Over the years we, as a species, have developed a very interesting relationship with our clothes. They are no longer just the outer shell we adopt against the elements – our clothes have, in fact, become the ambassadors of our selves to the world at large.
They inform the world of everything from our underlying culture to our social strata, and even our beliefs. More often than not, they tell the story of where we have been, where we are going, as well as where we belong.
Which is why it is very puzzling that my wife is completely unaware of a fundamental and pernicious problem facing men with regards to fashion. In essence, there is no worse feeling in the world than discovering that someone, especially someone you don’t particularly like, has purchased and is wearing an exact copy of your favourite shirt.
I know, right?!
Whenever that happens it’s a very simple flowchart:
Now, before you roll your eyes at how this seems childish and inane, consider this – men and women have very different body types.
With men, despite what hipster fashion gurus would have you believe, there are only two variants of ONE basic body type: Buff and Bulky. All clothing manufacturers know this, and it is a very big factor in why there are extremely limited fashion options for men.
I, myself, belong to the latter, and I make no apologies for that. Fortunately, if you are buff, you tend to also look good in clothes that the bulky man looks good in.
And, since bulky dudes tend to spend less on clothes because they don’t look good in everything, fashion tends to focus on chasing the dollars of the buff men who carry most items off well. It’s simple economics. But actually, come to think of it, even the buff blokes get screwed over because ‘fashion design’ for men is lazier than a sloth suffering from heatstroke since men’s fashion, even at its best, is pretty basic and uninspiring.
Hence, given this dismal state of male fashion, the odds of finding an article of clothing that will look amazing on a fat fellow with a less than optimal fat to body ratio are pretty slim.
So, when a man actually finds a shirt or look that works on him, let me tell you that it’s a big deal and something a man wants to hoard all for himself. But, when some random asshat turns up wearing the same shirt as him, well that’s a very major blow to the male ego indeed.
Simple mental exercise: When you see two guys who know each other wearing the same shirt, what do you think? That’s right … you assume they are either best friends, part of a team or worse, freaks in a bizarre cult. But what might be worse than all of that? Well, you might assume that one of them is a copycat! The shame! In any respect, none of these outcomes is particularly palatable.
So, when a man encounters this problem he only has two real options-:
1) He continues wearing said shirt and risks having this unsavoury situation repeat itself every time he and the other dude who owns the same shirt turn up to the same social setting wearing the dreaded copycat shirt; or (more likely)
2) He stops wearing it completely to avoid dealing with the idiot savants in his social circle who apparently feel the need to point out that he ‘fashion matches’ with the other dude all the time. All. The. TIME.
Now, I am under no illusions that ANYTHING I own isn’t mass produced, so at any given time there’s probably going to be several thousand people wearing the same article of clothing. The thing is, I don’t know any of these other fools, so I really couldn’t care less if they might be questionable to the same or potentially greater magnitude than the dude with MY shirt in MY room.
But, since this type of cursed scenario happens all the time, if you were to encounter someone you don’t know with the same shirt as you in a mutual social setting, there are protocols to follow. In fact, the whole encounter would go down something sheepish like this -:
You exchange pleasantries (“Cool shirt, bro”), you make up a polite lie about the shirt’s origins (“Thanks, my wife/girlfriend/mom got it for me”), you tip your top hat to each other like gentlemen, and endeavour to not stand within 20 feet of each other thereafter. This. Is. Known.
These days, what makes it even worse is that if there are ANY public photos of you and that dude wearing the same shirt, some moron of a mutual friend is bound to think it cute to tag the both of you on social media. This then enables your other moronic friends to continue making more stupid comments in cyberspace so that the whole godforsaken scenario lives on the internet…FOREVER.
And, as if to add insult to injury, you’ll find that Facebook is committed to dredging up such old photos of yours and displaying them like some sort of macabre greatest hits reel to humiliate you with the situation over and over again.
You know what’s the worst thing to come from all of this?
You can’t even go ultra spartan safely and don a plain solid coloured T-shirt with jeans these days because then you either look like the goddamned wait staff or part of the same fly-by-night performance art troupe if ANYONE else around you is wearing a similar article of clothing. Can’t win. #FML #akubenciorang
Feature image from chummytees.com