Adam never wore clothes when he lived in the garden of Eden until Eve picked out his fig leaves for him. He probably couldn't match; he might have plucked a green fig leaf and reached for a yellow palm frond. Ancient man never liked to wear clothes, when we dig them up today they're always naked. The creation of clothes changed history.
When animal skins where worn, men probably wore a leopard- skin shirt with tiger-skin pants, while their wives hid in shame. Look how Fred Flintstone dresses: an orange shirt and blue tie. Men have never been able to match. Testosterone loves electricity, horsepower and torque, but what is the difference between dark navy blue and black? Men don't know and don't care.
Bermuda shorts and dress socks pulled high on aged legs adorn the old men during the afternoon in the mall. One sock may be navy, the other black; a man doesn't care. He has a pair at home just like the pair he's wearing.
The Radio Shack pulls at me like an anxious child. They have the new plasma ball that fires hot pink lightening in the front of the store. It also stays in beat with the new Proteus 500 surround sound with super bass.
The portly clerk waddles up to me.
"So, what da ya think of the new Proteus Five-hundred?"
"It has seventy-five watts per channel, so you can really hear it."
"I see it also has a headphone jack, why?"
This stereo is so strong the volume can't go low enough to use headphones safely.
"That's for the optional headphones with volume dampers," he replies proudly.
Men don't care if the thing is practical, just so long as it has more power than his neighbors.
I remember that I need to get a shirt and pants while I'm at the mall.
The clerk senses my apathy and starts to inch away. "Well buddy, if you need any help just come and get me."
I exit the store with my ears still ringing from the demonstration of the Proteus 500's power. Where should I get my shirt and pants? If I go to the Gap, I'll spend half an hour on the wrong side of the store, looking like a transvestite. I opt for J.C. Penney's. Once inside the J.C.Penney's I rush to men's section because it's clearly marked.
Why do they put pictures of guys in underwear on guys' underwear packages and girls in underwear on girls' underwear packages. Why not use women to model mens' underwear? It would help the men purchase underwear before they're actually needed because women shop for underwear; men buy them out of necessity, and usually it's the woman that tells the man it's time for him to get new underwear.
I move out of the underwear section and browse the shirt area. This is hopeless. Could I wear khaki pants with a shirt that has no khaki in it? If so, could I wear boots with khaki pants? The mannequin does, so it must be OK because women dress mannequins as far as I know. I gather the clothes in my size that the mannequin has on. While I'm paying for them the clerk glances towards the mannequin.
"Nice outfit, huh," he says smiling. "This outfit is selling really well."
"What color socks does it have on," I asked trying to be subtle.
"Mannequins don't have feet, but navy would look fine," he added sarcastically.
I went home to Radio Shack to hear that Proteus 500 again.
© 1999 Erik Sundling, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
I wrote this work when I was in college. The professor said we should write what we know, so really all I knew was that I couldn't match clothes, and I still can't -- ask my students. I sent this work because I'm making my creative writing students send their work to get published. I thought I'd set a good example and try to publish my work, too. I guess I would have looked like a real jerk if they got published while I was rejected. In short, thanks to the WriteGallery for helping me "save face."