Before I begin: I’ve updated my “weekly picks by carrots” page. Check it out!
The receptionist at the writing center is grouchy in a delightful sort of way, and every morning as he pages through the Houston Chronicle he reads aloud news items and editorials he finds offensive or ridiculous. On Thursday, he voiced out his indignation toward George F. Will, whose column railed against blue jeans. George calls denim the “infantile uniform” of our “juvenilized” nation.
Because the tutors who work at the writing center are word geeks — spending hours, for example, explaining to students why the word they discovered through their word processor’s thesaurus function is not exactly right — we were really struck with the idea of calling jeans “infantile.”
“Babies rarely wear blue jeans,” one tutor pointed out.
“You’re right,” I said. “They wear onesies.”
“Yes! Adults wearing onesies. That would be an infantile uniform for a juvenilized nation.”
I know that many adults have returned to footy pajamas. Some even dare to regress to the butt-flap variety. But we were thinking of genuine onesies: the kind that snap between the legs and often feature witty sayings that are meant to amuse adults and, presumably, humiliate babies. We soon realized that, on adults, many of these witty onesies would be less funny and more creepy. Take, for instance, this one:
Not so funny anymore, is it? A little too literal when a grown man wears it, perhaps. What about this one? Yikes.
I enjoy the funny onesie as much as the next aunt bent on dressing her nephew or godson like a hip and slightly cynical young person — a child who would never deign to wear anything featuring Classic Pooh.* But wow. Thinking about adult onesies made me realize: we love to laugh at babies wearing inappropriate slogans. We love dressing up kids in sexual innuendos and politically incorrect and even cruelly blunt social commentary. And, of course, babies are never funnier than when their clothing prominently features potty humor.
But what would you do if you saw a middle-aged woman walking down the street wearing an iPoop onesie?
What if you came in to work to find your boss wearing a shirt with the cheeky equation “Mommy & Daddy + Martini = Me”?
* Okay, I admit it. I think Classic Pooh is cute. And have you read the Pooh books lately? Not the cartoonish Disney versions, but the A. A. Milne books? Genius! So funny.