Archive for September 2008

Being a teen sucks, #5

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#5: Phrase t-shirts.

I attended middle school from 2002 to 2005, when in my opinion Hot Topic really had its heyday. The tweens of the early 00’s wore pre-ripped jeans, studded belts, and phrase t-shirts; this explains why I kissed maybe two guys before I reached fourteen. Upon entering high school I hoped that my peers would outgrow the fashion, and to some extent my wish came true; most of my guy friends now wear plain t-shirts or button downs. However, there’s still a large contingent of teens who proudly display “If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling” on their chests.

Picture this scenario: you’re at a bonfire and a nice guy from a private school starts talking to you. He looks a little PacSun, but it turns out he’s reading Les Mis, which you’ve read three times! You’re excited. Things get warm by the fire so he unzips his jacket and suddenly, you’re staring at

Really, really not hot.

In my experience, the guys who wear these shirts tend to be douche bags. Example #1: In the eighth grade my very first boyfriend, whose trademark was his “Procrastinators unite… tomorrow” shirt broke up with me after four days to be with my gym-class enemy (come to think of it, she wore some phrase shirts, too!). Example #2: Soon after Procrastination Boy broke up with me, I got to know a guy whose spirit resided in a Spam shirt, which he wore at least once a week. On a group trip around Europe, Spam Boy lost his passport, delaying a good 150 people to the airport and eventually causing a chaperone to have to stay with him in Holland for an extra two days. It takes a certain kind of person to wear a phrase t-shirt, usually those who relish the notion of a shirt as a trademark, an identity.

While I’m on the subject of shirts, another chronic offender on my list is the manufactured vintage shirt, which comes in many forms: the acid-washed Woodstock shirt from Target, the Harvard ’75 shirt from Alloy, the ’50s roller rink tee. If your dad really was on the Ward Melville chess team in 1965, go ahead and wear the shirt. But otherwise, skip it.

You can shop at American Apparel without being a hipster; you can shop at Abercrombie without being racist. I mean, I bought a pair of green converses from Hot Topic in 2005 (it sucks, how few stores stock sizes smaller than a 6.5). But if you asked me what store I frequent, I definitely would not mention HT. Its association with phrase shirts is just too embarrassing.


Written by jane

September 15, 2008 at 6:22 PM

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