19 May 2010

Comfortable with my Shirt Tucked In


I attended an Administration party last week, and they showed this AVP that had several people giving testimonials about me. One or two, when asked about my favorite attire, remarked that, for as long as they could remember, I had worn my shirts tucked into my pants.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I rather tend to. Not all the time; maybe just most of it…

I have gotten really comfortable carrying myself this way; but I was not always like this. In fact, during the psychedelic years of the seventies, when I was in my teens, the tucked-in look just did not jive with the long, meticulously-shampooed hairs; the wing-collared, loud-colored polo shirts; the street-sweeper flare-bottomed pants; and the four-inch so-called elevator shoes.

So, I wore my shirts – polo and otherwise – un-tucked like every other sensible, fashion-unconscious and establishment-defying teenager. It was just the hip thing to do!

Even as a skinny college football player, I felt more comfortable with my shirt hanging loose and my knee socks rolled down to my ankles. Tucking the shirt in only meant the body heat generated by running around the football field could not be released from within the shirt; and so one’s body overheated quickly.


I cannot honestly recall exactly when I started to feel comfortable with my shirts tucked in. I rather think it was in the late eighties. Back then, we were not really obligated to wear a uniform and I could come to school wearing my favorite attire of faded blue denims and an unassuming t-shirt. Sneakers, too, just to complete the functional get-up…

Don’t get me wrong, but I had every right to do so. Up till my late twenties, I enjoyed a waist-line of 29 inches. In fact, back then, I dreaded ever being able to put on weight.

In fact, if you know where I’m coming from, in the old days Moms used to lecture us about being skinny. This was because of the completely mistaken notion that being skinny was synonymous to not being healthy. Opposite to this, if one was matabâ, ergo, one was healthy.

Now that I come to think about it, I don’t seem to hear kids calling other kids payatot anymore. Back when I was growing up, the term was totally derogatory! So, despite the fact that I had already become an adult and already knew about somatotypes, I still had this childhood hangup about being so slim.

You may argue with me on this because memory does tend to get hazy after sometime; but I seem to recall that large oversized shirts that became so fashionable in the nineties first started to appear in the late eighties. These replaced the skin-tight shirts that I had gotten used to wearing in the seventies and eighties and which would, remarkably, make a comeback this decade!

Now picture me – skinny that I was still – wearing a loose shirt over my blue denims and leaving the shirt un-tucked. Wouldn’t I have looked just like a walking plastic hanger? Methinks, Sherlock, that that just about solves the tucked-in mystery.

That and the fact that, when we were finally compelled to dress up for the classroom under threat of physical pain – but that is so exazh – I decided to wear long-sleeved shirts and ties, if just to spite. Now who, pray tell, dares un-tuck when one has a tie? Even if I so missed my beloved denims, I was not luko!

Of course, the 29-inch waistline days came to an end by my mid-thirties. The football helped to keep the belly still flat – although I was starting to dread that my six-packs were melting too fast for comfort, to be replaced by these unsightly love handles.

What a total contradiction! Half-a-decade earlier, I dreaded ever putting on weight! Of course, another half-a-decade after the six-packs first started to disappear, sabi ngâ ng mga Hapon sa mga Kanô, “I surrendah!”

Excuse me, though… My waistline is still only 33 inches, and any department store salesperson who hands me a size 34 promptly gets the tiger look! I murder him if he gives me 35…

And, like they observed in the party AVP, I can still wear my shirts tucked in. With dignity, if I may so boldly add… Not with the pants’ waistline worn under the belly… And not ‘yung hindî na humihinga… O ‘wag magco-comment ang tinamaan…

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