Throwback Thursday: A story of shirts and sweat. This was written back in 2017, but I still have most of the clothes.
Tennis players are a bunch of cheap bastards, and for 40 years, I fit right in. Then I made the mistake of taking the wife to Indian Wells.
Now, I could learn to fly jets for what this shit is costing me.
When I was living on a teacher’s wage (50 cents a year above poverty) tennis “cost” was maybe $200 a year — racquets, shoes and balls…
Got suckered into the corporate world, so I joined the 3rd world club for $80 a month.
I’d just wear cotton T-shirts and gym shorts — basically spent nothing on clothes. The wife didn’t care.
Then we went to see the pros. Indian Wells has fucking expensive tickets and food on site is like a goddamn NFL game.
But what the hell, it’s a one-time cost and we get to see Larry Ellison’s grand vision. Instant replays for line calls on every court, and 20-something-girlfriends for the dicks of Palm Springs. (Everyone knows that’s not your niece, you dirty-old-bastard.)
It’s March and it’s 97-degrees. The wife and I are broiling in the sun. We decided to look for a cool shady spot and a drink.
We found $20 margaritas. It was a cheap-ass plastic cup and the margs were marginal. But they said: “No Fault Margarita”.
She must have a set of 8 glasses. That’s nearly a year’s worth of playing tennis poured out in one day.
I was not allowed to dig the plastic cups out of the trash. We must purchase and polish off each drink. The drunkenness helped me get over being pissed at the price.
Carnival of Clothes
We are halfway to the full set of “glasses”, when she spots “The Tent.”
It’s sitting in the middle of the grounds and air-conditioned. It’s cool and dark inside, and I’m already sunburned. I can’t leave.
It’s filled from flap to flap with the latest in tennis “fashion”. Fuck.
In the first 27 years of marriage, we both would have cringed at the scene and left.
But my wife, who is unpredictable (you know, like a Bear) keeps holding up lime green shirts or orange shorts or some bright blue splatter of patterns on hats and socks… “Do you like this one?” She asks with each lift.
I started out with my typical answer to 99 percent of her questions: “Sure, whatever you like.” That’s the secret to a long-term marriage, son. Have no opinions and ask for nothing.
But the piles of clothing kept getting higher and higher in the cart.
“Do you like this one?”
Time to change my game: “Fuck, I don’t know.”
It went in the cart. Shit.
“Do you like this one?”
“Kinda girly.” It went back on the rack.
“I’d look like a fat hippie.” Back on the rack.
Through a slew of such excuses, I cut the number in half. I checked the price tag on one shirt ($100). Jesus Fucking Christ on a Cross.
Sunburn or no sunburn, I just couldn’t bring myself to witness this atrocity. I left. I’m still not sure what the final bill was.
When we drove out of Indian Wells, there were 8 new tennis “outfits”. Shirts, shorts, socks, hats, sweatbands and some other bullshit.
It’s a 5-hour drive back to Az. I’m silent, almost unconsolable.
“You are going to look so good,” she kept saying.
We both know that’s fucking impossible. I’m kind of like Trump Tower. You can cover it in gold-plated signs, but it will always be shit on a shingle.
“You know these are dry fit clothes, so it’s really going to wick away the sweat,” she said.
I measure my sweat in “puddles”. On a cloudy day, people often look at all the water on my side of the net and ask “is it raining over there?”
For first few times wearing “dry fit”, they wick sweat pretty well. But after a month, they smell like an army surplus tent from the Korean Conflict.
At first, the wife said, “That’s not the shirt, honey, that’s you.” But eventually even she had to agree — it’s the fucking shirts and shorts.
I say it’s all in a plot from Nike, Adidas and these other sweat-shop, rip off, fucking sports fashionistas.
Suck your wife into the colors and then make her buy more new crap because the old shit smells like a dank mix of moose musk and motor oil.
I don’t even get the buying questions anymore. Every few months, the Visa bill shoots up like a North Korean Rocket and more shirts and shorts arrive.
“Don’t worry honey,” she says. “It’s a Dry Fit.”
You can say that again — not even a little vaseline before I get screwed again.