Okay this is just a small rabbit hole I went down last week, another in a line of inexplicable behavior patterns. I was reading a book by a thru-hiker and she was waxing poetic about a particular Bob Marley t-shirt she was given. Thru hikers carry very little clothing on their treks, so the three shirts you are carrying take on some importance. So I stood back and examined what t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on them, concert shirts, advertising, souvenir, gift, or experience shirts MEAN in modern American society.
Over the decades I have HAD a few t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on them that I was very fond of, but by this point in my life, I had frittered them away by wearing them and washing them and wearing them out. Personally i don’t LIKE having things printed ON My tits. But I NOW see that having a t-shirt with something on it, is appropriate attire for certain occasions, usually something laborious and casual: hiking, moving boxes, cleaning attics, outdoor group activities like sports, or river cleanups etc…now i have participated in all of these things and because I choose my clothes for their utility and life expectancy, my chosen shirt has nearly always been a solid color thick t-shirt, a navy pocket free Champion – which says NOTHING about me.
Do I WANT my chest to say something? What do i want it to say? since I have avoided collecting ‘participation’ shirts, even so far as taken them when proffered and donating them on the way home. I had nothing ‘personal’ to express. I WISH I still had t-shirts from concerts I attended back in the 80s and 90s but I am sure I wouldn’t fit in them if i did. I have steadfastly refused all brand labels on my clothes, even so much as removing them with seem rippers, I would be hardpressed to think of one I WOULD promote on my billboard sized boobs. I would love to have the balls to wear a Hunter Thompson or Warren Zevon’s skull themed design at 28 yes, at 52 NO, that would definitely attract unwanted attention.
So I made up some of my ‘rules’ and I started looking for a couple to add to my wardrobe. narrowing my criteria down to something an actual Mainer would wear but not a tourist. Something not too populist, but not too obscure. On ebay I found that most of the concert shirts I once owned are now ridiculously expensive, and generally not something i could afford to wear and abuse – aside from that, there about one Jillion shirts on ebay if you have the time to browse them. And the only concert shirts you will find at thrift stores are few and far between, they must all fly out the door and onto ebay within minutes, perhaps even the backdoor. By repeatedly checking I found out that if you see something you like buy it cause it won’t be there the next day. That’s why happened to the lobster and the blowfish t-shirts, i was undecided about them, until they were gone.
I eventually bought a handful to try on account – the ‘fit’ would also have to be taken into account. If I didn’t like wearing it, it would just be taking up room in the drawer so I felt test driving was called for.
Right now MY shirt of choice is this stylized MAINE shirt. One would consider it a tourist shirt, but it’s subtle and so comfortable I think i have had it on for a couple of days now. I don’t expect it to last very long if i love it to death. So far it’s the only KEEPER in the bunch though the Moose is now a favorite design. And who knows perhaps I will acquire some NEW ‘participation’ shirts as I go along.