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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Column: Tee talk

I think the writing on a person’s t-shirt can tell you a lot about the wearer. And these days, you can get just about anything screen-printed across your chest. It seems like everyone wants to stamp themselves with their own personal mottos, their inspirational battle-cries, their own raisons d’être, if you will. Want to tell the world that Volleyball is 95% mental and 5% physical? I’m sure they would love to know, so put it in writing across your body. Or how about the ever-cryptic “I Don’t Do Drama,” just so everyone is clear. Solid colors have been passé for years, making room for thousands of slogans from the clever to the nasty to the Star Wars-themed. In this week’s column, I’ll be chronicling my favorites.

I saw a man wearing a shirt the other day that read, “I only roll with babes of havoc.” This raised two questions in my mind: Firstly, what is a “babe of havoc?” And, more importantly, how do I become one? I immediately turned to the girl he was “rolling with,” so I could possibly decipher the mystery. Black hair, heavy eye-liner, studded belt. Okay, I could do this. Being a babe of havoc couldn’t be that hard.

So I went home to further my research. A quick Google-search yielded a single comprehensible hit, a YouTube page entitled “Babes of Havoc Photoshoot Promo.” It took me to a videotaped photo shoot of heavily-made up twenty-something women wearing metallic bikinis and furry go-go boots. Okay, now I’m confused. The page had only a single comment, from a DanceMissBlondie who said: “were hella sexy.” I assume the forgetting of the apostrophe is completely intentional and makes her more of a havocish babe, since no one would bastardize the English language so offensively for any other purpose.

The rest of the Google hits were either porn or about baseball, or sometimes both, leaving me with very little material to work with. I would have to put my metamorphosis from regular girl to babe of havoc on hold for now. If you have any tips for me, please, don’t hesitate to drop me a line (Dammit! A babe of havoc would never say “drop me a line”).

Another gem was a fraternity t-shirt I’d seen on a young man who, assuredly, was in a fraternity (lest the true brothers find out he was unlawfully wearing their shirt and make to publicly flog or otherwise humiliate said wearer). Anyways, it had some undecipherable symbols that I assume were either Greek or Martian (in which case we should all evacuate the city of Davis immediately). Underneath an artful silhouette of a young man about to “sink one,” which I believe is the correct beer pong terminology, it read “Where amazing happens.” I knew it. Frat boys are just Broadway stars in training all along! And that’s why they sing so much! And when they get on stage amazing-ness will happen! This explains everything.

Finally, I’m completely enamored with all those screen-printed baby onesies prophesying all the great things your tiny tot can do. One particularly irresponsible tee has its infant wearer declaring “I can kick your baby’s ass.” Um, is this legal? Do people really place bets on this? Baby fighting? I’m not sure this is a good idea, guys, someone could get hurt. But I guess whatever makes a buck these days, right? My money’s on the one with the big head.

Another slightly disconcerting baby shirt I saw read, “My daddy drinks because I cry.” Oh dear. Hey, all you picketers outside Planned Parenthood, it looks like there’s a little problem. New evidence suggests that infants may cause alcoholism. Yeah, I know, scary right? I’m not entirely sure what this means, except that, in the next election, gay rights will be put on the back burner again so we can get this whole baby issue worked out. Jeez, why can’t we just go back to pink and blue, huh?

What you wear says a lot about who you are, and many people these days have literally started wearing their hearts on their sleeves, or at least across their pecs. As I’m writing to you this week, I’m sitting in my back yard wearing a shirt that says “Real girls eat meat.” I’ve got a beer to my left and I’m grilling a small fledgling I caught with my bare hands. Tomorrow, I’ll be donning a “Who needs brains when you’ve got these?” shirt, in order to show off my great shoulders. Because that’s what it’s referring to, right?

LENA PRESSESKY can be reached at lmpressesky@ucdavis.edu.


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