The New Vintage

Clothing options had dwindled to a dangerous one or two work shirts. I’ve never been a clothes horse, but it had gotten ridiculous. “Didn’t you wear that shirt yesterday?” had become a common question at work. Please note that I always washed shirts between wearings, so the answer was always, “No, it was… the day before yesterday… probably.”

I’d been on a hunt for new shirts for a long damn while, but it seems like most of humanity changed shape slightly over the years, making it impossible for me to find shirts that fit. (I assume it was everyone else who changed and not me, because there wasn’t a rash of shirtlessness on the streets as far as I could tell.) Nothing in the XL range fit me, and I refused to move up to XXL, even though my body has been swelling this past decade.

This body-swelling is why I’d been moving up in clothing sizes for a few years now, but a while back I declared no more! I would refuse to go up in any more sizes! I’d either have to get my manboobs under control or just wear old, worn out shirts; I’d either have to get my gut in check or wear too-tight jeans that hurt me physically as well as emotionally!

Last week it got critical when I bent my arms and tore holes in the elbows of one of my three “almost-fitting” shirts Hulk-style. Another shirt had had a similar fate not long ago. It was a near-panic moment, and a trip to the store was necessary. I’m not comfortable going topless at a beach, let alone at work.

So… shopping. It’s a nightmare for me. Everything is too expensive, even on the sales racks. The styles seem to have left me behind in the late 90s. And, as stated previously, nothing ever fits — at least in the size I’m willing to buy. I felt like Phillip Seymor Hoffman’s character trying on fine Italian shirts with Marky Mark and Dr. Steve Brule. (That depressing tug over the gut breaks my heart every time.) My long-suffering ladyfriend went with me to help me out, but her spirits were quickly crushed by my crushed spirits, as is often the case.

Though the shirt situation was dire, I declared shopping a waste of time and was about to leave when she insisted upon one more store…

And, would you believe it? Success! Right to the sales racks, and there were shirts she liked and I kinda liked, so I was willing to try them on. They were “vintage fit,” which in my day meant, “for skinny people,” but something has happened as the years ticked by! Apparently, vintage had gone from slender waifs to barrel-chested husky dudes! This is why no other shirts fit me! Vintage is the new normal, so now normal is vintage!

It was a happy time. My moobs and gut fit in the shirt well, and it was were cheap, so I got another in a different color, too. What a relief. No need to go skins to my coworkers’ shirts. XL vintage! Who’d a thunk it? Kinda felt okay.

Then, this morning, I cut the tag off of one of my new shirts and saw… XXL. Son of a bitch. How had I missed that? Here I was all excited that I fit into XL and amused that my fat size was now Vintage, and… the dreaded two X’s.

Did my ladyfriend see this and sneak it by me in desparation and fear I’d continue down this shirt-destroying path? Or will she be as surprised as me when I whine to her about it after work today? Yeah, the shirts fit, but I’d sworn to not go this route. This way lies me just eating more and more until all I can fit into are the pleated jeans and Cosby sweaters at the big ‘n tall stores! (Why, big ‘n tall? Why? We big fellas like cool clothes, too.)

So, all my theories about Vintage being the new normal and all that shit… probably not. I just accidentally went up in size. Like I’d promised myself I wouldn’t. It’s better than wearing post-Hulk-out shirts at work, but still… XXL. Dammit.

I guess that makes this morning’s breakfast burrito okay, though… gotta fill out that extra “X” now… XXXL, I’ll see you in a couple years!