The Fascinatingly Uncool World of Coolest Tshirts
You may not be familiar with the name, but I’m guessing you are familiar with the ostentatiously terrible products of Coolest Tshirt. They’re the people behind those ads on Facebook for hideous black sweatshirts with chalk-white word salads like
-BE NICE TO ME-
I HAVE A
SHE HAS ANGER ISSUES & SHE’S A BIT CRAZY
SHE KNOWS MORE THAN SHE SAYS
THINKS MORE THAN SHE SPEAKS
& NOTICES MORE THAN YOU REALIZE
MESS WITH ME
SHE’L MURDER YOU
YES, SHE GAVE ME THIS SHIRT
These sweatshirts are hideously ugly but at least they’re also idiotic and nonsensical. They can only be worn by the most unique of characters, people whose idiosyncratic personalities can be summarized on a sweatshirt purchased by thousands, or tens of thousands, of other similarly original people.
The idea behind these fascinatingly clumsy, “attitude”-filled novelty garments is to be threatening and boastful, but in a fun, lighthearted fashion while also establishing your mental illness and rage issues, also in fun, lighthearted fashion. They often also involve murder threats of a fun, lighthearted variety should you mess with the wearer and his or her family.
Sometimes the threat is central to the overall message, as in a charming sweatshirt reading
THE BEST SMARTASS MOM
OF A BADASS SON
IF YOU MESS WITH MY SON
REMEMBER HE HAS A BATSHIT
THAT WON’T HESITATE TO
RIGHT IN THE THROAT
I’LL DO IT WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE
I don’t want to reinforce conventional gender roles when discussing a feminist, progressive organization like Coolest Tshirt but shouldn’t a badass son be able to handle himself? If not, he should wear a matching sweatshirt reading
OF A SMARTASS MOM
WHO WON’T HESITATE
ON MY BEHALF
As a rule, Coolest Tshirt sees being a little crazy and scaring the people closest to you as inherently admirable qualities of people who are real and authentic, not politically correct and fake, sometimes in a disturbing fashion.
Take, for example, a tee shirt of a tattooed angel woman embracing a suit clad skeleton man reading
I’M A SPOILED WIFE
I GET MY ATTITUDE FROM MY
HE WAS BORN IN AUGUST
HE IS A BIT CRAZY AND HE SCARES ME SOMETIMES
BUT I LOVE HIM AND HE IS MY LIFE
I’M THE LUCKY ONE BECAUSE I GET TO BE HIS WIFE
YES, HE BOUGHT ME THIS SHIRT
Granted, in this image it’s the husband who appears to be dead but in 2019, “My husband’s violent temper scares me, but in a good way” is nowhere near as cute as the cynical idiots behind Coolest Tshirt might think. In fact, it’s super problematic.
The whole point of novelty clothing is brevity: we glance over at some moron’s torso just long enough to see that they think wearing an “I’m With Stupid” or “Federal Bikini Inspector” tee shirt in public is a clever idea. Who has either the time or the inclination to read the Russian novel’s worth of verbiage splattered artlessly all over these tacky garments of the damned?
The folks behind Coolest Tshirt are somehow even more inept when they stray from their trademark attitude-filled explosions of sassy verbiage. A sweatshirt trying to exploit the Baby Shark fad reads “kinda busy being a Mommy Shark do-do-do-do-do”, not “doo doo doo doo doo” like in the song, or the dozens of other novelty garments related to the fad, while a sweatshirt reading “WTF” reps not Marc Maron’s iconic podcast but rather “Wine, Turkey and Family.”
If you’re the son, or grandson, or nephew of a freaking awesome, badass father, grandfather, or uncle who’s a little crazy and scares you sometimes but who will murder people who mess with his family then Coolest Tshirt has got you covered.
But what if you’re not some dumb working class cliche of a shit-starting hardass with a heart of gold? What if you’re me? Alas, Coolest Tshirt do not have any sweatshirts that would apply to my own relationship with my mother like
SON OF A
MENTALLY ILL MOTHER
SHE ABANDONED ME AS A BABY
LEAVING ME WITH
A LOT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES
I’M TRYING NOT TO PASS ONTO MY OWN CHILDREN
GUILT RIDDEN CHILD OF A
FREAKING AWESOME DAD
WHO WRESTLES WITH
POVERTY AND SERIOUS ILLNESS
WHO COULD NOT BE MORE
MISERABLE IN HIS NURSING HOME
I WISH I COULD DO MORE
BUT I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY
Alas, these are the kinds of painfully honest messages that will never appear on a Coolest Tshirt sweatshirt and while I do think my dad is, in fact, freaking awesome, I have yet to encounter a novelty tee-shirt that does justice to the depth, complexity and power of our relationship.
But I’ll keep on looking, because I’m sure that the novelty tee-shirt that applies to me, and only me, is out there, I just need to keep scouring the Jersey boardwalk and Coolest Tshirts’ website in order to find it.
I make my living largely through crowd-funding so if you would visit and consider pledging over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace it would be awesome
OR you can contribute to the Kickstarter for my The Weird Accordion to Al book over at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weirdaccordiontoal/make-the-weird-accordion-to-al-book-a-ridiculous-r?ref=user_menu