Thursday, April 15, 2010

Under cover of darkness: the hideous clothes we wear

(When the lights came on, I realized how hideous we looked.)

My wife returned from Target yesterday with a number of items for the house and for our grandkids.  My eyes glazed over as usual as she went through her prideful display of each one.  How is it that women can get such pleasure from the items they buy at a store and men could care so little?  I hate shopping of any kind, but I even hate the stuff other people bring home when THEY go shopping.  I hate even hearing about the shopping experience.  I don't care what's on sale at Best Buy, or that you can now buy mangoes at Wegmans, or that they are out of size 8 Jessica Simpson boots at The Gap (but you can buy those boots on this website). In short, I normally view the things you can buy at any store as a non-event.  But then, last night my eyes were opened and my brain was stimulated by an interesting observation.

As I walked past our bedroom door on my way to the den, I happened to see what looked like a giant Smurf in there.  It turned out to be my wife, which is fortunate cause we are the only people who live in the house, who was sporting some new pajamas she had bought that day at Target.  I mean, blue is my favorite color, but such a large dose all at once was jolting.  But as I was laughing until I cried, my wife made me look down at the pj bottoms I was wearing.  They were this god-awful looking scotch plaid that you would never see anyone wear in daylight unless they were carrying bagpipes.  What the heck?  (As an example of the kind of merchandise I am talking about, click on the title of this essay).

I guess the manufacturers of nightwear think they can make any garment out of any color in any design and get away with it.  The customer knows that almost no one will see them in the thing anyway, so they go ahead and buy it.  What a vicious cycle.  Undiscerning clothiers and undiscerning consumers coexisting in a symbiotic relationship that endures only because there is no light.  Turn on a bedside lamp or wait until the sun rises and the whole charade is exposed for what it is.  Ugly clothing sold for a profit and bought by people who think it is all right to wear ugly clothing under cover of darkness.  But some consumers know what they are doing, because I have seen them hide the nightwear from other nearby customers under their other purchases at the checkout counter.

Even if you realized later how ugly the nightwear was, who would bother to return the item to the store?  What would you tell the clerk at the Customer Service counter?  The nightgown is too red, or the pajamas have too many stripes, or the blue and the brown pattern clash.  "What the hell lady!  Why did you buy this hideous thing in the first place?"  So no one ever returns these items, because they would be embarrassed to admit they once liked them.  The manufacturers think that what they are producing is fine with the consumer, because the return rate is so low.

To change this horrific pattern of "ugly in-ugly out", I suggest the following.  All of us need to gather up our ugly nightwear and take it all en masse back to the stores from which they came.  I don't care if you bought the item five years ago and you have worn it a thousand times.  Walk right up to the Customer Service counter, pile the wad of ugly material in front of the clerk, and demand your money back.  I further suggest that we all do this on the same day so as to create a media frenzy and get proper publicity for this worthy cause.  I think May 1 would be a good date for this "Return Your Ugly Nightwear Day".  It should be an annual event to allow those consumers who "slipped" during the preceding year, and bought more ugly stuff, to get out from under their careless purchases.  May 1 (May Day) is an appropriate day for this important event.  It is described in Wikipedia as "International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organized by the unions, anarchist, and socialist groups".  Long live the proletariat in their ugly nightwear!