For most people the reason for clothes is to make them look more attractive, cover their nudity, and give them a fun reason to go shopping. Have you ever thought, however, of the different ways clothes can have a significant effect on you other than my previous reflection?
I think the best way to explain what I’m trying to say is to describe an incident that happened a while ago. I was in a diner having lunch when a rather heavyset woman came in with a small child and attempted to place the child in a highchair next to her table. In order to do so she had to bend over and put him in the chair while he was waving his arms and legs frantically, which made it very difficult. She was wearing a very thin sun dress which got caught between her ample butt cheeks as she leaned forward fussing and struggling with the child. Ordinarily, I would have continued to eat and read my paper, but for some reason I couldn’t turn away from their distracting encounter.
I remember thinking, “Damn, that must feel so uncomfortable,” as I tried to ignore the dress, her butt, and their struggle, with little success.
I realized at some point that I was not only feeling uncomfortable for her but was beginning to feel as if the fabric of her flowered sundress was stuck up my butt as well – a vicarious reaction for sure, but still the sensation, although obviously psychological, was beginning to make me very uncomfortable. So much so that I reached out towards her to pull the dress from her buttocks myself, but in hindsight, (pardon the pun,) thought better of it and stopped myself before she could see what I was about to do. After a few minutes of determined resistance, and the sense of her dress up my butt getting even stronger, I thought of a much better solution.
“Excuse me, ma’am, I’d be pleased to help you with your child, if you’d like…”
And before she could answer yes or no I plucked the gyrating child from her arms, jammed him into the highchair and was greatly relieved when out of the corner of my eye I saw her pluck the dress from her butt. Delighted with my decision to do what I did, I waited with a broad smile on my face for a relieved thank-you from her but was taken aback when she stared me down and growled:
“As much as I’d like to thank you for your help, I’d appreciate it if you would be a little more aware of the effect you have on others and try not to venture out in public with your fly as wide open as it is, sir! Goodbye – there’s no way I’ll sit my child next to someone so oblivious to how he affects others around him!”
Then, as she attempted to yank her child from the highchair, he started twisting again, preventing her from getting him loose and, with a huge sigh of exasperation, she just carried him out with the highchair bouncing along behind her.
When I looked down at my crotch I was dismayed – no, let me rephrase that – I was freaking shocked to see that, not only was my fly wide open, but the only portion of my “CLUB MED” underwear that was showing through the opening was the name “CLUB,” in big red letters.
That was only the second time I’d had what I guess you might call an open-fly incident. The first time was shortly after I’d gotten a request from CBS Records to get the group back together and record a new album. As a way to promote the release, they booked us at a club in New York called “The Bottom Line.” We’d played numerous NY clubs before that but none as renowned as The Bottom Line. Just about every famous band, singer, and comedian had performed there, so this was really big. I had rehearsed the show in my mind over and over that day, and while waiting in the wings a few minutes before being introduced I was as nervous as hell, hoping nothing would go wrong.
Our opening number was a song I had written especially for the show titled, “I Can’t Wait to Show What I’m Saving Just for You.” When I heard the drum roll and surging rhythm of the music I led the guys out on stage with my heart pumping, my senses soaring, and my voice belting out the first few lines of the song. As the audience responded with voluminous applause I saw a number of people in the first few rows pointing at me with delight.
“Oh, my god, they remember me!” I marveled as I danced across the stage to the rhythm of the song. Then I noticed that their fingers were pointing lower than I’d realized at first, and when I glanced down I was stunned to see that my fly was wide open.
One of the gags I used on stage occasionally was to tuck a folded fake bouquet of flowers inside my jacket and pull it out when we sang “A Flower Grows” from the song, “I Believe,” and in that instant of complete humiliation I had what I thought was the best idea that ever came to me while on stage.
(Let me deviate from the story for just a moment to interject a thought. At times I like to offer a little wisdom in my blogs, and I can’t think of a better time than now. So with little regard to whether you find this beneficial or not I’ll offer it anyway.
“Instead of judging yourself for making a mistake, figure out a way to make it seem intentional, and you’ll appear to be brilliant rather than foolish.”)
And that’s what I did that night. I turned my back to the audience, snuck the bouquet into my pants, and then turned with the flowers sticking out from my fly when we belted out the last resounding chorus of the song. As the audience applauded mightily and laughed hysterically, trying to add some humor to an embarrassing situation, I said into the mic:”
“I was as surprised as you when with a glance…
I saw these flowers in my pants.
But rather than try to hide them away…
I decided to show them in full display.”
Now you may think the decision was poor,
and made you have to unfortunately endure,
something that made you want to curse.
But think bout it – it could have been worse”
Although in retrospect, something that felt so brilliant to me at the time seems not quite as clever now. I know I’m not the first person who’d like to forget having had a bad encounter regarding clothes. Take Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s Superbowl incident, now infamously known as “NippleGate.” What about Lady Gaga at the MTV Music Video awards wearing a dress made of raw beef, which was referred to as the Meat Dress? And of course the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions – while in reality, they make no clothes at all, and when the emperor stands before the people nude, in what he believes are new clothes, no one says a word until a small child points to him and cries out:
“He isn’t wearing anything at all!”
I think these examples clearly illustrate the point I was trying to make at the top of the blog. Clothes can say more about you in addition to making you look more attractive, covering your nudity, or giving you a fun reason to go shopping. There’s a quote by Mark Twain that I believe best illuminates my point. He said:
“Naked people have little or no influence on society!”
I think at that moment it became quite obvious that he’d never been to a strip club!