When Henry came downstairs on the day of the Big Butler Fair, his torso was modeling a brand new nondescript t-shirt in a garish hue of jack-o-lantern.
“Nice orange shirt,” I exclaimed on a rocking bed of laughter and derision.
“It’s not orange,” Henry snapped. “It’s melon.”
As if that was supposed to make me stop laughing.
There are many facets of Henry’s life that I have my thighs squeezed around in a death grip, but his fashion sense is not one. I have made futile efforts in the past to get him to break free from generic, joyless threads mostly purchased from Wal-Mart but eventually I had to concede, wave the white flag, turn my attention to dressing my kid instead. Henry’s dresser full of boring, plain and Faygo-printed t-shirts is pretty much all he has left to his identity and manhood.
(It probably doesn’t help that I was trying to groom him into a singer from a post-hardcore band, swathed in Drop Dead Clothing sweaters and neck tattoos.)
My new friend Seri met us at the fairgrounds that afternoon with her husband Pete and their two sons, Aldy and Max. Apparently, Pete had originally attempted to wear his own nondescript orange shirt to the fair that day, but Seri made him change. So after the obligatory introductions were over, Pete and Henry had a special moment of “I can relate to you.” Henry’s first impression of Pete was probably a confusing cocktail of empathy and pity garnished with a burgeoning bromance twist.
However, when Pete was talking about his own orange shirt, Henry was quick to interject, “My shirt is melon, not orange.” My blue-collared boyfriend has turned into a color-snob hipster overnight. Next he’ll be insisting I call him my “cerulean-collared boyfriend.”
My brother Corey came out to the fair later that evening and when I texted him our whereabouts, I tacked on, “Just look for Henry’s orange t-shirt. It looks like he’s single-handedly promoting Halloween.”
And Snooki’s skin tone.
And the FLYERS.
No Orange Shirts Allowed on the Wacky Worm.
It was easy to spot Henry each time the rest of us lively non-old humans would go on rides; he would lumber around the fairgrounds, toting my iCarly messenger bag and wasting money on all the nearby games that he never wins and even if he did, no one would be impressed.
DON’T DRIP ICE CREAM ON THE ORANGE SHIRT OMG!
When I was on the ferris wheel with Seri, it was fun to seek him out in the crowds below, like Waldo on fire. But then I noticed that quite a few other men were also wearing bright orange shirts, though theirs were advertising plumbing companies, Harley Davidson, strip clubs and guns.
Seri mistakenly referred to The Shirt as “cantaloupe,” which made Henry snap for the 87th time that day, “MELON!”
I always thought cantaloupe was a melon, but I guess not when applied to the Color Wheel.
It’s surprising he would even let me this close to him after 9 hours of ridiculing his orange shirt.
Some day, I’m going to snatch all of his nondescript shirts (or “blank,” as Pete prefers to call them) and screenprint Jonny Craig’s face all over them.