I’m getting tired of writing about this shirt, but I should at least explain why I experienced what I can only term to be temporary insanity. So when we last met, our hero had bleached it to get rid of some slight stains. Guess what, bleaching didn’t do shit. Upon closer inspection, the stains were actually just marks left from how the shirt had been pinned in-store. Sigh. I put the shirt in for a brief low heat drying (so as not to shrink it and ruin the alterations) and got myself a snack. I checked on it 10-15 minutes later and it was still slightly damp, but not soaking. Good enough. I hung it up and begun to pull it taught in an effort to ease any creases or wrinkles out of this apparent non-iron shirt. With that out of the way I sorted a few tasks and let for my girlfriend’s place, shirt in hand. End of story.
Not end of saga.
Walking to the bus stop I caught a glimpse of the shirt in daylight. Faint as anything, a few spots of my white shirt were smeared with a light orange colour. Frayed nerves, I couldn’t stop myself from shouting a loud “FUCK” into the air. I realised that in having a clementine before hanging it up I’d inadvertently rubbed my citrus hands all over the crisp, clean, recently bleached white shirt. I forced myself to breathe deeply and slowly, but by now I was already livid. I’d invested so much into this fucking shirt when the best answer was to have done nothing. I couldn’t believe an inanimate fucking object was getting one over on me. I texted my girlfriend to let her know I was in a sour mood, that I’d do my damnedest not to take it out on her, but I’d need to use her washing machine. Got to her place, rubbed detergent into the afflicted spots, threw it in the machine and crossed my fingers (while I just stayed cross).
Took the shirt out and looked at it under the light. The stains were still there. My hands trembled as I tried to think of anything I could do. Time was running out, the party was starting in just over an hour and while we weren’t the kind of poindexters to arrive on time, I didn’t want to spend the whole night nursing a shirt. I spied a bottle of bleach sitting on her bench and thought fuck it. What do I have to lose? Aside from my sanity, little else. By this point I’d already washed the shirt twice and bleached it without even having worn it once. I poured the bleach on and begun to work it into the fabric. In an inexplicable turn of events, my white shirt began to turn pink.
By this point I was doing all I could not to throw some kind of tantrum. I put it back into the machine and hoped for a miracle. I googled “White shirt bleach turn pink” and hoped for an answer, sign or divine enlightenment. Instead I found accounts of shirts just turning pink. “Get used to your new pink shirt” someone answered on a forum. “This happened to me. Leave it soaking for 12 hours in bleach then wash it.” This party in 2 hours was looking less likely and I was in a state of rage. I’d basically almost written off the entire party over a stupid fucking shirt. We thought of options. I didn’t want to ruin my girlfriend’s night because I was bad at being an adult. We considered shops close by where I’d be able to just buy a new shirt. The shirt came out, I checked on it. White. Not pink, but white. Huge relief. Slight orange spot was still there. Would anyone else notice? Was I being a diva beyond compare? I put it on tumble dry for 30 minutes and decided to go out in search of another shirt just in case. “Would it help to have a few shots of rum first? My girlfriend asked. “No.” I replied tersely. “Would it make shopping more enjoyable?” I nodded, so we downed a few shots and got our shop on.
Just to keep score. By this point I’d bought a $55 shirt with much angst, spent $28 on alterations. Failed at ironing it. Put it in the wash with some bleached. It creased, so I hung it. Stained it in the process. Washed it again. Washed it for a third time with bleach and now I was table flipping and buying a new shirt. Hadn’t worn the shirt out once.
I found a grey/blue shirt that was fine. Unexceptional. I got them to steam it in store so I wouldn’t have to iron (ruin) it and carried it home. I looked at the new shirt. I looked at the old one. I put the suit right by the new shirt. Held it by the old one. Tried the bow-tie next to the new shirt. Held it next to the old one. Tested each with suspenders. It was abundantly clear that the old shirt suited the theme substantially more. The stain was so small I’d be the only one who’d notice. I’d expended so much effort and it felt like a huge waste to forget that and move on.
I wore the shirt. The 1920s costume looked fucking fantastic. The overflow from the waist looked totally fine when held up with suspenders in lieu of a belt. My girlfriend looked gorgeous, dress cut low both front and back. The party was immaculately decked out in period finery. There was a big-band set up playing ragtime, decadent food and cocktails. A gambling area with baccarat, Texas hold em and roulette. A fortune teller and a photo wall (complete with camera remote clicker). I got very, very drunk and my girlfriend and I danced all night, attracting a number of compliments. Despite the insane amounts of unreasonable anguish I’d brought on myself because of this shirt, it didn’t matter for shit. Everything was fine, dandy and awesome.
And you know what? It’s a nice shirt. I look forward to getting it cleaned up and owning something I genuinely enjoy wearing. Case closed. Let’s put a button on it.