Did you know that clothing manufacturers have been slowly increasing the sizes of t-shirts, following the growing trend of obesity in America? Yes? No? Well, we’ll get to that later. In the mean time, let me tell you a story.
Almost two years ago my friend who lives in Colorado sends me a song called “Holler Til You Pass Out” by a, then, little known white rap group. He’d been seeing this group all over the place playing shows around the Boulder area relentlessly. At this point they hadn’t released anything and this one demo was the only song he had, but I listened to it several times and laughed at the ironic lyrics and bizarre whiteboy rap style, then misplaced the file and forgot the whole thing. This group was called 3oh!3, sound familiar to anyone?
A few years later, I stumble across the band by accident in a ipod touch application where one of their songs, “Don’t Trust Me” is featured and I go, “Whaaaaa?” Apparently this little Colorado based rap/electronica group has some recognition now. A lot of the bands in this particular app were sort of lesser known groups, though, so it didn’t strike me as being too weird, just a bit odd.
Later that day I was playing a game of naming song lyrics with some friends, where one person would say or sing a lyric and the others would try to say/sing the next line in response before anyone else (it’s a lot more fun than it sounds) when something strange happened. I decided to test my friend’s memory by singing a line from “Don’t Trust Me” as he and I had been listening to it earlier. So, I sang the line “Shush girl, shut your lips,” but, to my shock and surprise, before my friend could even start to respond another friend who had not been playing (and who was mildly inebriated) jumped in with “Do the Helen Keller, and talk with your hips!”
I’m not kidding, that’s actually a line from the song:
The only thing to do at that point was to download the album and give it a spin, so I did, and while at first I was puzzled and unsure of what I was listening to, I was soon entranced by by the knowingly over the top lyrics, catchy synth-hooks, and pounding beats. As someone who dabbles in dance music (both as a DJ and an artist), I was soon sold to it. Before long my friends started seeing me pull up to their houses blasting 3oh!3 and singing/rapping along. The amazing thing was, once I put it out there that I knew them and liked them, fans started crawling out of the woodwork. A friend who is well on her way to becomming a professional flamenco dancer insisted I play the song “Don’t Trust Me” again and again as we drove around town, another friend had me burn him a copy of the CD with overjoyed squeals of, “I heard this song but I didn’t know where to find it, thank you!”
So, the little white rap group I’d written off back then had some recognition, but I wouldn’t know just how much recognition they had until I ventured into the cesspit of angsty teenage culture that is Hot Topic. Before you judge, keep in mind that for someone who is reasonably tall (just over six feet) and rail thin, it’s hard to find clothing that fits me well, but the clothing carried by Hot Topic happens to be perfectly suited for people of my particular size. Besides, I like band tees and skinny jeans, so sue me.
One of my greatest weaknesses in this world is band tees. I think it comes from a guilt brought on by music piracy, the only cure for which seems to be to support the band by spending money to then advertise them on my body regularly (seems odd, doesn’t it?) and after a while it became clear to me that 3oh!3 definitely deserved the privledge of using my body as a billboard. Finding their shirt in Hot Topic, while only a small addition to the overall surrealness of the situation, was the icing on the cake for me.
Standing in the store with some friends, I picked up a 3oh!3 t-shirt (a black and white astronaut with colorful lettering and a pink lightning bolt overtop) and held it up to my body. “What do you think?” I asked. My friends responded that it looked good, but that I’d picked up an extra small tee. We laughed about it and I grabbed a small, but as I checked out I wondered if I could have worn the extra small.
In the past I could remember buying medium, or even large shirts and having them fit comfortably, but as the size of t-shirts had gone up, I’d moved down, which is a pretty weird thing to do growing up since traditionally one does the opposite. Trying on the t-shirt later, I knew I was right. I could have bought that extra small.
Like many of you ephemeral readers I’m sure were I was brought up on the five paragraph system of writing, and thus and the end of this rambling blog I feel the need to come back to some kind of thesis, but I’m not sure what my thesis is. Am I writing about obseity, 3oh!3, the mysterious ways of popular culture, or my own self-consciousness. Damned if I know, but I’m going to go stuff my face with junk food and crank up the stereo with some 3oh!3. Then maybe I can wear a medium tee, if I don’t dance off the pounds too fast!
HelloLion is a regular contributor to projectgroupthink. You can follow our tweets @PGTblog if you’re cool like that.