The Return to Clothes

So, I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention but there’s been a global deadly pandemic and it seems to have ushered in utter social chaos. In the first place, this is exactly what millions of people had in mind the moment they learned that Donald Trump had become president. So we haven’t been disappointed. Secondly, it has proven to us that, without a fraction of a doubt, we are surrounded by major cunts who can’t be bothered to wear masks. And most of those cunts worship an incompetent fuckwit who can’t drink water correctly.

In the good ole Czech Republic, we were told in mid-March that we had to wear masks anytime we stepped outside. We did that. I learned to flirt with the checkout person just using a series of blinks and eyebrow formations. I stopped after she asked me if I needed her to call 112 (911). Now, after three months, we are basically back to normal(ish).

There was a period of social readjustment wherein people had to relearn to speak to people they don’t live with. Waiters had to relearn the arts of passive aggressive customer service. We had to learn how to discern normal people from ninjas. Now, most people have mostly stopped staring at others in confusion. Men prance around in socks and sandals, women sit nearby wondering how they ended up with men who prance around in socks under sandals. All is well. For the most part.

However, there is a downside. Yesterday, I went to a beer garden in the center to meet a friend. As I was about to walk out the door, I realized that for essentially the first time in three months I had to put on actual pants and shoes. As we’re most certainly the only group of humans to ever gain weight during an apocalypse, this is a multilayered issue.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Had I to choose between a civilization-changing, globally-disruptive pandemic and not having one, I’d definitely go for not having one. Obvs. But, I won’t lie that it’s had some benefits for my extreme distaste for wardrobe entities that I don’t like wearing: belted pants, socks, and shoes.

In the first place, and let me say this unequivocally, fuck pants. How we were ever duped into willingly and daily wrapping a constrictive article of clothing around the part of our body that expands from too many hotdogs and then fastening it there with leather is beyond me. Though I haven’t read the bible since a bad mushroom trip about 25 years ago, I am fairly certain that this pants gig is part of the itemized list of fallout factors for Adam eating that stupid apple. Before that he just wore nothing or muumuus. His junk was free to roam and swing. It wasn’t bunched up against his leg and there was probably a benefit of not dribbling pee when he’d had a few pivos.

For three months I have been forced to work at home. The fact that I have spent those three months in lounge wear, pajama bottoms, the same five T shirts, and the same two sweaters is not really my fault. This is topped off with my writing kufi to keep my rampantly growing locks out of my face. The cat and I were just discussing what kind of psychopath wears pants and button down shirts at home. Not this psychopath, I can tell you.

What’s more, going out in loungewear seemed somewhat OK during the brunt of the pandemic. I gather it’s sort of like taking on a team of handcuffed acolytes after other postapocalyptic events planned by Cormac McCarthy. When I would go to my local shop in pajamas and a sweatshirt with ketchup stains nobody batted an eye. And I should know, because their eyes were the only parts of their face I could see.  

Yesterday, I took off my sweats and picked up my seemingly tiny pants. They looked like ballerina’s tights. I wept. I raised them up in front of me and then prepped. I sang the “Pants Please Fit” song (just chant “pants please fit” as many times as you can in a high-pitched moan). And I stepped one leg and then the other into them in the idiomatically normal manner. I then closed the pants with the button and said a prayer of thanks for elastic waistbands. I held my breath and put on my shoes. When I awoke on the floor some period of time later, they were mercifully tied (I suspect by the cat).

I spent my time on the metro itching and clawing at the bound appendages. I took off my shoe and re-laced them. There had to be a way to tie these things on that didn’t cause such pain, right? I mean, are shoes supposed to hurt your feet? I thought the overall idea was protection. How had I done this every day for 45 years and not wanted to commit seppuku? For months we have been unencumbered by belts, shoes, bras, underwear, pants, and shirts that button. But it’s now over.

While the mood in Prague is overall happy, I found that if you looked close enough you saw a dead look behind people’s eyes. This look usually came when they tugged a bra strap higher or boxer shorts lower.

There is not a quotient of time small enough to quantify how quickly after getting home I was out of my clothes and into a frock. I then sprawled out on the couch and let everything unconstrict, dangle, and relax. Though happy to be in a natural state, I sank into a deep depression. Upon analysis, I found that this depression came for two reasons. First, I was faced with the reality that I have to wear clothes for three more decades before I’m finally old enough for people to consider me “naked and eccentric” and not “naked and dangerous.” Second, I finally understood three groups of people that I have long loathed. People who don’t wear shoes in public, people who don’t wear belts, and ninjas.

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