Dadtritus Alert: Endless Stacks of White Undershirts
Once of the nicest compliments — albeit, a little odd — I consistently got from discerning females back in college was when, upon encountering me at the tail end of a run, I still, somehow, smelled great.
Now, take a whiff today (or, really: don’t), and after a 10K, or even longer; or on a hot day after I’ve been mowing our heavenly half-acre; or upon my return from a weekend camping with the boys; and I am under no illusions. I flat-out stink, I am sure.
But it’s a nice memory. And a reminder that sweat, no matter how ill- or well-intentioned, can’t bring down a man who emits his own, wondrous aura. Or, at least, a powerful application of deodorant and after-shave.
Still, man can’t be saved by Polo Sport or Gucci Guilty alone. The most appealing musk can be undone by a ratty bit of attire. Take, the pair of sweats with a gaping window in the seat. Or, the ballcap that has acquired a cloudy, sweat patina from all its hot times hugging your noggin.
For me, it’s the valiant but losing battle of my formerly pristine undershirts to present a white collar beneath my daily lineup of dress shirts.
Safety in Numbers
A virginal, snow-hued undershirt — I prefer the tagless Hanes crew variety, just like a certain basketballer, you might have heard of him, Michael Jeffrey Jordan — exudes the sort of utility that inspires you to break it out and show it off just about anywhere.
Sure, under your dressy work shirts, but equally inspiring shooting back blinding sunshine while enjoying a boat cruise. Tucking under a seedy suit jacket, say, after an unexpected and laundry-short layover. Enjoying scotch and cigars with the guys (from Dixie cups in the hotel courtyard). Lounging in a lawnchair with your father on a Sunday afternoon. Transmitting a subtle but fashion-forward message at your daughter’s wedding ceremony… OK, I exaggerate.
That feeling of Kryptonian T-shirt superiority rapidly fades along with the blinding whiteness. A few washes — not to mention its existence beneath your lineup of oxfords and polos and its continued proximity to grimy, stinky you — gradually bleeds the color to a dingy gray before yielding to the inevitable coffee-stained-teeth shades of life and the yellowed-urinal shades of our ultimate undoing.
Which means you keep chasing that fresh stack, the feeling of possibility. That pristine sheen.
And, is it just me, but do you also have multiple stacks of the same brand of white T-shirt, in various states of aging, straining the bounds of your dresser drawers? Eventually recycled into dust rags in a utility closet, but multiplying there, in the dark as well?
It’s like a domestic episode of The Trouble with Tribbles. Only with no Spock to counsel us. No denouement at the end of the hour.
I don’t know that there is enough dust in my house for all the white T-shirts to suck up. And I don’t have enough children to crochet the same oddly almost-beige going-off-to-college quilts for their inevitable departure from the nest.
By then, of course, they’ll have hampers full of their own undershirts. Rendered all the more useless by their having outgrown them, and the futility of handing them down.
Or, is it just me?