singling out t-shirts

B has a lot of t-shirts, his attire of choice. Over the years he has owned a variety of them, his favorites becoming shabby and threadbare. Periodically, we go through his dresser to remove the most frayed, decrepit, holey and stained, always accompanied with a chorus of “What’s wrong with that one? I don’t see the problem. I can wear that when I’m working around the house.” My duet sings in reply, “You already have 50 work-around-the-house shirts, and still most of the time you choose to work around the house shirtless.” (That’s a fact, not a complaint.)

Eventually we hold a ceremony to severe the bizarre man/t-shirt attachment, and the shirt is surrendered. And over the next few weeks during the customary mourning period, there will be a tear or two welling up in his eyes and a new “favorite” worn almost everyday. I think he wears the same socks, too, in honor of the fallen.

Just the other day, I saw B rolling–instead of folding–his t shirts to fit all of them into his dresser. I wondered if we needed to light the incense and dust off the ceremonial masks. Surprisingly, no. But, somehow a conversation started about some of our old t-shirts, ones that haven’t been seen or worn in, I guess, years.

Me: “What about Eskimo Joe?”

B: “Don’t have him.”

Me: “Me neither.” (We had matching shirts, a gift from my brother.)

B: “I noticed I got back Superman.” (I had borrowed it from him last summer, but now my pregnant belly is too big to wear it well.)

Me: “I take it back in the fall after the baby is born.”

(pause)

Me: “What about Singled Out.”

B: “No, I gave that one away.”

Then suddenly I became very sad. You might remember the MTV game show, Singled Out that featured 50 men and women competing for a date with a contestant of the opposite sex. We watched it when we were first married, and I chewed about 20 packs of Hubba Bubba Bubblegum to get that shirt for B, who, every time he wore it, told people that’s how we met. He won me on a game show. His story always made me giggle.

No more Singled Out. I’m not sure what message he’s sending with that, but I think I’m going to take back Superman now.