COLM O'REGAN: My goal was to find the T-shirt whose slogan was so funny... that women would want to be with me, men would want to be me

A significant capital investment is required. I cannot ignore the crumbling — and indeed bobbling — infrastructure for much longer. I’m going to have to buy some clothes.

It’s been a while. The last major purchase was bought under the previous development plan Horizon 2015 Get Rid of Them Rags so I must once again go out into the marketplace. How will I keep up with the fashion trends that have changed since? Quite easily in fact. I have had my fashion moments in my teens; never, of course, backed up by real money. Just wardrobes abandoned by nest-flown older brothers. There were long coats for a while, then padded checked jackets with baggy jeans trying to emulate Ice Cube if Ice Cube could only shop in Guineys.

Then came the combat years. Remember when every young male and some females — especially in the countryside — seemed to be in uniform? It made Dripsey look like it was being held by guerrillas who were awaiting the outcome of peace negotiations. Albeit guerrillas who spent a lot of time smoking and leaning against things. War is hell, people.

Fashion doesn’t bother me anymore. I can sense my internal Jeeves (the Stephen Fry version) raising an eyebrow as I say the word fashionable. “Fashionable, sir?” said Jeeves. “It should not concern the gentleman what is fashionable, only what is suitable.”

This could mean spending more time in the likes of Dunnes and Marks and Spencer and less time in shops where the walls are covered in black paint and they are decorated to resemble an underground world tunnelled into an asteroid. Less time searching in vain for clothes with small or non-existent logos.

I’m not a man for logos. I used to be. For a long time, my goal was to find the T-shirt whose slogan was so funny, so politically bang on trend that women would want to be with me, men would want to be me. But I’ve since realised that nearly every T-shirt slogan looks stupid after a while. A joke shouted at you on the bus. “THIS IS FUNNY RIGHT. DON’T YOU THINK I’M FUNNY?”

To counteract this, many clothing companies have slogans that don’t say anything at all. A shirt that is a facsimile of the one worn by Skeeter Harris when he threw that pass in the final of a college football competition in Indianapolis in 1970. Remember that? Remember when Bubba Jones caught it and that kid from middle school went to Vietnam and nothing was ever the same again? No doubt it affected the H&M buyer who saw it in the factory in Burma before they signed the docket for ten bales of them.

No, it will be sober small logos for me. Maybe a small sailing boat or birdwatching sunglasses, a man asleep in a chair with a first edition of an improving book.

Either way, I’ll still have to go to the changing room.

I often hear the phrase “hold up a mirror to society” to mean showing society how it really is. But I think the phrase needs amending.

Hold up a mirror and society will say: “Actually looking pretty hot there. Fair play to me”. Hold up a changing-room mirror to society and society will recoil in horror.

The changing room mirror is where you stand naked and alone and are judged. You see yourself from all angles in the kind of light that is the opposite of an Instagram filter. You — ok me — see those weird moles, the grey hair tiptoeing across the back of your head so as not to disturb you, the march of hair of any colour across the back of your... back.

Hey, app developers, can you make a thing called Mirror-Mirror that switches on when you are in a changing room and whispers affirmations to you? It would say things like “no one’s shoulders are the same height” and “those clothes only fit the mannequins”.

It might also suggest you get those new moles checked.


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