My daughter pointed to a T Shirt at a shop window in our neighborhood. It had the message “ Everyone reads my blog” printed across it.
“Come on mummy you should buy it” she urged. When I laughingly refused saying that it would actually be a lie if I wore it as only a few people read my blogs, my husband pitched in saying that he could get the manufacturer to personalize it with my blog URL. I was horrified at the image of being a walking advertisement for the “Chronicles…” I would rather die than draw attention to myself in that way.
But I guess I belong to the Jurassic age. The aim of most people today is draw as much attention to themselves as they can. Wearing T shirts with these funny and sometimes obscene messages is only one way of doing it. And believe me, some of the messages on T shirts can be pretty outrageous! They are all the more hilarious if the personality of the wearer does not match the message. One wonders how the T shirt got on that person.
Let me share some of the messages that have caught my attention.
There is an extremely fat man who jogs in the area where I go for my morning walk. I once saw him wearing a T shirt that had the message “ Kiss me” splashed across it. A very friendly man, he often waves out at fellow walkers. Unfortunately people didn’t wave back on that fateful morning. I saw all the aunties’ give him that disapproving look while the wannabe aunties like me turned their faces away lest they burst out laughing.
Then there is a watchman in the same area who gets off duty when I complete my first round. One can see him get on a cycle heading back home. I saw him once pedal away in a T shirt that had the message “Trust me, I am a virgin”!!! Poor chap. I am sure it was a hand me down from some employer. It looked weird on a fifty something man like him who had coordinated it with a blue checked lungi!
My daughter told me about a beggar she had seen near out house wearing a T shirt with the words “Sorry girls. I only date models” printed across it. She was so amused that she came back home immediately and wanted me to come with her to see this sight. I guess the beggar must have got this as part of his alms. Of course one cannot discount the fact that he may have become a beggar because he was dating models.
I have seen more scandalous messages than these at odd places and on odd people. Some of them are so scandalous that we notice them no matter what we are doing. We were once running at Nizamuddin station in Delhi trying to board a train to Haridwar when we saw what I think is THE MOST SCANDALOUS message on a T shirt of all times. It read “ The more hair you lose the more h—d you get”. The man wearing it was your average middle class train traveler like us with loads of luggage, wife, kids etc. I am sure he never realized what that message on his T Shirt meant. When we finally boarded the train, the first thing that my husband and I mentioned to each other after catching our breaths was “Did you see the guy in that T shirt”? The daughter was very curious to know which “guy” which T shirt. She was too young to know what that message meant though we would not have put it past her to read it aloud and ask us the meaning in public. Thankfully, Mr. T.Shirt was not on our train.
T shirts with messages find their way into our wardrobe through various means- there are those which we get as part of school/ college reunions or some company event but I am not sure how T shirts with such outrageous messages get sold. I sometimes wonder whether people buy such T shirts on an impulse for fun and then get cold feet passing them on to watchmen, dads, uncles or beggars? Whatever, the T shirt does get the attention it deserves and sometimes because the personality of the wearer is so opposite to the message!
I think T Shirt messaging is one of the newer art forms that is developing. It is a rather fun thing though few would acknowledge noticing a scandalous message. Some probably don’t notice it at all. For them it is just some print on the front. I guess it will take on new dimensions once the messaging moves on to local language.
But I am sure you will agree with me when I say that it is definitely a way of getting people’s attention.. making you literally “stand out in a crowd”. Something that many aspire for.