. I think this is weird. After all, I’m five-foot-nine inches tall and I weigh about 165 pounds. I’m hardly a medical oddity. Yet my 31-inch waist is, it seems, far far far too dainty for the U.S. pant cartel. Even in more-or-less upscale places, you’ll plunge through lavish racks full of 38-waisters before happening on the lonely, forlorn, battered pair of 31s that every store stocks in order to mock me for not being more girthful.

Shirts are, like, ten times worse. I’ve got a fairly normal chest, it’s true, but it’s broad and–the final insult–topped off by a rather meaty neck. Because of this, I’m forced to wear the notoriously obscure 16 1/2 32/33 size. To make matters worse, these shirts seem to come in two lengths and two lengths only: (a) way too big for me, and (b) clipper ship main sail. So, when I’m finished tucking them in, oftentimes you can see the bottom edge poking out my pant cuff. Because of this, I can never have a simple, hassle-free trip to the store. No, I must hunt and hunt and hunt until I finally turn up a shirt that:

—Will not choke me to death if I choose to fasten the top button
—Will not have giant bat wings of fabric gathered under the arms
—Does not have a pattern that makes me look like a fratboy

There are such shirts, of course. I usually find them shortly after they’ve announced that Marshall Fields will be closing in ten minutes so would Kevin the Clueless Bastard stop rooting around the racks for Christ’s sake...I won’t even hear all that business, though. I will be gazing upon my long-sought prize. This shirt will fill my heart with joy to look upon and it will—invariably—cost somewhere in the low three digits. Now, a true St. Paul boy, no matter how far he’s roamed, cannot just lay down that kind of money for one shirt, no matter how rare, no matter how necessary. Oh, he can buy it–-no one doubts that—but first he must hem and haw and, if only for a perverted moment, consider giving up the whole charade and just going to J.C. Penny’s. But the latent metrosexual in me will not allow me to do that. No, I’ll buy the fucking shirt and go home filled with resentment. Resentment that isn’t aimed at the shirt per se, but is more a general feeling towards the entire world.

I doubt that the global face of Kevin, the fragrance, has these issues...