Monday, April 14, 2008

COLUMN: Clothes

If there's one thing out there that I tend not to give a hoot about, it is -- as my friends can likely attest -- fashion. On any given day, my wardrobe usually consists of a funny t-shirt, khaki pants, and a pair of cheap Vans. If it's a work day, I'll have an ugly polo or sweater temporarily hiding the funny t-shirt o' the day. And if you catch me on a particularly high-fashion day, maybe -- just maybe -- I'll have on my Greek fisherman's cap.

Long ago, I realized that my brain simply isn't in tune with fashion sensibilities. I get a kick out of watching that show "Project Runway" -- the kid who won this season is a show unto himself -- but I've NEVER understood it. Every episode builds to the climactic runway show, where the wanna-be designers parade their outfits down the catwalk to the assorted ooh's and eww's of the judges.

And I can never tell the difference. An outfit can stroll by that I think looks fairly decent, and then you'll see Heidi Klum making a concentrated effort to restrain her gag reflex. I've just never taken much stock into what people are wearing. God forbid I ever get robbed one day:

"Sir, can you describe the assailant? What was he wearing?"
"Umm... I'm pretty sure... yes, I'm positive that he was wearing clothes."

The truth is, you could safely come up to me dressed as a rutabega and I probably wouldn't take note of it. My brain is simply not programmed to notice these sorts of things. The only way you could get me to remember your outfit is if you forget to wear it altogether. Naked people I remember well.

So naturally, me and clothes shopping don't get along. I'm not a fan whatsoever, and when I DO have to do it, I want to bring home enough clothes that I don't have to do it again for a really long time. Lately, though, I've been running into a problem.

That problem? My wallet. You would think that my problem would entail my wallet being too empty to shop for clothes. Au contraire. The problem is that my wallet is too full. Acquaintances from decades past, enough insurance cards to provide medical coverage to most of the Quad Cities, little slips of paper with phone numbers that may or may not be of crucial importantance -- my wallet is the centrifuge of my life.

The downside, though, it that it does bad things to pants. In the course of the past month, I have managed to put holes in the rumps of no fewer than three pair of older khakis, all due to the strain of trying to cram a hard drive full of information into my back pocket.

There's only one thing I hate more than clothes shopping, and that's laundry. Less hole-free clothes = more trips to the laundry. More laundry = more wear and tear on my shrinking pants collection. It was a losing cycle, and I had to admit that it was time to (gulp) shop.

One place exists that caters to the fashion ignorants of the world. A store where everything is so fashion-free that it's a safety zone for shopping idiots like me. A store where everything pretty much matches everything else. In fairness, I won't say the name of this store in print -- let's just say that it rhymes with Old Gravy.

Now, I won't give Old Gravy much grief, because it truly is a Godsend. Admit it, the store is so generic that it might as well have a blue and white sign that just says "CLOTHES" in front of it. And I'm perfectly okay with that. I'm all in favor of a store that lets you leap in, buy some cheap pants, and leap out uninterrupted and with sanity intact.

Only one problem, it turns out. It appears that I am now OFFICIALLY a walking freakshow, as I now require a pant size that's an endangered species in and of itself. I know I'm an out-of-shape, roly-poly mess, but I didn't quite think that I was the ONLY out-of-shape roly poly mess in the universe. Apparantly I am, as my pant size was practically non-existant in the racks of Old Gravy.

In fact, I went through every stupid pair of khakis the store had and discovered exactly SIX pair my size, and I bought the lot. Of those six, four of them actually fit when I got home. I know, I know. Shoulda tried 'em on at the store, stupid. But I can't wrap my head around the fact that a waist size should be a waist size should be a waist size, right? It's a measurement, it shouldn't be open to debate. Yet it appears that those little waist numbers mean a vast variety of things in the language of Old Gravy.

Still, I made do, and even picked up some more polos and sweaters to cover up my burgeoning mid-section as best possible. Maybe my two non-fitting pants will be a catalyst to get off the couch and shed some of this belly. And these cargo pants even look big enough to hold the overweight cargo I call a wallet, so maybe they'll last a while. Sadly, though, my word limit for the week has reached its end, which means I can no longer use this column as an excuse to avoid doing laundry. Wish me luck.

No comments: