I think a historian or sociologist of the future will be able to tell a lot about the teens in our current society simply by reading their T-shirts.  Oh, I don’t mean the ones with Will Ferrell’s picture that say “More Cowbell” or Jonas Brothers shirts or even the revamped “Have A Nice Day” tie-dyed ones, although those would definitely add to the picture– I mean the ones that tell what the kids are doing all the time, at any minute.  Seriously, if their Facebook pages fade away and our blogs and scrapbooks perish, those cotton T-shirts will still probably live on somewhere, maybe in a homeless shelter, proclaiming everything from high school dances to sporting events to drama productions, and everything in between.  There’s a shirt for every occasion, every club, extracurricular activity, fundraiser, choir/band concert tour, and drill team show; every out-of-town field trip and summer training camp— there’s even an organization that Allison joined (SADD) just to be able to wear the shirt.  And just when it seems there couldn’t possibly be more, the kids will come up with a reason to have another, for example, groups of kids going to Homecoming together will design and buy their own “group shirts” and wear them to school.  (And I thought it was bad enough that the mums made kids feel excluded– if they don’t wear a T-shirt, they’re a loser, too!)  The volleyball team makes it to the playoffs? Long-sleeved T-shirts for everyone. What, you’re not wearing one? Don’t you have any spirit? The girls soccer team makes it to State.  A T-shirt is created.  They win State.  Another tee.  My daughter makes it into the spring musical, and I order a tee commemorating the milestone at the parents’ meeting– but my daughter wishes she had one of the show’s “hoodies” instead.  The freshman “girls ask guys” dance is this Saturday night, and what did all the freshmen who will be attending wear today? Specially designed T-shirts celebrating the occasion, even though it snowed like crazy in North Texas all day (go figure!). 

I think the school ought to sell really cool-looking, exclusive T-shirts that say “I made it on time to school every day this week” or “I passed math”– seriously, I’ll bet it would help attendance and grades.  If you offer a tee, they will buy.  Or at least their parents will.

Not long ago, I put a moratorium on buying T-shirts– I told my teen, “If you want one, you pay for it.” The mom of my daughter’s date for this Saturday’s dance, who has another child who is a senior, sympathized with me, but said even though there are a lot of T-shirt order forms thrown at us each year, she sees it as a cheap wardrobe, especially for boys.  Hmmm… I’d never thought of it that way before…if my daughter’s closet suddenly filled up with $10-$15 T-shirts, literally overflowed with T-shirts, maybe she wouldn’t beg for $50 blouses and cardigans she only wears once…  


One thought on “Life-By-T-Shirt”

  1. Ha! My mother-in-law actually made a quilt out of all my husband’s old band, drama, trip, etc t-shirts and presented it to us one year for Christmas. I’m still not sure what she expected me to do with it, but when she drove up one day and my children were having a picnic on it in the front yard she went into apoplectic shock and we realized that was NOT what she had in mind.

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