Given the relatively obvious design of shirts, maybe you’d think that I’d be able to put them on frontwards at least 50% of the time. I’m here to tell you today, you’re wrong. In fact, I can easily go two, three weeks without putting a t-shirt on right the first time. “Well, at least you get it right the second time,” you might be thinking. Nope, just like flipping a quarter, my odds don’t change from one application to the next. Why am I like this? What’s wrong with me? Is it nature or nurture?
I can only base my own guesses on what other people have told me. As an undergrad, a woman in my dorm said, for example, she would never date me because I did not have a hairy chest, and she would only date men with hairy chests. I hadn’t asked or intended to ask her out, but you can imagine at this point, I desperately wanted to. The only thing I could think to do was grow my bangs very long and hope that would be close enough. With my locks shimmering tucked into the neckband, I asked Gina if she'd like to get a pizza with me. She said, “No. That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard.” Until then, I guess I just assumed that everybody likes pizza.
What’s wrong with me? Other possibilities? I blame Pappap. For instance: the first time I came home from college with a beard, Pappap raised his eyebrows and told me about the first time he came home from the Navy with a beard. He said, “I walked in the front door, and my old man was taking a nap on the couch. He opened one eye and said, ‘What the hell is that?’ So I said, ‘It’s a goattee.’ The old man said, ‘Yeah, I tried to grow a beard once. It looked like shit, too.’”
This, of course, was my first sophomore year of college. Meanwhile, I told Angelo that I really liked his beard and wished that I could grow a beard like his. He said, “Why don’t you grow one?”
I said, “I can’t grow a beard.”
He said, “Well, not with that attitude. You’ve gotta really want it.”
As you can imagine, time went by. I did some other things: dropped out of college, learned to snowboard, had a really nice cup of coffee at a Country Fair of all places. Clearly, it has been an eventful decade and a half. The good news is: I finally have a hairy chest. The really good news is: it’s because my beard is officially that long. (How about that pizza now, Gina?)
In fact, when traci and I went back-to-school shopping, she picked teaching shirts based on how well they showed off my beard. I'm in vogue, to be sure, but such clothing has resulted in my many awkward questions such as, “Does this V-back make my shoulders look narrow?”
Well? What do you think?