There’s only one thing in life that causes men to feel revulsion to the same degree of discomfort any member of the fairer sex experiences being within earshot of any utterance of the word ‘moist’.
It’s the subject of rapidly spiralling teenage-grade Chinese whispers – the kind of rumour swirling that can make a young man shiver with fear. A persistent terror of cold sweats amidst nights of tossing and turning; life suddenly becomes a quest to prove ones adequacy in a frozen and hostile world of presumption. The quest for adequate coverage is not just a struggle faced by Donald Trump’s wig.
In a Tinder-full world of first impressions and gossip-filled instant messaging, it’s not actually about whether a hairline has decided to prematurely retreat backward on one’s skull – it’s about the appearance that is has. Any rumor of a receding appendage is enough to ruin a reputation, so imagine finding a surprisingly small dose of reality when you do actually look down.
What do you do? Pull it until it stretches to a wilted imitation of what it once was? Order a specialised product from Sweden and attempt implement a rigorous restorative regime? Touch an orb with prominent Arab leaders and beg a deity to restore it’s former glory? But it’s too late – the surface area has shrunken faster than the Antarctic ice cap, and no amount of burning fossil fuel is going to get you out of this melting pot of scorn and ridicule.
You simply have to own it.
Embrace the new world order, and keep your hands held high in the air like you’re me at 20 and drunk in some Valley nightclub without any fashion sense or ability to fit in whatsoever, because that’s right friend – your goddamn T-Shirt has become a wilted grape and vanished vertically to the point where it sits on or above your belt line.
As the old saying goes, ‘If the shoe fits…’, which I guess can be supplemented with ‘…then it doesn’t matter if your shirt doesn’t’.
Now you get to spend your day or night like some sort of emasculated mess of a man, with your beer-ravaged stomach and ape-like hair coverage out there in slivers for the whole god damn world to see. God forbid you should move your arms around in some sort of effort to execute being a human either; the recently vanquished inch from the bottom of your previously satisfactory clothing item has simply become an invisible straight-jacket. You’re a show-er, not a grower now.
The straight-jacket shirt is a fitting metaphor for men’s fashion actually – restricted flexibility in an already limited field of options. We only have so many options for outfits, and they basically all involve t-shirts. As a fan of a good printed shirt, I can attest to the heartbreak of a fallen option.
Some say mans penchant for time-saving dryer use is responsible; others say it’s just the affect of washing on the various fabrics of woven wonderment. But anecdotally, it matters not which method of drying you use – some of your favourite T’s are just destined to retreat the second they come off the rack. As with all clothing, price is not indicative of quality – there is no silver thread of reassurance that your glorious Bad Boy Records shirt won’t immediately recede by one size after being washed. Can’t stop, won’t stop (washing).
The short and wide of it is, shrinkage is real and unavoidable. The tears of men everywhere increase in frequency as much as the sightings of otherwise generally covered up sections of torso. There is no cure. There is no prevention. The best you can do is look away, and let a man keep his dignity in this trying time of stubborn wardrobe choices.
It’s not that much of a stretch.