I feel sort of weird wearing a Hawaiian shirt in the middle of a raging snowstorm, but college has an interesting way of economizing one’s wardrobe, or at least my wardrobe. I can only store so many clothes in my dresser (meaning, on my floor), I can only afford to do so many loads of laundry, and I can only hang so many clothes in my cubicle — I mean, my dorm room. Yes, I hang dry my clothes, and unless you have frequent company that might be put off by damp unmentionables dangling from the ceiling, I will gladly explain the merits of hang drying if you ask me. Go ahead, ask.
In all seriousness, being up here at MIT means having to learn to coordinate my own clothes for the first time, and without the benefit of most of my clothes, which were largely left behind. For those of you who have never struggled with fashion sense, I would describe the feeling as comparable to trying to cook a spaghetti dinner with a Bunsen burner, a stalk of wheat, and a plastic spork. Hence, the rampant thrift shopping. I’ve only recently managed to discern the location of the Garment District, which means that you will probably see me experimenting in increasingly weird looking clothes in the coming months, as if my brown coat, maroon suspenders, and tight pants weren’t odd enough.
As you might imagine, I am not the kind of person one might call “fashionably inclined.” If fashionability were measured in terms of slope or heart rate, I would be a flat-liner all around. (Evidently, the same holds true for my ability to form metaphors.) I track it back to my kindergarten graduation, when all of the other boys were wearing mini-suits complete with clip-on ties while I stood sheepishly in something resembling bright yellow lederhosen. Suffice it to say that it was not the proudest moment of my childhood, although being in kindergarten still meant that a social faux pas could pass for “cute” rather than “ridiculous.” Frankly, I miss those days. You never hear “College Students Say the Darnedest Things” accompanied with a smile.
I continue to be amazed by those who can put together an outfit in which the individual articles of clothing go well both with each other as well as the wearer. The most I know about my wardrobe is which sweater makes me look the slimmest and whether or not something is inside out. I mean, I know to an extent what does and doesn’t look good, but that’s like saying I know whether or not a piece of steak will give me food poisoning. It’s a useful skill that helps me get by, but it doesn’t make me a master chef. So, you fashionistas out there, I acknowledge your mastery. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put on my “Hot Stuff” apron and get something to eat. All this talk about steaks and spaghetti is making me hungry.