Clothes are one of those unique items associated with the species homo sapien. Certainly, I can understand the functional reason for humans to wear garments. The human body isn’t well adapted to its environment once it leaves the sanctuary of its home. Their skin burns in the sun, provides no protection from stinging insects, poison ivy, or biting canines, lacks any insulation qualities in cold weather, and wrinkles into a sagging discolored mess as it ages.
Most of the animal world is blessed with much better physiological attributes to cope with the conditions we live in. My coat does all those things human skin doesn’t, plus provides me with an eye pleasing appearance. It’s practical.
The importance that people attach to clothing choices goes far past human needs because of their ineffectual ability to evolve. This facet of human behavior fascinates me. I had some questions about the subject and decided to consult the Geezer, though he’s not an example of the choice obsession I’ve observed in many folks. He wears the same colors, styles, and items most of the time. I inquired with trepidation. I know asking the Geezer Gator’s opinion on anything is likely to come with an 18 wheeler full of manure.
We were seated on the dock when I asked, “Hey, Geezer, what criteria do you use when you pick clothes.”
“Damn, there are seven of them.” The old boy continued to gaze into the canal.
“Seven? What are they?”
“Manatees. Come on Sandy, you know what they are.”
I looked out across the gentle wavelets at snouts poked out of the water and outlines of bodies lazing in the tannin tinged water. They varied from a baby 30″ long to a 1200 lb. bull. “Well, that’s interesting Geezer, but I didn’t ask that. Again, Geezer, what criteria do you use when you select clothes.”
“Sorry about not paying attention, Sandy. I’ll be happy to tell you, but if I knew why you’re interested it would help me give you a better answer.”
I already regretted asking the question. “Oh, I was just wondering what people think about when choosing clothes.”
“Interesting, Sandy. That’s complicated. There are almost as many reasons as there are people.” The 18 wheeler was becoming a 50 car frieght train. I winced and rolled my eyes.
“Don’t worry, girl. I’ll simplify it for you.” The advantage of being an expressive canine is you don’t have to say everything. The Geezer reads me very well. “And, I’ll keep it brief.” Brief to Geezer Gator means something shorter than War and Peace.
“I’ll take you at your word.” Sometimes you get lucky and he’ll listen. It was a strong hint to keep it short.
“Humans pick clothes on two scales. There’s the comfort versus conformity scale and the notice me versus the I’m invisible people.”
I noted his answer by scratching my ear. “Let’s get on with it,” I said. “Which one first?”
“Okay. Comfort, style. The comfort folks believe if it feels good wear it. These are the people that wear a tee shirt with more holes than Swiss cheese and paint stained Bermudas with a torn crotch to a wedding. They don’t care what others are wearing or that they look different. They slip into the same pair of sweats whenever possible because they like the soft material and have to talk themselves out of wearing ‘grays’ to a job interview. The conformist types are more concerned about not looking different. They’d wear a tuxedo to a summer luncheon in Hell if everyone else did. One time we had a party and a guy I know called and asked ‘What the attire was.’ I told him pink leotards. He was the only one who showed up looking like an over-stuffed hot dog. That fellow didn’t speak to me for ten months.”
“Ten months? That’s a long time to be pissed over something like that, Geezer.”
The Geezer chuckled. “It might have to do with smearing some mustard on him.”
“That’s still a long….” The Geezer interrupted me.
“And where I applied it.”
“Oh. (Pregnant pause) Maybe we ought to go to the notice me thing,” I said
“That’s easy. Ever see a guy wearing a blue suit, purple shirt, pink tie, and white shoes?”
I said, “No, thankfully.”
“That’s a notice me type, Sandy. How about a 5’6″ chick carrying 240 lbs under a string Bikini?”
“Sandy, if you see some guy with his ‘Harvard’ tie on, or a lady wearing a dress with a designer label accidentally protruding, or the gal down the street who has holes cut in all her clothes so you can see the tattoos on her…”
I cut him off, “I know. They’re the notice me types.” I was very sorry I’d asked by now. “And the final one is?”
“Oh, yeh. Aaaa, let me think.” His face was blank as a new chalk board.
I could see the codger was suffering from a brain fart, so I helped. “You were talking about invisible.”
“Thanks, Sandy. Those folks want to blend in. Clothes are their camouflage.”
“You mean those people who run around in olive drab and gray with leaf patterns printed on their clothes?”
The Geezer chuckled, “Naw. That’s camo, but not what I’m talking about. They pick clothes that won’t stand out in a crowd. No fancy styles or loud colors. What they’re wearing tells everybody who looks at them, “nothing unusual here,” and they go on to the next body. Lots of grays and blacks and…”
“That’s you Geezer.”
“Partly.” He grinned. “Now you know why Mrs. Gator calls my chest-of-drawers…” He prompted me to finish.
“The uninteresting dull rag box.” Sometimes, I realize how lucky I am to be a dog.