Does my bum look big in this? By Barry Hill I was recently asked how I pick my clothes in the morning. A lot of the time it is by memory, but I do regularly use the tried and tested ‘fingers crossed that this goes with this’ method. The memory thing works ok when the garment is distinctive, like my favourite Weird Fish top that has a very distinctive weave, although I must confess that I can’t remember what colour it is so that one also crosses over into the ‘fingers crossed’ category. Of late, I’ve also started to adopt the ‘I don’t give a shit as long as I’m warm/cool enough and comfortable’ method of picking my clothes, and I’m sure I’ll progress from there to the ‘Whatever I grab first’ method given half a chance. There are some mornings when I envy the trapist monks who only have sack cloth to wear, or the director Alfred Hitchcock who only had dark suit, dark tie and white shirts in his wardrobe when he had a film on the go. His reasoning was that he didn’t want to get distracted by having to choose his clothes in a morning. I like his thinking. Even without a film on the go, it can be a right royal pain in the backside trying to choose what to wear when you can’t see what you have to wear. It's not too bad for every day. I have jeans and fleecy tops in a variety of colours that I don’t really need to bother about that fit the Hitchcock theory nicely. The problem arises when I either want to dress right down or dress up. Dressing down means a t-shirt. Now, I’ll let you into my head for a short while. It’s perhaps a little scary, but here goes. I was thinking about the word t-shirt and wondered if I should write it here with a capital ‘T’. I assume the use of this letter has something to do with the shape of the garment and using a lower case ’t’ would make for a very odd shaped shirt, possibly designed for a one-armed man with a bum-bag on his hip. However, somehow recalling my grammar school English teacher Mr Eastwood (with the unimaginative nickname of ‘Clint’), then I got to thinking about grammar and wondered if ‘T-shirt’ is a proper noun, warranting an initial capital. Intellectual snobbery taking the higher ground to visuals (I am blind after all…. And a self-confessed intellectual snob) I decided that it wasn’t a proper noun and so I am forced to ignore the imagery that the name must have originally been based on and correct for grammar. One-armed man it is then. I’m not always thinking like this, but it is often enough to have to fight it in my head, and maybe something I need to talk to a shrink about one day. Back to the story. What’s the issue with the T-shirt? You’d think that it wouldn’t matter which one I wore with shorts or jeans. Well, I think it would matter if I wore the t-shirt out and about that I wore to bed a few nights ago. I thought it was a little snug, but I didn’t notice the diamantes around the neck line until the morning. It was one of Angie’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not normally a cross-dresser, it’s just that I can’t always tell who’s t-shirts I am putting in my drawer and once it’s in my drawer then, perhaps according to Schrödinger’s law, it must be my t-shirt. Well, I have to blame someone and who better than the hyperthetical cat murdering Schrödinger? It would also be inappropriate to wear my ‘If I throw this stick will you fetch it?’ T-shirt when I’m out with my mum who walks with a walking stick. I don’t think the FCUK one would go down too well in polite company ignorant of the acronym for French Connection United Kingdom either. Plus, apparently, some of my T-shirts are old. Surely they are only old when there’s more than the usual four holes or the neck line becomes baggier than the waist. No, apparently, when they start to become transparent or the stains start to look like a Rorschach ink blot test, then they are also old. As for dressing up, that means shirt and trousers. There’s not much distinction in my collection with these garments. Look at me – Collection. You’d think I had a walk-in wardrobe full of them segregated for each season. Actually, I do have a lot of shirts and they are segregated into short and long sleeves. Well, what else do you buy a middle aged man for birthday/Xmas (other than a new iPhone if you really must) but a shirt? Trousers are also pretty Ubiquitous – cotton, two legs, three pockets – but they too come in a variety of colours. It’s that colour thing that stumps me. Well, it does until I get out my trusty colour detector gadget. Yup, I have a gadget that, as it says on the tin, detects colours. Thing is, if I believed what this gadget said I would think that all my clothes are either dark grey purple or light grey. Did I call it trusty? Hmmm…. That’s trusty as in as far as I would trust a front bench minister with my disability benefit claim. I know it can do other colours as my forehead is orange and my dog is green, but it seems fixated on dark grey purple or light grey. When I want to wear a shirt that doesn’t clash with my burgundy trousers (yes, I’ve got some burgundy coloured trousers, what of it?), I have to ask my talking mirror, Angie. Mirror mirror on the wall who’s wearing the coolest shirt of them all? I do regularly ask her if what I’m wearing looks ok. Having to do so, I empathise with the gripe women have when asking their beloved if they look ok in this and that because it’s rare that I get any comment other than, “Yeah, you look fine.” Granted, this may be accurate but well, actually, my love, I was trying for a different look to ‘fine’, I was trying for something that says ‘Intellectual but approachable’ today as the ‘Slightly aloof but happy to discuss the weather’ look that I was going for yesterday failed miserably. On occasion, I do like to test my partner by putting something on inside out. And, because I’m stubborn, if she doesn’t notice, I’ll wear it inside out all day just to prove a point, even if I’m going out. So, when you notice that I’ve got my T-shirt on inside out, please don’t take offence when I turn it the right way around and it says FCUK.


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