oxymoron67: (dino head)
[personal profile] oxymoron67
For LJ Idol

Right before I started fifth grade, my mom went out clothes shopping with my sisters. When they got home, mom said that she had picked up a new outfit for school for me.

She wanted me to try it on, to see how it looked and if it fit.

So, I took the bag to my bedroom, and pulled out the clothing.

I was horrified.

The shirt was a button down shirt in dark blue, but with scenes of peasants farming silkscreened onto it. These peasants were farming in what looked like a ruined village. Seriously, there were ruined hovels in the background and random fires.

Also, the scenes weren’t all set up the same way. A few were from normal perspective; some upside down; others at odd angles.

It was awful.

The pants… the pants were worse. They were pastel plaid pants: in yellow, light green and pink. These pants were a horror show. I was amazed. I wondered who would make these pants.

I mean who thinks, “You know what would make plaid better? Pastels. Because serial killer clowns need pants, too.”

Understand, by this time, I knew I was gay. My little gay soul shriveled when I looked in the mirror after putting this outfit on.

I didn’t really have the vocabulary to describe these clothes as anything besides “terrible” back then, but, looking back on it, I can say that from the waist up, I looked like an MC Escher illustration of the Spanish Civil War and from the waist down I looked like a plaid Easter egg.

I went downstairs to show mom this … um… ensemble, and hopefully get her to return it.

No such luck. She LOVED this outfit.

“On, Sean, that shirt… the dark blue background makes it go with anything and those pants… well, you did that genealogy research project last year. Our family is part Scottish. Maybe that’s our clan tartan!”

She actually said that. I remember because it struck me as so utterly stupid.

That tartan wouldn’t even have been acceptable for a clan made up of nothing but gay men, a Clan MacGay-gor, if you will. Someone would have said, “Guys, let’s just wear Catholic schoolgirl uniform skirts. They’re more dignified.”

So, I go to the first day of school in this outfit, fully expecting loads of abuse from my classmates.

Nothing. No reaction at all. No one said a word.

At first, I was confused. I knew I looked like ass, but no one was reacting. For a short time, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I was rocking the Spanish Civil War shirt/soul-deadening pastel plaid pants combo. Then, I realized something: it wasn’t me and a bunch of well-dressed ten year olds: we all were wearing hideously ugly clothing.

See, this happened in 1977. The late 70s were a dark time in American culture. Most Americans simply forgot how to properly dress themselves.

No, seriously. If your family has photo albums, find the ones from this time period. You will see relatives in all manner of terrifying outfits. At least I have an excuse. I was a child and not really responsible.

Mom, on the other hand… let’s just say that the words “houndstooth” and “lime green” shouldn't go together.

The Spanish Civil War shirt didn’t make it to Christmas. One afternoon, out playing at recess, I tripped and fell, tearing the shirt. Well, that’s the story I told, and I’m sticking to it.

Those damned pants, on the other hand, were freaking indestructible. No matter what I tried, they endured. They didn’t tear, and mom always managed to get any stains I got into them out.

I was stuck with them for about two years. Mom would buy shirts specifically to match them. I remember one solid yellow shirt that she had me wear with those pants. As I was a pudgy kid, I looked like the sun with a pastel plaid rainbow coming out of its butt.

And still no one said anything.

Finally, about two years later, I had a growth spurt, and the pants no longer fit. Hallelujah. I assume those pants are still in one piece in a landfill somewhere, terrorizing the animals that scavenge the place.
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October 2013

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