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comment by _refugee_
_refugee_  ·  232 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 25, 2018

RIP, Extreme Makeover. As a shirt, you were perfect, and as a shirt, you will be missed.

(note upon posting: what follows here is a discussion which revolves around certain personal feelings I have which I choose, generally, not to discuss with many people and which I have not ever really delved into publicly on Hubski. these feelings are difficult to put into words. please respect me, and them. this is also, i acknowledge, an overly wordy exploration of them.)

Bought in 2005 for less than ten dollars, on post-Halloween clearance by my mother in a J. C. Penny's for me while I was "reading in the car," aka texting my first real boyfriend and, I remember clearly, having honestly one of many unpleasant little mental crisis-moments endemic to the fun and vicious control/self-loathing issues from which I suffered at the time, "Extreme Makeover" waltzed into my life, a love story on the sly. At first I was nonplussed. It's unusual for my mother to peg my style so completely, even to this day, so my first reaction to the shirt was lukewarm. It was unlikely to even be the right size, knowing her.

But "Extreme Makeover" turned out to be the perfect size, not only a medium (as was correct) but a comfortable medium, a loose medium that was not too loose, a shirt that I could wear when I felt fat but which was never so big that I felt it made me look fat. The skull combined with its quippy caption only became more amusing, more in line with my sense of humor, over the years. The shirt itself was black, which was essential if I was going to love it, and simple, which you can tell because after describing the fit, front decal, and background color I have nothing left to describe about "Extreme Makeover" at all. Which is hard for me, because for me, for years, this was The Perfect Shirt, and this is its' eulogy, and I want you to know why.

Wouldn't you think a Perfect Shirt would have a million awesome descriptive elements that a person loved about it?

I'm sure part of what made "Extreme Makeover" so perfect, for me, was its simplicity.

Forgive me as I segue into overly personal and revealing backstory.

I have difficulty with getting dressed. Or maybe I have difficulty with confidence, or maybe I have issues about appearance and presentation. I should stop trying to put this into words and instead put it into examples: sometimes, I've been known to get dressed in a comfortable, cute outfit to go out to the bar with my friends, drive 45 minutes to the bar, get out of the car, and walk past the first reflective storefront mirror-window on the way to the bar. By that point I will "realize" ('determine' is probably more accurate) that my outfit is terrible, it will attract too much attention, I feel uncomfortable in it, I cannot go out like this, and my full-body reflection in the glass windows will only serve as evidence towards this. Sometimes I walk up and down a block or two of sidewalk, determined to meet my friends now anyway, then turning around as I change my mind. Sometimes I do this a few times. Sometimes I get in my car, drive home, and change. Sometimes I make it to the bar and fret about what I am wearing, constantly.

For more context: I live and bar in a college town, where I am surrounded by lithe carefree late-teens-and-twenty-something ladies who I see on Main Street sporting literally every possible combination or lack of combination of outre, on-trend, revealing, attention-grabbing apparel which you could ever imagine. Realistically, this is an environment which, if I could base my comfort level rationally on my clothing-surroundings, I should feel able to wear anything. For more, more context: Items which have caused such a crisis as I've described above include, for instance, a pair of denim short shorts. A black sundress. A retro blue-and-green-swirled dress which went to the knee and had sequins on it (the sequins contributed to the dilemma). A pair of 3-in wedge heels. What I am trying to say is that I understand everyone, to some degree, may relate to the feelings of mine I describe; however, for me, these feelings seem to come more frequently, influence my mood more severely, and generally unduly able to disturb my intentions compared to the 'norm.' Whatever that is.

Call it what you want: I have difficulty getting dressed. (You should hear the "professional officewear" side of this conversation!)

As such, over time, I've discovered there are certain pieces of clothing which can save my mental life. I call them "safe" clothes. They're pieces which, no matter what, I can throw on, go out in public, and feel comfortable. They must, of course, also confirm to my aesthete; I'm sure it's a combination of "I agree with the vibe this shirt is putting out" as well as "I never have to question how I feel I look in this shirt" which leads to these perennial, and mental-life-saving, favorite "comfort clothes." I need such pieces, or there would be days I would not go out in public because of how I felt about myself and how I looked in all the rest of my perfectly normal, perfectly-fine-fitting clothing.

"Extreme Makeover" was the first such piece of safe clothing, for me. It was a safe shirt for years before I realized that's what it was; before I realized the concept of "safe shirts" and before I began consciously trying to make sure I always had a small collection of them in my wardrobe; before I began to identify their hallmarks and seek them out.

It is no surprise "Extreme Makeover" has thrown in its proverbial towel; what is more of a surprise is how well it's held up to the frequent wear for the past 13 years. I remember reaching for this shirt constantly. I remember how "Extreme Makeover" resolved every single put-on-every-single-shirt-you-own-and-hate-the-way-you-look-in-all-of-them session as soon as I saw it, grabbed it, pulled it on. Really, each time it was a sigh of relief.

This shirt represents mental security to me in a very real and (I suspect) deeper-than-the-norm way.

Thank you, "Extreme Makeover." Sometimes idiots thought you were a Punisher T, and I suspect lots of times people didn't properly get what you were about.

Today I held you up to the light and I could see straight through you. You'd gotten so old your decal was wearing into holes. Your letters have been discolored for a long time. I knew this day was coming. And I have other safe shirts now, other shirts I can trust the way I learned I could trust you. Implicitly. Forever.

Thank you, Extreme Makeover, and RIP.




tacocat  ·  232 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What did you do with it? I have some shirts in a plastic bin that I like for whatever reason and I want to stretch like paintings around stretcher frames because I know how to do that.

Sorry. I can't tell from the picture but I guess I thought my method is novel since most people can't do it or even know paintings are usually done on fabric pulled tight around wooden slats.

I know a few shirt preservation methods after working in a frame shop. I only remember framing one shirt for emotional reasons but it was a common thing people wanted something done with

_refugee_  ·  232 days ago  ·  link  ·  

To make a long story short, when I was book-binding I started using old material as covers and that included old t-shirts (disposable non-favorites). When I finally had to admit my first permanently-great shirt was at death's door this summer (like, it was irresponsible to wash it), that was my first idea for preservation. but the graphic was way too big, for various reasons it just wouldn't work.

One night I got drunk and was going through art supplies and thinking about the shirt and I saw a lid to one of those stiff fabric-covered "decorative" storage boxes you can get at like, Target and shit. And it was the perfect size for this shirt's graphic, which was admittedly large enough that my only other idea before this had been that "you know, i've read about people making t-shirt quilts and stuff, before," an idea which was promptly shut down because fuck no i'm not learning quilting to preserve my favorite t-shirts. i have to draw the line somewhere.

so i had practice keeping material like reasonably taut and even from book covers and i grabbed a hot glue gun and just went at it. i did 2 that way

(no i don't really advise this because it does complicate/limit the use of your storage boxes later, a realization which i almost regret, but i have lots of boxes)

And then, laugh at me for this, i ghetto-fabulous-DIY-i-ain't-need-to-spend-money-on-this-even-though-it's-deeply-meaningful'd the next 2, of which "Extreme Makeover" is the second.

i just found shipping boxes that were the right size and i cut down the sides of them so i had decent frame-like structures and i hot glued right onto that

(i have finessed the technique with "Extreme Makeover" and honestly, it's the best looking 'job' of the set)

- comme ci comme ca 's superpower : if i was wearing this in a photo i invariably actually liked the photo. once upon a time i left come ci comme ca at a boy's house after hooking up with him. i kept forgetting to get it back and then one week i found out he slept with a friend of mine who'd known how i felt about him. damn it, i thought, that was such a great shirt. i stopped talking to both. the 'friend', who was unmedicated and is nuts, was desperate to get me to talk to her/conceivably forgive her for her choice. she offered to do anything to get us to talk and "move past this." OK i said get the shirt. and, crazy is as crazy does, but when crazy thinks it can get you to welcome it back with open arms crazy can actually bother a typical oblivious sweatydude into finding some ex's shirt in his messy of a room and getting it from him.

so i got the shirt back. and the crazy girl and i met up at our bar and talked, and when she realized she wasn't magically getting her way and no, i wasn't going to buy her line about "i felt closed out from your life so i slept with him, soo now what we need to fix this is for you to tell me more of your private secrets and feelings!" -- she threatened to pour a beer on some other poor girl's head and getting in between the two of them is the closest thing i've ever gotten to being in a real fight. and i was just getting between them til the bouncer came over (because i was pretty confident she knew if she poured the beer on ME, she was going to have no future chance in my life, at all).

what a story, right? you see why i had to keep that shirt.

- the baretta 92 fs. once in a tiny townhouse in fishtown, philadelphia, hanging out with a beautiful boy and his roommate, i dropped a joint and burned that hole. another time i wore this to a 4th of july party with american flag acid wash shorts. at the end of the party (the end of it for me anyway) i got quite drunk quite quickly on shots of tito's vodka and then accused a partygoer of being sexist. he saw me leaving with a female friend, and my brother, and stopped us to tell me that i wasn't driving. (nope not a question.) i said yea i mean, that sounds good to me. there's three of us. he turned to my brother, who i'd just done shots in the kitchen with, to reiterate his point. and i was drunk and it made me mad he was being so bossy (i wasn't even trying to drive out of there), and it made twice as mad he was trying to put my also-drunk brother in charge, and 3x as mad because my perfectly sober female friend was just standing there getting ignored! and my brother didn't even have a goddamn legal license at that point!

so i called him sexist but i think my point got a little lost beneath the tito's. hey i stand by what i said. and am happy when i'm drunk to walk or give up my keys.

-this shirt is complicated, but my oldest. if i could figure out how to edit everyone else from sophomore year of high school out of the photo, i would share a precious shot of me in braces wearing it