I love Paris. The cafes, the culture, the art, the romance, I could go on all day. But I don’t love Paris as in ‘I heart Paris’ on the front of a tacky t-shirt. Apparently, though, I’m alone in this sentiment if I’m to go by the rail of t-shirts I’ve just seen at in the local retail store. And it’s not just Paris, I’m also not a student at various colleges mostly on another continent, I’m not Superman or sexy chic and no, the Leprechauns didn’t make me do it. I’m not ‘with stupid’ and I don’t think you should ‘save the trees, eat a beaver.’ Not eating beavers isn’t a vegetarian issue, it’s more that I’m really not convinced beavers have been all that instrumental in the demise of trees. But, oh of course, double meaning. I’m on the floor laughing. Not.
Now why people go around wearing the most ridiculous things written on t-shirts is beyond me. I can’t say I’m not guilty myself. When I was ten years old the local cheapo clothes store were selling a range of t-shirts with slogans. I can only remember two of them: the one that I wanted and the one that I got. I wanted the one with the little kid beside a big shaggy dog that read ‘nobody loves me.’ I got the one with a precocious looking girl waving a tennis racket asking ‘anyone for tennis?’ I got into trouble for not wearing it after hounding my mother to buy me a slogan t-shirt. But even back then, I was loathe to sport a slogan I couldn’t relate to. To this day I’ve never played tennis, but as for ‘nobody loves me’, I still feel an affinity to that statement and am bitter that I wasn’t bought the t-shirt.
The people I worry about most are those who wear t-shirts with funny slogans: Jesus is coming. Look busy!’ I mean, what are they getting at? Is it that they want to entertain others, or do they want others to find them entertaining? Perhaps they just want to read their own t-shirts all the time and make themselves laugh. Then there’s the political ‘stop whaling’ stuff, as if reading someone’s t-shirt is going to make me start thinking about the wrongs of whaling instead of what a wally they look like. I’ll leave out quotes from my favourite writers covered in other peoples sweat and we won’t mention all the variations of the word coca cola, which probably belong to the ‘oh, so hilarious’ category.
I’m not bitter that none of the slogan t-shirts come in my size; theyare mostly made for waifs. So my most recent addition to the t-shirt department is a boring navy blue t-shirt, the only writing it offers is a little label on the inside with the unmentionable size written on it. No, I’m not bitter; I just think that slogans are meant for car bumper stickers and fridge magnets. Nowhere else. Not even the slogan that I saw while on holidays in Spain. It was written on a scroll and read: ‘the only woman I’ve ever loved was another man’s wife, my mum.’ Unfortunately it wasn’t a t-shirt; it was tattooed onto a man’s lower arm. I just don’t get it…