I was poking around in a T.J. Maxx the other day (because I only shop at the very finest fashion houses, such as Targét and an exclusive haute couture establishment known as Goodwill Industries) and I came across a shirt that looked sort of strange . . . yet intriguingly so. It was butter-soft, a soothing mauvey-grey-beige tone that promised to be the perfect neutral, and it fell in luxurious drapes. I held it up in front of my body and something inside my heart said yes. Yes, this shirt will be the amazing blend of comfort and glamour I have always wanted. I imagined pairing it with yoga pants for lounging around the house in a laid-back, yet wildly attractive manner; I imagined wearing it with heels and eye-catching jewelry and feeling myself flooded with pure confidence as men and woman alike stopped dead in their tracks and stared, mesmerized by the effortlessly chic vision that stood before them.

I clutched The Shirt—for that it how it came to be known in my mind, as an object worthy of capitalization—to my chest, faintly worried that someone else would be equally drawn in by its charms and take the last size M, and ferried my glorious discovery to the fitting room. I very nearly didn’t bother with this step, as I was so utterly certain it would be like Cinderella’s glass slipper, but I also couldn’t wait to see the transformation take place.

Once I was properly undressed and unpleasantly illuminated under the T.J. Maxx fluorescents, the first creeping doubt set in. The Shirt had all sorts of interesting folds, to be sure, but it also seemed to have more holes than what, strictly speaking, seemed to be necessary. No matter, I thought, it will resolve itself once it’s on, because this is the sort of Shirt that can’t be done justice by some sort of mere hanger. It requires a human body to come to life, and clearly I was meant to be that body.

I slipped it over my head, and that’s when the trouble started. There was an immediate indication that something had gone wrong—my arms were stuck out at strange angles and my face was buried in fabric. When I attempted to backtrack, I found myself pulling yards and yards of cloth around in a fruitless effort to get my head through the right section. Caught in a sea of mauve-grey-beige, I started to panic.

Blindly, I rooted around with the tip of my nose, attempting to push my way facefirst through The Shirt. My arms were trapped and it felt as though sections of cloth were hanging down to the floor while another areas were tightening around my left ear, and I began to flail around and knock into the walls of the fitting room, which were narrowing in some sort of nightmarish horror movie scenario.

I don’t know how long I spent locked in a death grip with The Shirt, but just when I was thinking I’d have to start bellowing for help, my head popped through an opening and my arms were suddenly free. I was panting and faintly sweaty and felt more than a little as though I’d been birthed from the canal of some terrible cotton-beast, but I took a deep breath and turned to face the mirror. After all that, I was surely going to look like a goddamned goddess. Il faut souffrir pour etre belle, no?

This. This is what I saw.


I can still remember when, as a child, I finally received the Amazing Live Sea Monkeys I’d ordered from the back of a comic book. I was in a frenzy of anticipation to see my little pet family cavorting around in their “bowl of happiness,” swimming and performing stunts and obeying my every command. And oh, the resentful disappointment when I discovered they were nothing more than a pile of dream-killing brine shrimp.

I can now say I have experienced a letdown even worse than Sea Monkeys, friends. I hope whoever designed that Shirt goes straight to hell, where there’s nothing to wear but stupid unflattering outfits festooned with inexplicable holes, and nothing to eat but shrimp brined in the salty sorrow of in bitter, bitter tears.


64 Responses to “The Sea Monkey Shirt”

  1. Lisamae23 on August 4th, 2011 2:07 pm

    Eye-wateringly funny! Can’t thank you enough.

  2. Sabrina on August 4th, 2011 9:37 pm

    Your hair looks amazing – I second the step by step hair tutorial!

  3. Samantha on August 5th, 2011 8:01 am

    God, I really hope you bought the shirt. It’s awesome!

  4. Mia on August 5th, 2011 10:03 am

    Am I the only one who was super excited that you had found a t-shirt w/pictures of the “Sea Monkey” ad on it? Cuz I was, and was really pissed that I didn’t have one too.

  5. lisa-marie on August 5th, 2011 10:18 am

    Actually I thought it looked great on you. I hope you bought it!

  6. Deanna on August 6th, 2011 7:22 am

    You look fabulous! Great post… Still waiting for your book!

  7. AC on August 6th, 2011 8:16 pm

    F*cking TJ Maxx, seriously.

  8. mnerva on August 6th, 2011 10:21 pm

    I finally had to post that I actually OWN this shirt and love it! And I think it looks great on you. Also, like all above, love the suspicious look and awesome hair.

  9. kakaty on August 7th, 2011 5:59 pm

    I saw a woman in this shirt at Target this afternoon and was giggling like mad. It looked AWFUL on her – like she was wearing a torn burlap sack.

  10. Sharla on August 8th, 2011 12:41 pm

    You look awesome in that shirt.

  11. Anais on August 8th, 2011 8:06 pm

    This reminds me of my “Dress of Doom” incident that I experienced at Goodwill. I had convinced my friends to have an “Ugly Dress Party,” and the challenge was to go thrifting and find the most hideous dress possible, wear it to the party paired with a hideous hairdo and awful accessories, and the best outfit would win some sort of prize. It was supposed to be fun and funny. Mind you, I shop at Goodwill quite often, but never for such a purpose. Anyway, I was browsing the dress section and yanked out, from within the tangled dress beast’s bowels, the absolutely most HIDEOUS getup I had ever laid eyes on. It was like a cross between a mermaid costume and a sequined disco nightmare in shades of green, purple and cobalt blue. It was PERFECT! I practically ran to the fitting room without even bothering to check the size first. Once in the fitting room, I realized that it seemed a tad small for me, but thought that perhaps the “tightness” might be an added bonus to complete the nightmarish ensemble for the party. Well, HARDY HAR HAR! Was the joke ever on me! The dress went over my head and boobs okay and I was all smiles as I felt the fabric sliding downward. All of sudden, with my arms raised through the top opening of the dress, I realized that it was no longer sliding down. I tried to wriggle this way and that and the dress wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t even move my arms. I was completely and hopelessly stuck. It started getting hot in there and the tulle was making me scratchy. I tried pulling it off by maneuvering my wrists, to no avail. I latched on and pulled with all my might until my arms were dead tired. I crashed into the fitting room walls, completely blind and was close to hyperventilating. By now, I had yanked it a certain way so that it had partially pulled my bra upward and one boob just hung outside of its cup amidst the tulle and sequins. I cursed the fact I didn’t have scissors handy and prayed to God to get me out of that situation without having to call for help. I even contemplated grabbing my cell and asking my friend to bring me scissors to cut the damned dress off. I then tried tearing it, but again- nothing. I finally mustered the last of my strength and pulled that evil gown as hard as I could, spraining my wrist and freeing myself of the demon. When I looked in the mirror and saw my sweaty, messy hair and face and exposed breast, I seriously contemplated buying the dress ($4), taking it home and BURNING it.

  12. Anais on August 8th, 2011 8:18 pm

    By the way, your hair looks fabulous in the picture. Plus, I think the shirt looks great, too.

  13. Christina on August 10th, 2011 7:45 pm

    I was expecting MUCH worse before I got to the picture lol. But this? It’s actually a cute shirt!

    I too, have gotten trapped in clothing at TJ Maxx before!

  14. Peter Schröder on December 16th, 2011 4:29 pm

    You are an absolutly sexy woman. Super hot.

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