It seems like it’s been awhile since I’ve discussed just how powerful the act of wearing a t-shirt can be. I don’t think I need to explain how much I love t-shirts at this point. If you’ve been following along at home then you know I have quite the unhealthy obsession. Well, unhealthy might not be the best term to describe my love for pop culture themed t-shirts but I am totally obsessed with them. There’s no getting around that. In the last two weeks I believe I’ve ordered another Stranger Things shirt (bringing that total up to five… yes five for a show that’s only been out for a couple of months) and most recently a Mr. Robot themed shirt. Because we all know by now, I can’t properly express my love for something without having it on a t-shirt.
Here’s the thing though, I strongly believe that t-shirts are a gateway, a door if you will, into getting to know someone. They are the easiest conversation starters. For example you’re in the store and you notice that the person in front of you is wearing a New York Football Giants shirt. Automatically you know that (a) this person has good taste in sporting teams and (b) can be someone to pass the time with talking about the team instead of staring at all the different candy bar selections. All you have to say is something simple like, “tough game Sunday, huh?” and boom you’re set. I’m not saying that t-shirts are an open invitation to conversation, but there is a reason why a person is wearing a certain something. Obviously they hold a love for whatever subject that has been immortalized by their clothing choice, and chances are they’re looking for an outlet to talk about it.
I know for me, personally, I wear t-shirts with the hopes that people will discuss things with me, as well as bragging that I’m a fan of said subject. In the past I’ve had a number of different conversations start based off my S.T.A.R.. Labs attire and I think the shirt helps disarm people a little bit. I’ve found that sometimes it’s difficult for people to really embrace their geekiness. Whether it’s repressed or maybe they just don’t have the proper outlet for it. I like to believe that my shirts let them know that they’re not alone in their geekiness. That there are others who are willing to show case their love for a TV show, movie, comic, book, etc. with an article of clothing.
Last week I went to grab a drink with my sister and Paul at our local watering hole. Not an uncommon thing to happen. I went out wearing one of my favorite LOST t-shirts from the final season. It read 23- Shephard and is very simplistic in nature and outside of being a Lostie you really wouldn’t know what the shirt is saying. I love the subtle nature of it because it’s like being a fan of a band. Yeah, the singles are great but the back catalog tracks are where the money is at. This shirt would be the equivalent of back catalog tracks. It’s a shirt that screams “I’m a die hard fan” without being overly pretentious I suppose.
Any way as I was standing there sort of having a conversation when I heard a voice go, “yo, is that a LOST shirt?!”. It took me a minute to realize he was speaking to me and I turned around and told him that it was indeed a LOST shirt. What followed was this man lost his face with excitement. There were two super, super awkward attempts at the “bro hug” while the two of us laughed and dived into a ten to fifteen minute conversation about the show. Something I haven’t really talked about in quite some time.I felt that the guy was trying to validate my fandom by asking me questions like, “what did one snowman say to the other” in the hopes that I would past his fandom test… which of course I did. We talked how he wanted to get a Dharma tattoo with his daughters name in the middle, how the show could exist as a possible sequel, how Jack Shephard could be my patronus, and some of our favorite moments from the show. My newly found friend was super excited to be able to discuss something he clearly loved and we were able to share a fun few minutes together. As a matter of fact when the conversation was drawing to a close he looked at me and said, “see you in another life brother” and my heart could have exploded due to geeky delight.
That whole interaction was caused by a t-shirt. Just a piece of cotton with something printed on it. I find that to be so utterly wonderful. The chances of me seeing this guy again are probably slim but we were able to have this moment where we could discuss something we loved together without feeling awkward (outside of the hug attempts) or alone. It’s that validation that there are others like me and what a freeing experience. Ever since I started I Am Geek I’ve kind of quested for these geeky moments as if they’re my mission in life. To bring people out of their geeky shell one t-shirt at a time. And so far, we’ve had some success!