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Eddie Adelman from Belfast is a writer.
Rumor has it that clothes make the man. For some reason, I never received this memo. I was supposed to be out of the office that day.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always seen clothing, at best, as a requirement to stay warm, and at worst, a necessary evil.
A fashion statement for me is to wear the first shirt I take out of the dryer. Green. Red. Blue. As long as it’s dry, I’m good to go.
My aversion to clothes dates back to my childhood. As a child, I had skin allergies to certain woolen materials like Darth Vader.
During my bar mitzvah, I actually wore long underpants under the costume, so I wouldn’t want to scratch and squirm for three hours as I pondered life’s big questions. Is there really a God? And if so, is it responsible for acne?
Throughout high school, clothes were very important. The fashionista classmates ruled with an iron fist. The punishment for carrying a hand of an older brother was quick and brutal for sitting alone at lunch. Ah, the horror.
But then the Roaring Sixties kicked in and came to my rescue. Clothes were no longer a measure of your worth. And for some (including girls) putting on clothes has become optional. For a curious young boy like me, that was the answer to my prayers.
But all good things must end.
In the mid-1970s, order was restored. Fashion designers have once again taken the lead. But at what cost ? Remember the casual outfits, wide collars, mules and gold chains? I try not to. When the evolution of Homo sapiens is finally recorded, the 1970s will probably not do most.
Now that might get me in trouble, but maybe my Y chromosome has something to do with my aversion to clothes.
In the 80’s I was living with my girlfriend and we decided to take a trip to Jamaica for a winter vacation. So we were in the room to pack our bags. My suitcase on one side of the bed. His suitcase on the other.
I went through my usual routine of randomly throwing shirts, shorts, and socks into the suitcase. At one point my girlfriend looked up and asked me what I was doing. The conversation went as follows:
What are you doing?
What do I do? I pack my bags.
You mean, you don’t make outfits?
And that’s where the bulb came on. I finally realized that men and women really come from different planets.
My number one concern when packing was finding clothes that weren’t torn. Their match wasn’t even in my top 10.
Not so much with my girlfriend. That being said, Long live the difference.
By the way, it was a shattering vacation. However, I’m sure other tourists looked at us and thought, just look at her clothes. What is she doing with him? She could do so much better.
For most of my working life, I chose a job that didn’t require clothes for me. For 24 years, I owned a record store in Portland and dressed as I wanted.
Even better? The store only opened at 10 a.m. I could sleep as late as I wanted. Slob and lazy? Someone is pinching me.
And as you can guess, I hate (I hate, I’m telling you!) Buying clothes. If I find a shirt I like, buy five in different colors, before heading to the food court to reward myself for being so brave.
Just so you don’t get me wrong, I own a sports tie and jacket for weddings, funerals and, yes, bar mitzvahs. But when I put them on, I look more like an accused in a criminal trial who has just been told to put on a coat and tie.
But, fortunately, no long underwear.
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