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June 24, 2011

Ben Harper confronts his insecurities about the pink shirt his girlfriend made him for his birthday.

Ben Harper knows what he did with that shirt that his girlfriend gave him on his birthday last year, but he wishes he could forget.  His girlfriend, artistically uninclined, spent the whole night silk-screening this very shirt to surprise him. And, boy, was it a surprise. They were getting ready to meet their friends at the local dive bar when his girlfriend suddenly asked him to wear his “birthday shirt.” Preferring to wear his birthday suit instead, Ben had secretly stashed the shirt in an old suitcase underneath their bed. “I don’t miss it—I should have tossed it in the dumpster when I had the chance,” Ben remarks as he sadly shakes his head. Though his girlfriend preferred to think of it as “salmon,” this shirt was unmistakably not only pink, but also pastel pink with a rainbow up the sides. But that is not what disturbs Ben most—it is how the deep v-neck reveals the lack of manly hair on his chest. “I am just so hairless. I mean, maybe if I had some chest hair I wouldn’t look so, well, gay [1].”    

When his girlfriend demanded to know where it was, Ben used his newly acquired improvisational skills he learned from all those UCB classes he thought he had otherwise wasted all that money on. “I let Joe borrow it for that blind date he went on,” Ben eagerly offered.  After being shot a doubtful glance as he watched his girlfriend put on her masacra, his brain raced trying to think of what else to say. But what, really, else is there to say or to believe? Ben Harper had never been an especially macho kind of guy, and had only recently taken up ESPN to watch table tennis.  If anything, it was his girlfriend who did the more “masculine things” like watch sports and insist on being on top. But it almost offended him at how easily she believed him that made him feel less of a man, and thus, person. "I think that's what finally made me crack, and tell her the truth,” Ben remarked as tugged at his birthday shirt. If it helps any, Ben, I too prefer to think of it as "salmon" rather than just plain pink.

[1] Ben has since clarified that he is by no means a homophobic. Besides, rainbows make him smile.