Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm with Bipolar

"Bitchy is My Middle Name."

"Shopping is My Aerobics."

"I Stole Your Boyfriend."

"Whip Me, Beat Me, But Don't Send Me Flowers."

We've all seen them. Advertisements for the self -- or what's left of it. Billboards for people too lazy to be exhibitionists. Trash talking for Generation Whatever.

The question of why people wear such provocatively inane slogans on their chests always has fascinated me. When you ask a young woman, say, why she is wearing a T-shirt that reads, "New York's #1 Slut," and ask her to consider the possibility that such a declaration at the least will garner public disapproval and most likely will attract unwanted, predominantly male, attention, she either will plead innocence, dismiss the risk, or go into denial.

[A digression: Who decides that somebody is New York's #1 slut or "America's #1 Dad"? Which governing body is doing all this ranking? What criteria do they use? Maybe it's a secret cabal like the Trilateral Commission.

"O.K., Mr. Kissinger, we've decided that the U.S. is going to conduct air strikes on Iran, and that we're going to devalue Venezuela's currency. Next order of business: Who is New York's #1 Slut?"

And what if two men meet in a bar and they're wearing the exact same T-shirt. You know how competitive men are. "Hey, asshole, let's get one thing straight: I'm America's #1 Dad!" It could get ugly.]

Right now, you could say that these T-shirts are crude, graphic Freudian slips, messages from the unconscious (which is the only kind of conscious many of these people apparently have).

But if people feel no compunction about having their T-shirts reveal tawdry predilections or brag vaingloriously, why not let them take it a step further and bare their deepest, darkest secrets on their breasts?

Think about it: It would allow these people to feel unburdened of guilt and shame, while at the same time providing a kind of public service announcement.

I mean, I'd certainly think twice about approaching a woman whose T-shirt read "Caution: Bipolar." Or, "Can't Get Over My Ex is My Middle Name."

Here are some other "truth shirts" you might see if my idea catches on:

"America's #1 Deadbeat Dad"

"Indicted, But I Had a Smart Lawyer"

"I've Never Gotten Over Not Being Breast Fed"

"Remember Herpes?"

"I Brake for Transsexuals"

"I Used to Hate Myself. Then I Went into Therapy. Now I Hate Men."

"I Married a Plushie."

"STOP STARING AT ME!"

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