I have no sisters. That’s the first line I give in defense of my complete ignorance when it comes to women. It’s the single fact in my life that explains my naiveté when it comes to all things feminine.
In particular, when it comes to ladyclothes.
For years and years, I was not clear that there was a real difference between men’s clothing and women’s, other than the completely obvious – women wore dresses, men wore pants, except for those times when women wore pants, which is totally okay, because it’s the nineties, man, and that’s how people are nowadays.
I recognize now that there are many substantial differences between how manclothing and ladyclothes work. The material is different. The patterns are different. Even the T-shirt – the simplest and most utilitarian of all tops – is shaped completely differently when tailored for one sex rather than the other.
My inexperience with ladyclothes probably wouldn’t make much of a difference – except for that unfortunate encounter I had one day with a rack of women’s tank tops at Target. I struggled to fit all the little bitty clothes back on their hangers, not really sure if the tiny little strap I held daintily between thumb and forefinger was the sleeve or the neckline. It was like handling a wardrobe made out of toilet paper. I was fearful my knobby man-thumbs would tear them to bits.
Again, I blame the lack of sisters. Now I know I did have a mother growing up – and I probably still do. My mother never really wore ladyclothes, though. Her favorite article of clothing is a pair of men’s carpenter jeans, which she wears while doing yardwork, with tools all loaded up in all the weird little hoops and things those pants have.
My mother’s hardcore, yo.
I’m not a girl, but, if I was, I think I’d be like my mom – always shopping in the men’s department. Now that the curtain’s been drawn back on the complexity of ladyclothes – all the layering, the sheerness, the struggle to find the exact right cut that’s flattering to the figure – makes me happy that I can just walk out the door after donning a floppy ol’ bag of a shirt with a Spider-Man print on the front and still appear socially acceptable.
More or less.