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Justin Eckl

As someone who considers himself fairly attuned to the idea that by wearing clothes we are not only attempting to shield our bodies from the ravages of both the elements and the scrutiny of others but are also conveying a message about who we are, what am I supposed to think when I see some dangerously old lady with a shirt on that says, “Just Do Me?” Or a better question might be: When would someone wearing such a garment not be attempting to tell the world that she’s more or less some kind of sexual dynamo? Answer: When she lives in Korea.
Where is a shirt worn by a seven-year-old boy that reads “TAKE YOUR TOP OFF” not really a big deal at all? Where is a shirt that says “Skinny White Bitch” not worn by a skinny white bitch? Where is another severely old lady rocking a Fubu hat not funny as hell? Again, I’m sorry to be hammering this home so hard, but there is a lack of confusion in advertising in Korea when it comes to English on clothing that’s too much to ignore.
Much of this is due to two simple facts: 1) If someone’s wearing a T-shirt here and there’s writing on it, it’s going to be in English; 2) Most Korean people don’t speak English that well. And here’s the important part: They don’t really care what their shirt says because no one else here does either.
This is all to say that I’ve actually come a long way from the hyper-conscious “What does your t-shirt mean?” clothing culture of middle America to not care myself. I am now able to walk past — without laughing — people with the shirts on that say (I’m not lying on this) “Jesus Loves Even Me” or the guy who has a shirt that says “THIS IS MY GIRLFRIEND” with the arrow pointing in one direction and he’s walking alone.
Yup, I’ve come a long way.