And They’re Certainly Not Showing Any Signs That They Are Slowing


Check out my new Experiment Video Blog post over on YourTubes! 

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 12.15.24 AM

Cummerbund & Co. represents a very real place that I was taken by a former boss. A place where men of means looked at things that cost multiple thousands of dollars and said words like, “I’ll take this one in every color, plus shoes, belts, ties, socks, etc.” And then other men that looked very much like Comstock would reply, “Certainly, Sir. Are you measurements on file up to date?” And then guys like me would go, “WHAT THE FUCKING SHITFIST IS GOING ON HERE IS THIS THE GODDAMN TWILIGHT ZONE IS EVERYONE CRAZY AM I IN A PLAY THAT I DON’T REMEMBER SIGNING UP FOR WHUUUUUUUUUT ISSSSSS HAAAAPEEEEENNNNNIIIIIIING?!?!?!?” 

It’s little revelations like that, learning that the path you’re on leads to a place you don’t want to go, that can cause you to reevaluate your choices. It is important that I make a distinction here. I am a proponent of following your own passion; doing the thing that you love to the fullest extent you are able to do it for as long as you are able. Some people are passionate about suits. I have friends that are passionate about suits. I do not begrudge them their love of wearing certain kinds of clothing, even extremely expensive, or fancy clothing, any more than I would begrudge a member of the 501st from saving up a couple grand for a super spiffy Storm Trooper outfit. It was the way in which this particular store was arranged, and how the particular people in it were behaving. It was soulless. “That is expensive and has the right label. Give me a bunch of that so I can feel like the kind of guy who wear’s that sort of thing,” was the vibe, and the vibe was gross.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever been to a place (a party, a club, a store, a business) that made every single particle in your body scream “THIS IS WRONG WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE!!!” 

I usually feel this way in shops where people with an excess of money are spending that excess on excessively expensive excess-ories. Another boss once took me in a Coach leather store to buy his girlfriend a purse. There were maybe 10 items displayed in an enormous shop, and none of them had price tags. He said something like, “I don’t know, she likes this kind of shit I guess.” I looked out the window of the shop at a woman passing by. She was pushing a stroller. I mouthed the words, “CALLLLL THEEEE POOOOLIIIIIIICE…”


Comments (59)

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UnderTheDark's avatar

UnderTheDark · 85 weeks ago

I have read that fic! Which fic was that? I feel the sudden urge to dig through my AO3 history…
I play with race cars. This requires money (old joke: “How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large fortune”). I don’t have even a small fortune, so mostly I volunteer as a track marshal. This lets me stay involved with racing but without that whole sacrifice-everything-else-in-your-life-including-food-and-basic-shelter-for this vibe.

But my local race track is a country club, except that instead of a golf course, swimming pool full of nubile-but-legal daughters of wealthy members, and tennis courts like a “regular” country club, it has a race track and people wearing Nomex fire suits when they’re not in greasy workin’ on the car clothes. And not so many nubile-but-legal daughters. But that’s okay: by marshaling, I get track time when I need it and sometimes get paid to work events there. But there are two kinds of Premium Members: those who have metric fucktons of money, but you’d never know it except the dinner check disappears in their presence faster than you can reach for it (cool), and those who have metric fucktons of money and want everyone to know it.

The brand-name dropping is CONTINUOUS. “Well, I could buy this quarter-million-dollar McLaren, but then where would I park the Bentley? It’s only a month old. I guess I could let my stripper-girlfriend-assistant drive it.” and “I could get kicked out of the Porsche club if they found out I was even talking to you about that Ferrari!”, pitched loud enough to make sure everyone in the garage heard it.

Meanwhile, I drove there in my 14-year-old truck with 300,000 miles on the odometer (it’s not my newest vehicle. My newest vehicle is exactly 2 weeks newer than the truck and needs a fuel pump before I can drive it again).

You can guess which group of members I’d rather be around. The others, I just want to punch in the nards before running away.

6 replies · active 85 weeks ago

Yeah. That sort of shit.

The two quotes in my post? Real, except substitute “McLaren” for “Ferrari”. The guy has a 911 GT2 RS (one of less than 100 in the US) and the McLaren sales guy was pitching him the MP4-12C.

The guy with the Bentley and the stripper-girlfriend-assistant has a 911 GT3 RS and an older GT3 Cup race car and spent the day with his Nomex suit sleeves tied around his waist, showing his Cool Shirt. The girlfriend-assistant showed up later in a 2-generation-old Benz C-class sedan with a nearly-flat tire and the right side of it scraped off by what looked to be several encounters with a garage door opening. My party decided the Bentley’s half-life in her care was a week.

The guy who organized that particular event makes a good chunk of his money putting evangelical churches on TV. Ah, Texas…

If nothing else, it’s good for a laugh.

Richter12x2's avatar

Richter12x2 · 85 weeks ago

He can’t be real money, then. Everyone knows te MP4-12C is the poor man’s McLaren.
They had one to demo. The P1s haven’t hit yet. 🙂
That’s an interesting perspective. If the thing you love is a thing that ONLY comes in Expensive, REALLY Expensive and Unobtainable flavors it has to be hard to find your place within the culture that surrounds it.
There’s always the 24 Hours of LeMons crapcan racers. (There’s a rival series, ChumpCar, with similar rules but lacking the whimsy of LeMons.) $500 cars (exclusive of safety equipment), with oddball/obscure makes strongly encouraged, ill-advised engine swaps recommended, and bribing of the series officials with booze and goodies almost mandatory. The people at all levels are delightfully crazy. I worked a 24-hour race with them last month. Exhausting but tons of fun.

My race car is cheap (it’s a prepped ’97 Dodge Neon I got at a fire-sale price), but the expense comes from the cost of entry into the races with the club I run with (SCCA) — I can drop close to $500 just on an entry fee, and all told, that weekend will run me $800-1500 depending on whether or not I need to buy tires.

I got my start in, and still do when I can, a cheap(er) form of motorsport called autocross. It’s not wheel-to-wheel, but time-trials around tight courses set up with cones in big parking lots/airport aprons, that kind of thing. Entry: $25-40. And I can run most of a year on one set of tires. Still a lot of fun, because of the people.

The tribe of turn marshals is an entity unto itself. We look after the drivers, sure, but we look after each other first and foremost. Because of the danger (I’m sure some here saw the big crash at the Houston Indy Car race earlier in the month. That started about 10 feet from me & my team. I’m the Really Big Guy in white in many of the fan videos that litter YouTube and the official TV coverage), one of the highest compliments a marshal can give is “I trust that person to watch my back.”

It’s a lot like going to a con: we’ll share rooms, rides, resources, plan group trips to certain races, put up traveling marshals in our homes for local races, etc. One of my guys at Houston was part of a contingent of folks from San Francisco who came out for our race; and I put a friend from Tulsa up in my guest bedroom ’cause he’s out of work right now but wanted to come help (and he’s really good at it).

Which reminds me: I’ve got to email my pal B to let him know the extra bed in my room for the Formula 1 race in Austin is his if he wants it. My friends from Florida aren’t able to come this year.

Orf's avatar

Orf · 85 weeks ago

I feel this every time I visit my brother in Manhattan. Everything from the cabs “WHY DO YOU WANT TO KILL US OH GOD NO HELP ME OH THIS IS OUR STOP HERE’S A TIP” to the constant stream of humanity that never ends “OH GOD WHY ARE YOU STANDING THERE” makes me feel like the slow-walking, Western (US) outsider that I am. I got a coffee at a corner deli and they gave it to me in a paper bag LIKE THAT WASN’T TOTALLY FUCKING WEIRD! Anyway, Manhattan is a land of contrasts.

4 replies · active 84 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I’m definitely a country boy, I feel anxious anywhere more crowded than the non-downtown parts of Portland.
Manhattan is super weird, but it’s the kind of weird that I enjoy visiting. It’s like taking a short trip to another planet in another dimension. Knowing I get to go home eventually allows me to enjoy the oddities. The idea of living there; raising a kid there terrifies me.
Tom's avatar

Tom · 85 weeks ago

Living in Manhattan (or in my case, Brooklyn just one subway stop away from Manhattan) is actually pretty awesome, at least when you’re single or married but childless. My wife and I are having a great time. But I totally agree on the idea of raising a kid here. We’re getting the hell out before that happens.
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Junkyard · 85 weeks ago

“Comstock” is a sufficiently rare name that I can’t hear it without thinking of crazy preachers.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago


I think of pie filling.


My (limited) experience of expensive restaurants and hotels suggest to me that there are 2 types of them: “wannabe” establishments, which want to be seen as upper-class and exclusive, and therefore look down their nose at anyone who seems to fail to meet their standards of dress/money/etc, and “authentic” establishments, who are sufficiently secure in their own identity that they happily accept anyone, regardless of their appearance, and make everyone feel welcome.

3 replies · active 85 weeks ago


One of the amusements of living in Houston is that you can’t really tell if that guy driving the white F350 is a lowly oilfield roughneck living in a trailer or the wildcatter/rancher living in a gated mansion. The result, however, is that I can walk into one of the most highly-regarded restaurants in the country in my work polo and Levis and be treated with the same courtesy as the guy in the suit at the next table. Yes, there are some “traditional” fancy places (notably some of the old-school steakhouses) were you need to dress accordingly, but there are more and more places here where that’s gone out the window because the owners of those places, typically younger themselves, would rather make good food (or sell you that Lamborghini) than be caught up in pretense.

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I grew up just outside Santa Fe, and it was almost creepy. You go from the main town to the “old town” tourist areas and it turned into a parody of itself. In some cases it wasn’t much of a visual change but everyone just seemed to be trying harder to be laid-back and southwestern.
Las Vegas is that taken to an extreme. It’s a plastic scale model of parts of the real world, carefully assembled into a machine dedicated to separating tourists from their money. Whenever I’m there, I keep waiting for one of the locals to spot me, drop his human guise, and talk into his watch: “We’ve got one who can see!”
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42C · 85 weeks ago

Somehow I found myself involved in choosing between to major software systems for our company. The 10 hour sales pitches and demos nearly made me reconsider my carreer path entirely. The most awkward part were the fancy meals with the sales people. Sitting at wearing my Kohls brand shirt and tie with a bunch of old men wearing expensive suits eating $250+ meals was way outside my comfort zone. The dinner conversation was prorbably the worst, listening to a bunch of rich white men talk politics when they don’t think anyone not “like them” is around can get pretty sickening. In truth it wasn’t all bad but the idea that I was on the fast track to becoming a part of that bunch was a little frightening.

I have since moved on to world without suits and ties with a much more interesting and diverse group of people. I’m not entirely sure if I made the right decision but not being creeped out by who I’m becoming is definitely a perk.

I feel that way about spas. Spas totally creep me out. From the ridiculous array of totally organic chemicals designed to make you naturally look like nothing nature intended to a bevy of people who get paid to touch you in ways that make you feel good but totally aren’t borderline prostitutes.

I have tried to do the spa thing a few times. If other people are willing to spend goo gobs of money on this stuff, it must have some redeeming value, right? I mean, I have learned that expensive suits are worth the money, if you put value on looks and comfort. But I still can’t get comfortable with anything resembling a spa.

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

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supercalisto · 85 weeks ago

Ha! That’s funny as I work in a spa at the front desk. Most of the money your paying for at the spa is for the skill of a good therapist (most of our services are massages) and that’s nothing to do with making you look good but making you feel good. In Canada we can claim massages on our health insurance so most people don’t end up paying crazy money because they just claim it back. The only thin close to what you describe above could be facials, but other then cleaning, scrubbing your skin I wouldn’t say it make you look unnatural. Makes me wonder what the hell kinda spa you’ve been to.

Personally I hate clubs I’ve been twice in the my lie and the music and type of people and their behavior made me hate it so much and I cant understand how anyone enjoys it.

Im the opposite. I LOVE spas. Were I wealthy that is probably the one “pampering” type thing that I would pay for with reckless abandon.
A friend of mine was looking to buy a club chair. We walked into a furniture store on the main road and went inside for a look. Right as we entered the store they had a club chair next to the front door. We looked at the price and said “Ops! Wrong store.” And walked out. The chair was over $1000 and we didn’t even like it before looking at the price.

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

My wife and I have done that dance before. The problem is that good furniture, stuff that will last for more than a few years just IS expensive. $1000 for a chair is a lot, but $500? If it lasts for 10+ years that’s super reasonable. The living room furniture we spent $1500 on almost 8 years ago is just now starting to fall apart.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I got to go furniture shopping with my dad when they moved this year. Went to an Amish furniture store. The prices were high, but the last Amish table they had still has my teethmarks from 30 years ago.
stand's avatar

stand · 85 weeks ago

I get that feeling in Las Vegas. The airport, the casinos, restaurants, clubs, pretty much anywhere. It’s filled with people like that. Everyone tries to project this image of being really important. I can’t understand why anyone thinks of that as fun.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 85 weeks ago

It’s much like Chris Hardwick says: “As a sober adult, Vegas from far away looks like a glittery stripper pole, but when you see it close up you just see a stripper pole covered in tears and feces.”
Allen's avatar

Allen · 85 weeks ago

They mean stock portfolios.
I bet he knew that.
Ceri's avatar

Ceri · 85 weeks ago

When I was in Rome on a two-week language course in my *mumblecough*th year at uni, some of my housemates talked me into going clubbing with them. I was about 10 years older than most of them at the time, and the last time I had been to a club was in high school. We ended up in the queue outside a dark door guarded by velvet ropes and a massive, bulldog-faced bouncer. All around us were tall, skinny, barely dressed Italian tween girls. I was wearing my least scruffy t-shirt and jeans and suddenly became extremely aware their sneers at my overweight-and-old-ness. I had to get out of there STAT.

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

I have extremely limited experience with “clubs” but I’m positive I would react the same way. The only exceptions are when the club or club-type environment is filled with people who are all there for the same reason. Once was on JoCo Cruise Crazy 3, and again was during the Cyanide And Happiness Banana Bar Crawl in Toronto. When everyone is there to have one, no one is trying to get laid by a stranger and everyone shares a common interest, it’s much easier to let go and have fun.
The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 85 weeks ago

And, it’s probably better than the gay model of going to bars to S&M: Stand & Model.
I’m sure straight people have scenes like that as well. 😎
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Bemmie · 85 weeks ago

I was recently in Paris, the homeless people made me feel underdressed and out of place… Was ordering dinner and after ordering food and drinks was asked, “and for wine?” I said no wine thanks, after that I’m not sure if she was looking at me or a cat who had vomited up something and died,

Never felt more like I didn’t belong, in a few cafés it was fine… Maybe in 50-60 years when I can afford to go again, we’ll go outside Paris…

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HikingViking · 85 weeks ago

Growing up in Orange County, CA felt like that. I can relate to your story about the excessive-ness of a store. But imagine this Joel: when you leave that store, you’re still in a land of excess. You might think, “Oh, I just need to get out of this overpriced shopping center with faux Spanish roofs. Maybe once I get on the road I’ll feel better.” But you’d be wrong. Instead, you’d be in traffic, stuck behind hundreds of the newest cars leased by people who feel the great need to show them off. Maybe you’d stop for lunch. You’d try to find a low-key place, but no matter how low-key you went, someone would be talking very loudly about INSERT BIG NAME HERE. And it would go on…and on. Until you left Orange County.

4 replies · active 85 weeks ago

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Rheinman · 85 weeks ago

I’m guessing those half circle red terra cotta tiles that figure prominenetly in the Taco Bell school of architecture
Dallas is actually a lot like that, only more spread out and no one is talking about Hollywood like they’re “in the biz.” There’s still an obscene amount of money down here and people do seem to enjoy flaunting it.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I used to like Whole Foods and their quality, back when my mom was paying for it (and deciding where we go, I wasn’t some whiny kid throwing a tantrum about organic produce). These days Safeway is fine, and less painful.
Steve's avatar

Steve · 85 weeks ago

Once when I was younger, I was at an area mall. Despite the fact that it was one of the last malls in a hundred mile radius to boast an arcade, I still felt ill at ease there. I seldom go back, though the feelings of dread are replaced by sorrow that the place’s anchor store is a Hobby Lobby.
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Fengor · 85 weeks ago

My mother and I went to London this past summer on a shoe string budget,and one of the things she really wanted to see was Harrod’s department store. Not only was this place like the Wonka Factory of malls (sadly I did not see any Oompa Loompas) but every store, every freaking store, made you feel poorer than the last.

Their collection of every Lego set ever made, was alone enough to make me realize that this was not a store where the common folk made purchases.

4 replies · active 85 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

Once visiting my grandparents in Chicago we went to an FAO Schwartz. It felt like a toy store for the rich and famous who would never even think of doing something so crass as playing with their toys.
HAH! I know EXACTLY what you mean. There’s almost nothing there an actual person could even purchase. $5000 stuffed elephants and $2000 Powerwheels cars. Who is that stuff even for? You can’t play with a 15 ft tall stuffed animal.
Fengor's avatar

Fengor · 85 weeks ago

Well…I can think of a few things one could do with a 15ft tall stuffed animal, and most of them are creepy or illegal.
Steve's avatar

Steve · 85 weeks ago

Miley Cyrus beat you to many of them.

…ooooo, too soon.

If you’re going to work to earn all this money, you might as well use it to enjoy yourself in the limited time you have.
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Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

For me it’s restaurants. My brain goes along the lines of “25 bucks for a steak dinner? I could buy for meals’ worth of steak and potatoes for that much. Granted since I’m a fat bastard it would last me about two meals but the point still stands!”

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

I’d say above $25 a head for a “special occasion” is where my comfort zone ends. Otherwise I want to feed my family of 3 for $35 with tip.
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Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

Yeah. I pulled the price off of when we were celebrating my cousin getting a college professor job. Delicious steak, but my personal quality/price scale tends to steer me toward “as long as it’s edible and doesn’t actually taste BAD.”
For a variety of reasons, last year I let a younger friend drag me to a college party. I discovered that although I’m still firmly in the middle range of 20’s, I am too damn old for that nonsense. Although, much like any club I’ve ever briefly gone to, I was never much of a fan in the first place.

I Can Show You The World


There’s a new signed print and poster in the new HE store! 

The Fifth Element meets Calvin And Hobbes” [PRINT or POSTER]
hijinks ensue calvin and hobbes fifth element print poster

COMMENTERS: Has anyone ever tried to share a place, store, food, experience that they ABSOLUTELY LOVE with you, somehow ignoring the fact that you ABSOLUTELY HATE that sort of thing? Did it broaden your horizons or further alienate you from something you already despised.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Tetris earrings!

Tetris Earings!


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Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 86 weeks ago

No, it’s usually me doing the showing and I end up feeling bad about things I like.

D&D, card games, video games, everything else I like… 🙁

I need to get to know some non-nerds.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 86 weeks ago

Er, I mean nerds. I only know non-nerds.
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Candace · 86 weeks ago

The only thing I can think of is when a friend turned me on to Dr. Who. I was pretty much already a science fiction geek, but was always dubious about Dr. Who because back in the ’70s and ’80s the special effects looked extra-cheesy even for cheesy sci-fi series. He convinced me to give it a shot, though, and once I started watching, I was hooked.

I’m not sure that really counts, though, since I was already into other science fiction series (original Star Trek, etc.) and other nerdy pursuits like AD&D. It wasn’t really completely outside my box, it was just deeper in than I’d ventured before.

I did try golfing with a family member once, which, although I didn’t develop a burning desire to start getting into golfing, caused me to develop a new respect for the game. (It’s harder than it looks. I didn’t do well. :-D) That was my choice, though – no one talked me into it – I just thought I would give it a try since I have multiple family members who are into it, and I figured I should try it out to see if I was missing out on something. (It was OK, but not compelling enough for me to decide to spend time and effort getting better at it.)

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Megdanger · 86 weeks ago

I am a nerd and my boyfriend is decidedly non-nerdy and all up in every sport ever, which I’ve dutifully ignores my whole life. Early on when we were dating he took me to a hockey game because it’s seriously his favorite thing and he wanted to share it with me and I didn’t want to be a jerk and long story short: hockey is awesome. It’s like ice skating with with violence!
R. W.'s avatar

R. W. · 86 weeks ago

Mmyeah, this is pretty much how I feel about all sports-related things all the time.
Adam D.'s avatar

Adam D. · 86 weeks ago

I have never been a fan of Indian food… it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just… it’s never appealed to me. One of my former co-workers would go, every Friday, without fail, to a local all you can eat Indian place. He begged me for months to go with him, and finally I relented one time, if for no other reason than to keep him from continually asking.

As soon as I stepped in, I knew I had made a mistake. Maybe it was the type of curry they were using, maybe it was the quantity… but the place absolutely REEKED of curry. I know intellectually when you go into an Indian restauraunt you will smell curry, but when it smells like everything was boiled in it for about 6 hours… not so appealing.

After a tortuously long hour, we departed, with him excitedly asking “So, would you like to go again?”
“Um… no thanks, I prefer Sushi on Fridays…”
“Sushi? man, they don’t cook the food there… there’s no smell.”
Never asked me again, blessedly.

(Anecdotally – I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala Curry from the British Beer Company, and it’s delicious, though true indian fans will berate my choice of the McDonald’s of curries)

DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 86 weeks ago

I feel like my husband does this crap to me all the time. I used to listen to pop music – now I’m totally a metal-head. (don’t get me started about radio metal)
There are a lot of TV shows or movies I don’t have an interest in, or have tried and didn’t stick with – but since he’s watching it and won’t shut up about it, I end up sitting through it. (wouldn’t know Whedon without it)

Never ever ever goes the other way, though. “You STILL haven’t watched Breaking Bad? And you don’t feel like you’re missing anything?”

Eleanor's avatar

Eleanor · 86 weeks ago

Every encounter I have ever had with any Anime fan. I have watched my fair share, and I don’t care for it. Didn’t hate it…..until the 25th Anime fan yelling at me that I just haven’t seen the RIGHT Animie yet kicked the toggle switch in my brain. Now someone just mentioning they like Anime is enough to start the eye twitch and the fist clenching and the stabby-stabby.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

My father had 4 box seat season tickets to Mets stadium first and second row right behind first base. He had them for about 25 years. I went four times. Each time all I did was watch the teleprompter and look for the snack vendors to get closer. 😉

2 replies · active 86 weeks ago

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PokeyPuppy · 86 weeks ago

Oh man, my family is NUTS for the Yankees. And I just can’t stand baseball, bores the crap out of me. I’ve tried, multiple times – don’t like playing it, don’t like watching it. Means I make more of an effort with the sports I do kind of like, though – basketball, volleyball, soccer…
I throw a super bowl party every year. I have a 70″ flat screen (for video games) and I never watch football. Makes me the perfect host for cooking and putting out the food. I never know who is in the super bowl until I get to the party store and buy super bowl themed paper plates. 😉
Spescase's avatar

Spescase · 86 weeks ago

All the time, I’m pretty willing to try new things usually, so when it comes to something I think I’ll hate I feel guilty not giving my friends at least a chance. MLP was something that alienated me more from it, because it was EXACTLY what I expected, a kids show, but then there is redneck culture which, as odd as it sounds, is actually kind of fun from time to time. They know how to party and I’ve only been involved in a few drunken brawls with them. Usually it’s all better in the sober anyway.
seriously's avatar

seriously · 86 weeks ago

Back when The Wire was still on I had a girlfriend who ranted and raved about how I needed to watch it with her. Never watched a single episode, and still feel like I missed nothing.

Although I did eventually turn her into a hardcore sci-fi nerd, so I guess I won that one.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

thebpm's avatar

thebpm · 86 weeks ago

I have a friend who has tried to get me into bubble tea on several occasions with different vendors, and each time I think, nope, texture’s still ALL WRONG.
People keep trying to get me into Homestuck. I think the concept is super neat and exciting, and it’s awesome to see someone doing something unique online, mixing media, etc. But I find the storyline really tedious, and if I need to slog through 100, 200, 300, etc updates or installations before something “gets good,” then the author has failed as an author. This is true for books and tv shows, too… If your entire first season is ass, I’m not going to watch it, you know?

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

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Runcibletune · 86 weeks ago

Um, I’m not sure if this is a thing that has anything to do with your site, Joel, but when I clicked the comments link I had a page load that told me I had the wrong version of Java. I was about to click the “Save File” button before I realized that was a REALLY dumb idea. I do in fact have the correct version of Java, and that page seems to have been a malware thingy?

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

teddy's avatar

teddy · 85 weeks ago

same thing just happened to me
Seems to be a thing that’s going around. I have alerted the proper tech authorities.
Jesse's avatar

Jesse · 85 weeks ago

Why am I seeing Evil Fox Executive?

2 replies · active 74 weeks ago

He may or may not be based on someone I may or may not have worked for in the past. #mayormaynot
I would arson that place at most and at least, I would leave
that guy's avatar

that guy · 85 weeks ago

pretty much anytime I am asked to meet at one of those chain restaurants that caters to families or “business types that want to pretend to be hip, but wanna really be safe”. Few friends that really love those sorta places, but they just make my skin crawl.

That and “the mall” in general.

I think there may be direct correlation be hair products/brand names and eww factor for me.


The Clothes Make The Manhood


There’s a new signed print and poster in the new HE store! 

The Fifth Element meets Calvin And Hobbes” [PRINT or POSTER]
hijinks ensue calvin and hobbes fifth element print poster

This flashback comic introduces The Two Dicks (Dick Henderson and Dick Flenderson) Joel’s dual bosses at his previous (pre-cartoonist) job. As a guy constantly searching for positive, adult, male role models, Joel looks up to these guys. They are financially successful, self employed and live a lifestyle that Joel THINKS he wants. We’ll see how long that admiration lasts once Joel’s priorities shift.

Clothes and I have always had a very contentious relationship. It’s rare that I find clothes that I actually like; that I actually feel comfortable in, much less clothes that I think look flattering on me. These difficulties are always compounded by the idea that I am wearing clothing I specifically hate because someone told me I had to. Call it a rebellious streak, but I do not like being told what to wear. I’m 100% sure this stems from a latent overbearing/disapproving mother issue and is compounded by having been an overweight kid who didn’t want to tuck in his shirt, take off his jacket, etc.

Every uniform, be it a maroon polo and a pair of my own khakis from Target or a full on dress shirt, slacks and tie, I have ever been forced to wear has caused me actual physical discomfort if not pain. I focus so much on how uncomfortable I am, and how stupid and dishonest I feel my appearance to be that I start to get stomach pains. I’m a weirdo. Considering this history, it should come as no surprise that when left solely to my own devices (the main selling point of being self employed and working from home), I wear a white t-shirt and scrubs. Feeling comfortable in my own skin, and whatever second skin I have CHOSEN, is essential to me actually being productive and paramount to me finding joy in my productivity. There are 100 reasons I wasn’t cut out for corporate life (even in a small company), but in retrospect I bet a large portion of my incompatibility with traditional employment stemmed from people telling me to wear clothes that I didn’t like.

COMMENTERS: What’s the worst uniform you’ve ever had to wear? I really hope there are some theme park mascots among you Fancy Bastards that can regale us with some war stories.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Tetris earrings!

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Comments (36)

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Snag's avatar

Snag · 86 weeks ago

BrerBear's avatar

BrerBear · 86 weeks ago

I didn’t get the psychological stress from wearing it but it was uncomfortable none the less to wear what i had to wear when working in the aluminium-foundry in the town i grew up. I worked with the elektrolysis oven and i had to wear wool long-johns, a marlan(tm) shirt, fireproofed cotton/wool blend trousers and jacket, thick woolen socks, and big woollined steelcap boots. All this while the ambient temperatur hung around 70-80 deegrees celsius and the relative humidity ( lived in a coastal town and the foundry was right at the water) was about 80-90%. We ussually worked about 15 minutes on the hour.

The one that caused me the most psychological discomfort was the McD uniform. I dont need to elaborate on that do i?

Stuey's avatar

Stuey · 86 weeks ago

I used to work in a club called Flares that had a seventies disco theme. Needless to say we had to wear sparkly flares and a bright purple shirt with wide lapels. The worst part is that at the time I had a sort of mini-afro (by choice, although it probably helped me get the job) and this was repeatedly tugged and pulled by the drunk and lonely middle aged women who populated the place on a Friday and Saturday night

Like Joel I feel intensely uncomfortable in wearing anything I don’t want to wear, especially in work related settings. This is probably why I entered academia, everyone is too liberal at my university to care that I mainly wear star wars and iron maiden t-shirts except for the rare occasion I have to teach classes

2 replies · active 86 weeks ago

Stuey's avatar

Stuey · 86 weeks ago

Yes, generally to check if it was a wig or not which apparently people felt was adequate justification

I was on good terms with the bouncers who would quickly throw people out no questions asked if I asked them to. I only worked there for about 2 months when I needed the cash while studying and quit as soon as I could afford to

Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 86 weeks ago

I actually like uniforms. Most of them suit me, so I’m not all that uncomfortable in them. I dislike when they don’t fit, though.. as in being overly large or too small so that they’ll make me look stupid.

I was in Ireland a couple of weeks ago and Connemara National Park had a teahouse where these women had the ugliest company uniform imaginable.. it was horrifying to look at, and the fact that these women didn’t do their job with a smile on their face didn’t surprise me. Any job that requires you to wear clothes that ugly must come with a horrific employer.

Runcibletune's avatar

Runcibletune · 86 weeks ago

I like your writing style; you described that very poetically.
PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 86 weeks ago

Worst was probably the cheap nylon shit clothes at my first job – fast food is horrible. The clothes were always greasy.

Second would be when I was in a magic show. We’d wear these outfits with lots of spandex for about 30 min max each day for each outfit (yay lots of shows & costume changes). They were SO DISGUSTING at the end of the week, and had to be handwashed. GROSS.

90percentgeek's avatar

90percentgeek · 86 weeks ago

I worked at a theatre for a while that had pretensions of grandeur so called itself a ‘Hippodrome’ (they didn’t understand when one day I asked them where the horses were kept).
Anyway, even more illogically they had a mascot called Harry the Hippo and once in a while one of us lowly ushers would be forced to dress up in a giant red furry hippo suit to wave and hand out sweets and pose for photos with groups of kids. The suit was never washed so reaked of about 1000 farts and every kid took the opportunity to kick you in the shins to ‘prove you weren’t a real hippo.’ Never mind that you were 6 foot tall, covered in red fur, wearing a baseball cap and were able to talk without moving your mouth!

I quickly came to the conclusion that kids in the north of England don’t actually know what a hippo is, just like the management ddidn’t know what a hippodrome was!

I worked at Six flags before Warner Brothers bought it. The “Costumes” (Because we were told to call them that) never fit right. And you got a new set to change into every shift. If they didn’t have your size, Oh Well! Make due with what covers you the best. At least they had a locker room so you didn’t have to wear the stuff home.
Paul's avatar

Paul · 86 weeks ago

I used to work at a Barnes & Noble quite a few years ago. Every day wear wasn’t too bad, khakis, button-down and tie for us guys, women had a bit more flexibility. Didn’t much like wearing the tie myself, but I dealt with it. During one of the hottest days of the summer, in early august, the town of Norwalk, CT was celebrating the SoNo Oyster Festival, and many sponsors (us included) sent people to partake in the Parade of Characters. I stupidly volunteered for this as a reason to get out of the store. They dressed me up as Peter Rabbit, covering me fully from over-sized head to over-sized feet. Damn near passed out from heat exhaustion as we walked up and down the parade route. Luckily I had a friend from the store tagging along to give me brief reprieves of cool-ish water. I will never ever do that again,
bubujin_2's avatar

bubujin_2 · 86 weeks ago

Air Force days and donning a chemical protective suit during the occasional readiness (war game) exercises. The charcoal impregnated suit itself wasn’t so bad (kept one comfy during cold weather) but with the rubber overboots and the bulkiness of the suit you felt like the Michelin tire man. BUT it sucked if the weather was hot and when the exercise up-tempoed so that you were required to don the gas mask. Literally sucking rubber was the pits.
S.Vescott's avatar

S.Vescott · 86 weeks ago

I would love to be able to wear a suit to work every day. Mostly to cover up my big fat fatness. {gentle weeping}
Kelly's avatar

Kelly · 86 weeks ago

My day job is at a huge national moving company and the boss insists on business attire even though accounts rarely visit. Running around a warehouse and dealing with truck drivers in a suit is never fun. Then I get to my night job where I teach ballroom dance, the boss there was business attire too which isnt bad for most dance lessons because your dealing with beginners who arent doing anything too fancy but when I am teaching a professional couple or working with my own partner on high level stuff its very uncomfortable……and its all done in 4 inch heels.
When I worked at Burger King my polyester uniform was designed for a male body so it fit incredibly poorly in the hip/butt/waist area and the chest/arms area in ALL the wrong ways. It also soaked up grease like a sponge. I’d go home every night and wash my uniform in hot water with a degreaser in addition to detergent, and it was still sticky afterward. I smelled like rancid grease ALL THE TIME.
Worst uniform: Braum’s. When I worked there from 1986-1988, had to supply your own white polo-type-shirt and chocolate-brown slacks. You were charged for your (mandatory) apron and (mandatory) trucker hat (actually deducted from your first paycheck).
Fren's avatar

Fren · 86 weeks ago

Any job wherein I’ve had a uniform, I was actually glad for it. Didn’t have to ruin my own clothes.

However, I once had a job as a Uniform Route Salesman. One of my biggest stops was a giant landscaping company. The uniforms of 125 men, soaked in stale sweat and fertilizer, all baking inside of a steel breadtruck in the mid-atlantic summer humidity. I think that takes the cake, maybe?

Tony's avatar

Tony · 86 weeks ago

It should probably be Target’s red polo and khakis, but Culver’s takes a slight lead for the fact that my manager made me write an essay about how important it is to wear a belt and never forget this when the area where a belt would be is covered by an apron and hidden from all the customers by a thick concrete wall that separates them from the place where the fast food “magic” happens.

In retrospect, I probably stayed at the job where “write me an essay about how you fucked up” was the preferred response to policy violations way longer than I should’ve, all like 3 months that I was there…

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 86 weeks ago

Assuming a logo inside the collar’s okay, should that ever come up again Harbor Bay fits the bill perfectly. I get them because the local XL Men’s store sells that brand. I’m sure there’s others that work too, it’s just the first shirts I’ve found that fit me (a tall fat man) and if the style’s hard to find I may as well pass the info on.
JGE's avatar

JGE · 86 weeks ago

I worked at a Chik-fil-a as a high schooler and I had the worst boss in the history of fast food bosses, he expected me to love working there and to be extremely grateful I have a job. I was the Cow, The Chik-fil-a Cow. The worst part is they have a tail on the suit and kids always wanted to pull it. when that happens I get in essence a nice nut check. I was the Cow at a Bowl Game and I got molested by several drunken football fans. The Cow suit was not only hot but basically made you a target for physical abuse and if you defended yourself in anyway than you got in trouble.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

tom327cat's avatar

tom327cat · 86 weeks ago

The Navy issued me 13 different kinds of dress uniforms, which seemed odd as the only uniform I ever had to be inspected in was always my work coveralls. And I was always told that they were too dirty, because you know, spending 12 hours rolling around a greasy ship or drilling aluminum on an aircraft covered in hydraulic fluid should leave you sparkling clean, right? But the worst uniform of all was the never to be sufficiently cursed full dress whites. Made of the most ionically charged, sweat inducing, polyester, this uniform could attract dirt over distances of half a mile, which it never had to as a Navy ship is basically a dirty surface factory.
FSilvermane's avatar

FSilvermane · 86 weeks ago

I was Chester The Cheetah for 2 months,….. it was rough. I had to wear a special brace that allowed that overly long snout [basically 3 ft long and 2 ft wide] to sit right which meant that the brace bar was right in my sternum. Add to this that the suit is not only fur but also some neoprene type material so it did not breath at all. I had to have a snorkel type thing to breathe out the eyes of the head. Also no matter which suit they brought me the fan would stop working within 30 minutes of putting it on so that added to the heat factor. My only saving grace was when I worked inside grocery stores and could stand nearby the meat displays [which meant instead of sweltering hot it was merely damn hot]. I lasted as long as I did only because I needed the money badly. I quit when I could and swore never to don the fur suit again. I broke that rule years later for a one shot deal for a photo shoot for a friend who put me in a wolf costume to promote her Furry garb business,….lol. Now I am an Historical Entertainer at local Medieval/Rennaisance/Pirate festivals and wear the appropriate garb for the era but to me the stuff is comfortable [except for the chainmale but thats just heavy]

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

lou's avatar

lou · 85 weeks ago

Obvious joke in 3…2…1…

So it wasn’t Easy bein’ Cheesy.

StephC's avatar

StephC · 86 weeks ago

I’m generally comfortable in whatever I’ve needed for work (Except Walmart. Fuck Walmart.) but I’m a female and have never had to wear a tie. But… is nice that my current job lets us wear whatever we want so long as it isn’t ratty or blatantly offensive. We only have to dress up for the dog and pony show when bigwig-types visit.
nenslo's avatar

nenslo · 86 weeks ago

I’m in IT, like proper end-user support, scrabbling under desks type support. In my last job I had to wear a full on suit – shirt, trousers, shoes, the works. They wanted me to wear a tie, which I said I wouldn’t for health & safety reasons; thankfully they backed down pretty quickly on that one. But still, wearing proper dress shoes and nice trousers to crawl under desks, etc was really uncomfortable (and expensive!).

What I never understood was that the company wanted us to look smart for our clients, but our clients were mainly university academics who would roll up to our offices in casual attire. The number of professors who came in wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts and sandals was pretty stunning.

1 reply · active 81 weeks ago

Original Nenslo's avatar

Original Nenslo · 81 weeks ago

Who are you, phony nenslo?