ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the April 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "Blue Jeans" square in my 4-1-17 card for the Month of Rainbows fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Shiv is trying, but the inside of his head is still a mess. The poem features incarceration, mixed feelings, fumbling efforts at coping skills, poverty, discussion of (beneficial) weight gain, sensory overload, choice paralysis, flashbacks to child abuse and neglect, struggling to choose clothes, trust issues, fear of the future, and other angst. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

"Blue Jeans and Jazz"

Shiv lay in his bunk and tried
not to think about how today was
his second-to-last day in prison.

He wanted early release,
sure, he was grateful for it,
but now that it was almost here,
he was also terrified of it.

Getting out meant that
he'd have to decide what
to do, and he sucked at that.

Shiv tried to settle himself --
he petted his pillow and
licked a nicotine sucker
and played smooth jazz --
but none of it helped much.

A knock at the door startled him,
but at least it gave him a focus.

"What's up?" Shiv asked
as he opened the door.

"I came to give you something,"
Mr. Vanburen said, stepping
inside. He held out a wad
of worn, gray-green cloth.

When Shiv took it, he saw that
it was actually a backpack made of
stonewashed canvas, tough but soft.
Three roomy pockets on the outside
surrounded a large center pocket.

"Me and some other guards
chipped in to get you that,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "It's new,
but the style shouldn't attract
the wrong kind of attention."

Meaning it was unlikely
to get Shiv mugged for it.
That was nice of them.

"Thanks," Shiv said.
"What's it for, though?"

"You will need a carryall for
your essentials," the guard said.
"You've got too much stuff to take
all of it with you at once, but we
can ship the rest of it for you --
or you can hand it off to someone,
like Dr. G or Ambrose, if you prefer."

"I don't have that much, I mean,
that would fit in it," Shiv said. "Dr. G
already offered to take the art stuff
for me because some of that
is too big to carry easily."

"Clothes," said Mr. Vanburen.
"I know the medics had to cut off
your clothes back when you were
first brought in. Prison rules say
everyone gets sent home with
a whole outfit, or three if they
came in with nothing. Even if you
have stuff at home, they might not fit --
Dr. Bloch says you put on weight."

"He said that was a good thing,"
Shiv snapped, glaring at the guard.

"It's good for your health, but
not necessarily for your closet,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "Come on,
let's visit the clothing bank."

"I guess," Shiv said, following him.

Shiv had only seen the clothing bank
in glimpses through the door, when
he went to down to the laundromat in
the basement to show the Life Skills guy
that he knew how to do laundry. Sort of.

Up close and personal, though, it was
a lot more than Shiv had expected.
In fact, it was overwhelming.

Clothes hung on racks made
from scavenged metal pipes, and
more lay on tables in the middle
of the room or on shelves along
the sides of the concrete walls.

Coats, shirts, pants, shoes, even
underwear and other stuff in big piles --
Shiv had no idea where to start.

Usually he just scrounged for things,
or bought them in a thrift store that had
a few clothes along with everything else.

The only times he'd gotten a lot of clothes
at once had been with school supplies, when
foster parents bought a heap of stuff in fall,
begrudging every penny they had to spend.

Shiv typically tried to hide in the racks
because it felt safer, but someone always
found him and dragged him back out.

He could remember it, the bright lights
and the loud clattering spaces and
the hands harsh on his arms.

Panting for breath, he backed up
until he hit the door, bruising his back.

"Hey, are you okay?" Mr. Vanburen said,
giving him a worried look. "What's wrong?"

Shiv couldn't get a word out through
his dry mouth, just shook his head,
wishing desperately this was over.

"Quiet room next door," the guard said,
gently steering him out of the clothing bank.

It had the same bare concrete walls,
but there were several study carrels
with cheap plastic seats, plus a couple
of easy chairs and a hollow block table.

Shiv promptly curled up in the easy chair
that was tucked into a deskless carrel.
The little dividers made him feel safer.

Mr. Vanburen dragged the block table
in front of the chair to sit on, and then
leaned his hands on Shiv's knees.

The weight helped to ground him,
at least a little bit, and Shiv sighed.

"Sorry I freaked out in there," he said.
"I don't mean to be such a bother."

"You're not a bother," said Mr. Vanburen.
"Can you tell me what went wrong? You
didn't like the clothes, or the room, or what?"

"It's just ... too much, all at once,"
Shiv said, unable to explain further
why it made him so panicky.

"Oh, okay," Mr. Vanburen said
as if that somehow made sense.
"You're out of the habit making
your own choices. It's too much."

"Yeah," Shiv said. "I think that's it."

"No problem," said Mr. Vanburen. "Will
you be okay by yourself for a few minutes?
I can duck back into the clothing bank and
grab some things for you to try on --
I've got your list of sizes."

"I'll be fine," Shiv said.
"It's just next door."

So Mr. Vanburen went
to find things for Shiv to try,
and came back with a cart full.

"Bottoms first," said the guard.
"I tried to give you some options
without adding too much confusion."

There wasn't actually that much,
Shiv realized as Mr. Vanburen
laid out the neatly folded items on
top of the block table -- two pairs
of shorts, two of everyday pants,
and two of dressier pants.

"Make one choice at a time,"
Mr. Vanburen said. "Let's start
with the shorts, since it's summer."

Shiv looked at them, one ivory
with some sort of leaf pattern,
and then a really nice pair of
blue jean cargo shorts with
about twenty pockets on them.

"These," he said, holding up
the jean shorts in front of himself.

"Try 'em on," said Mr. Vanburen.

"Why?" Shiv asked, baffled.
"You said you had my sizes."

"That tells me what size stuff
to offer, not how it actually fits you,"
Mr. Vanburen said. Then he frowned.
"Shiv, didn't anyone ever teach you
how to shop for clothes, try them
on to see what feels good?"

"Uh, no?" Shiv said.
"If it zips, it fits."

Mr. Vanburen sighed,
dragging a hand down
his face. "Son of a bitch,"
he said, then looked at
Shiv. "Don't report that."

"I wouldn't," Shiv said.
"I'm not a rat."

"What do you usually wear
to work?" Mr. Vanburen asked.
"Plain or fancy? New or used?"

"Depends on what I'm doing,"
Shiv said. "It can be either."

"Good thing I brought a range,
then," said Mr. Vanburen. "All right,
I'll give you a quick lesson in how
to pick clothes. Hold 'em up again,
so you can see if they go about
halfway around your body. If
they do, then they should fit."

Shiv pulled the waistband
of the jean shorts against
himself. "I think so?" he said.

"Great, go try those on,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "I'll step
outside for a minute. You bang
on the door when you're done."

As soon as the guard was gone,
Shiv scrambled out of his pants
and pulled on the jean shorts.

Far as he could tell, they fit.
He loved the color, a sky blue
worn soft and pale with use,
but the cloth had no holes.

Shiv rapped on the door.
"You can come back," he said.

"They look good on you,"
Mr. Vanburen said as he came
back in. "Now squat down
and touch your toes."

"What for?" Shiv asked.

"To see if they pinch your balls
or ride up your crack or otherwise
don't feel good," said the guard.

Shiv obeyed, and the jean shorts
moved smoothly around him.
"They're fine," he said.

"We'll put those on the
keep pile," Mr. Vanburen said,
placing them on a carrel desk.
"You picked the denim shorts,
so let's rule out the blue jeans
and try the khakis instead. That
should give you more variety."

That was a pity, because Shiv
also liked the dark blue jeans, so new
they'd probably even hold a crease.

But the tan pants under them were
okay, and even came with a belt.

"They're too long," he said,
looking down at the legs
flopping over his toes.

"They'll look longer
before you put them on,"
Mr. Vanburen explained.
"Once you have, the cuffs
should break -- bend a bit --
just above your feet."

He stepped out again
so that Shiv could change.

The khakis were different than
what Shiv usually wore, but still
a pretty nice pair of pants. He
thought their pale brown would
look good with a lot of things.

Shiv tapped on the door. "Come in."

"Not bad," said Mr. Vanburen.
"Now those are khakis, so you
can dress up or dress down,
and you get the belt with them.
What do you say, Shiv?"

"I'll take them," he replied,
tucking his thumbs in the pockets.

"Dress pants -- have you ever worn
these before?" Mr. Vanburen said,
waving a hand over black and gray.

"Sometimes for work," Shiv said.
People had also put him in suits for
court a few times. He shivered.
"They're okay, I guess."

He tried on the black ones, but
frowned at the result. "Are they
supposed to be this baggy?" he said.

"Not really, no," said the guard.
"See how they bunch around you?
Try the gray ones instead."

Shiv liked the gray a lot better.
They had a subtle yet definite pattern,
like lighter and darker shades of ash,
made by all of the up-and-down and
side-to-side threads of the weave.
They fit him slimmer, too.

"I'll keep these," Shiv said.
They had gone through
the bottoms. "What next?"

"I'll put back the pants that you
didn't take, and get some shirts,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "Wait here."

Shiv kicked his heels lazily
against the leg of his easy chair,
listening to the faint sounds
coming through the door.

Within minutes, Mr. Vanburen
returned with a cartload of shirts.
"T-shirts first, they're easy."

The first two t-shirts offered were
a rainbow tie-dye with long sleeves
and a red one with a pizza place logo.

"They don't suck," Shiv said, although
he wasn't particularly fond of either.
He already had a t-shirt that Dr. G had
bought him at the graffiti festival, black with
orange letters saying, Art is not a crime.
So maybe he could skate out of this.
"I don't really need one, though."

"I also brought this ... it's unprofessional,
but it reminds me of you," the guard said
as he took another t-shirt out of the cart.

Light brown, it had a mushroom
with a cute piggy nose and eyes
above the caption, I'll grow on you.

Shiv laughed. "Aw, yeah,"
he said. "I want that one!"

He turned his back, then
wriggled into the shirt.
"Does this fit okay?"

"Yes," said Mr. Vanburen.
"Here, check out the polos."

There was a very nice goldenrod,
but its long sleeves flopped over
Shiv's hands. "Too big, right?"

"I'm afraid so," said the guard.
"Try the blue-and-gray one."

That had short sleeves, with
random triangles of pale blue
and silver-gray all over it, then
collar and cuffs of bright blue. It
reminded Shiv of Dr. G's sweaters.

"This is kind of nice," Shiv said.

"Good," said Mr. Vanburen.
"Put it on your pile, and then
we're down to dress shirts."

Those were crisp folds of
midnight blue with flecks or
white with glossy stripes.

"I like both," Shiv said.

"Then try on both of them,"
Mr. Vanburen said. "Swing
your arms and twist around
to test how they fit you."

Shiv tried on both shirts.
"I still can't make up my mind."

"Blue is more expressive,
and white is more formal,"
Mr. Vanburen said. "Which
do you think you'll need more?"

"Probably formal," Shiv said,
putting back the blue with
a little regret. He did like
the shiny lines, though.

"Don't worry, you can always
get yourself some colored shirts
later this week," Mr. Vanburen said.

It was meant well, Shiv thought, but
it made his stomach clench anyhow.

"Yeah, um, I suppose," he said.
"Tops and bottoms, are we done?"

"Nope, underthings next,"
said Mr. Vanburen as he
wheeled the cart to the door.

Shiv didn't know what to do
about that. Usually he just
grabbed something from
the thrift bin when the holes
in his old ones got too big.

No sense wasting money on
things that nobody would see.

Mr. Vanburen came back
with a bunch of packages
and some loose garments.

"The idea is to try on things
and then pick a pack like that,"
he explained. "Do you prefer
crew neck or V-neck shirts?
White or mixed colors?"

"Either neck, mixed colors,"
Shiv said, peeking in the cart.

Mr. Vanburen handed him
samples of both styles, tossing
the all-white packages aside.

"Boxers, briefs, or boxer-briefs?"
Mr. Vanburen asked next.

"Oh, boxer-briefs if you have them,"
Shiv said, perking up. Those weren't
always easy to find, but they were
more secure than boxers and
more roomy than briefs.

"Socks, high or low?"
Mr. Vanburen asked.

"Medium?" Shiv said.
"I'm not really this picky."

"It's okay to be picky about
clothes, especially underwear,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "You need
to find things that feel comfortable
for you, and durable enough to last."

Shiv rubbed a hand over
the growing pile of samples
that he held. They felt soft, and
would get softer with washing.

"Yeah, okay," he said.

"Go try those on," the guard said.
"Underwear has fewer sizes and
style variations than outerwear,
so this round should be easy."

Shiv tried them on. Most of it
fit, but he had to go back for
the next-bigger size of bottoms.

Then Mr. Vanburen invited him
to choose the colors that he wanted.

Shiv got t-shirts in black, white, and navy
then some boxer-briefs and socks in
shades of black, blue, and gray.

"Okay, you also get a coat, shoes, and
one seasonal item," Mr. Vanburen said.
"Give me ideas; what do you like?"

"It's August, so I don't need
a heavy coat," Shiv said. "Maybe
just a jacket, in case it rains?"

"One jacket, coming up,"
Mr. Vanburen said. "Shoes?"

"Something I can walk in," Shiv said.
"Tennis shoes, or sandals if they're
good heavy ones, not just flip-flops."

"Okay," said Mr. Vanburen. "Seasonals --
it's summer, would you like a swimsuit?"

"No," Shiv said shortly. He hated
those things. "Why can't I just
stick with what I've got?"

"Coat and shoes," the guard said.
"I'll get some and come right back.
Relax, Shiv, we're almost done
here -- this is the last round."

Shiv paced around the quiet room,
then riffled through the clothes he'd
already chosen. It helped a little.

Mr. Vanburen came back with
a smaller selection this time.
"Look, I found a few pairs
of actual walking shoes."

Shiv tried on the tennis shoes.
"These're fine if I wear more socks."

Mr. Vanburen crouched to poke
at the toes. "They'd be fine if you
were still growing a lot, but you
aren't," he said. "Try the others."

The others were way too wide,
even Shiv could tell that. "Nah."

"Sandals, or I'll have to go back
for more, and there's not much else
that suits you," said Mr. Vanburen.

The sandals fit beautifully, though,
and they were sturdy black leather in
a style halfway between dress sandals
and the more rugged fisherman's sandals.

"I like these," Shiv said softly,
wiggling his toes in them.

"Now for the jacket,
I brought a plain navy one,"
Mr. Vanburen said as he
set it out, "but then I saw this
and it made me think of you."

"Oooh," Shiv breathed.

The second coat had stripes
of charcoal gray, but most of it
was made of some slippery cloth
in a paler gray that danced
with muted rainbows.

"Yeah, that shiny part is
reflective," Mr. Vanburen said.
"This way, if you go out at night,
you won't get hit by a car."

Shiv sighed, his hand hovering
over the coveted item. "I shouldn't.
It'll just make me a target."

"Which happens more often:
you being around cars after dusk,
or people chasing you?"
Mr. Vanburen said.

"Uh ... both," Shiv admitted.
"I know, I'm supposed to stay out
of trouble for a while, but that
don't mean other folks will quit
picking fights with me."

"Hmm." Mr. Vanburen seemed
to consider that, instead of just
blowing it off. He took a look at
the little piece of paper hanging off
the zipper. "Tag calls the color
'abalone,' whatever that is."

"Some kind of seashell,"
Shiv said absently, making
himself look at the navy windbreaker.
It wasn't bad, if less beautiful. "Dr. G has
one in his office. He showed me the color
once, on camera, and yeah, it's kind of
similar. I would've said oilslick though."

"Aha!" Mr. Vanburen exclaimed.
He unzipped the jacket and turned it
inside out. "This is reversible.
The inside is all charcoal."

"Score," Shiv said happily.
"I'll take that one." Surely it wouldn't
hurt to have just one fancy thing.

"Wonderful," said Mr. Vanburen.
"Now let me show you a cool trick."
He laid out the keepers on the table.
"Most of these go together pretty well,
so you can mix and match them to shift
from more formal to more casual."

"Huh?" Shiv said, frowning.
He felt overwhelmed again.

"Like this," Mr. Vanburen said
as he flipped the garments around.
"Most formal: white shirt, gray pants.
A little less: blue polo shirt, gray pants.
Pick your underthings to match."

"That really works?" Shiv said.
"But you only changed one thing!"

"Okay, let's switch to something else,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "Casual clothes:
funny mushroom t-shirt with khaki pants.
Blue-collar: white t-shirt and jean shorts."

"I still don't get it," Shiv said. "Besides,
my boss tells me what to wear if
it's for something important."

"It sounds like you trust him
a lot," Mr. Vanburen said.

"I don't trust people!
Shiv protested.

"Well, if you're letting
someone else dress you,
that's trust in my book,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "Now,
maybe you'd rather not be
that dependent on others."

"Maybe," Shiv said grudgingly,
but he still thought this was all
a lot of fuss over nothing.

"I know how you think,"
said Mr. Vanburen. "If you
see enough examples, then
you'll figure it out just fine. You
just need sample images. There
are whole websites for this stuff."

He pulled out his smartphone
and showed Shiv pictures of
different outfits, swapping tops
or bottoms just like he had.

Now it was starting to make sense.
Shiv tried to match it up with what he'd
seen in the jazz club, blue jeans with tees
for the wilder, younger crowd and then
dark pants with white shirts worn by
older -- usually better -- performers.

"Is there a worksheet or something
for this?" Shiv asked. "I do better if
I can see the rules laid out like that."

"Sure," said Mr. Vanburen. "And Shiv?
Most guys find dress codes confusing.
It's why you see so many men who wear
a really simple wardrobe, so they don't
have to think about what matches. But
you've got an eye for art -- I don't think
you would be satisfied with that."

"I just wear what I like," Shiv said.
He looked at all his new clothes.

"Yeah, but you picked out good stuff,
things that go well together, and I didn't
have to help with that part near as much
as I thought I would," said Mr. Vanburen.

"Uh huh," Shiv said, shifting in place.

"Getting tired of this, aren't you?"
Mr. Vanburen tallied up all the stuff
from the keep pile, which was a lot.
"Tops, bottoms, underwear, shoes, coat,
and you got a belt with the khakis," he said.
"I think you're good to go now."

Shiv wrapped his arms around himself.
"Why are you even doing this?"

"Prison rules say that departing inmates
get clothes," Mr. Vanburen said. "Some guys
don't have any, like you; and others find
that their old clothes don't fit anymore."

"I know, you told me, but you could've
just grabbed clothes and given them to me,"
Shiv said. "Why all this ... other stuff?"

"Because shopping for clothes is
something everyone needs to know
how to do," said Mr. Vanburen. "After
you leave here, you won't have a uniform
to rely on any more; you'll have to make
your own choices about what to wear."

Shiv had no idea what the fuck
he would do then. Just thinking
about the future frightened him
more than he wanted to admit.

"Why did you get mad at me
earlier?" Shiv said. "It's not
my fault I didn't know that stuff!"

"Exactly," said Mr. Vanburen. "It's not
your fault; the blame lies on the people who
raised you. When I noticed that you didn't know,
because they shorted you again instead of teaching
you basic life skills, I realized that I needed to fill in
the gaps." He chuckled. "It's no worse than me
showing Joey what to wear on an interview."

It never failed to amaze Shiv that Mr. Vanburen
thought of him more like a little brother
than like a monkey in a cage.

If he could get the hang of
shopping for clothes and
wearing the right things, that
would make a lot of his life easier.

"Thanks," Shiv said. "It's nice
of you to take all this time with me."

"You're welcome," said the guard.
"Come on, I'll walk you back to
your suite. You look like you
could use a nap before lunch."

"Yeah," Shiv said, suddenly
realizing how exhausted he felt.

They walked back together,
slower than they had come,
carrying Shiv's new clothes.

The privileged wing was quieter
than the standard wing, almost like
an apartment complex. The idea
was to get the inmates used to how
life would be on the outside.

It just made Shiv anxious,
most of the time, but he was
learning how to cope with that.

Back in the suite that he shared
with several other guys, everything
was still because they were all
out doing something else.

At the foot of the bed he hung
the white t-shirt and jean shorts,
with the handsome abalone jacket
just because he liked looking at
the shimmer of its fabric.

Then he put a playlist of
jazz lullabies on the speakers
and stretched out in his bunk.

Shiv was still thinking
about blue jeans and jazz
when he fell asleep.

* * *


"The whole world loves American movies, blue jeans, jazz and rock and roll. It is probably a better way to get to know our country than by what politicians or airline commercials represent."
-- Billy Joel

The prison has a clothing bank next to the laundromat in the basement. Beside the clothing bank is a quiet room. Study carrels are little notches or cubbies with a desk inside. A hollow block table is like a rectangular solid with a couple of the ends missing, empty inside.

Worrying about the future is a common problem, especially for young people. There are ways to help them cope. In some cases, this worsens into a serious anxiety problem. Understand how to overcome anxiety, stop worrying, or at least worry effectively. You can also help a friend with anxiety and support them through a panic attack.

Prison release often causes intense stress, even among inmates looking forward to it. Reintegration is extremely difficult and often fails, which is not an accident, as the system is designed that way in local-America. There is supposed to be careful planning prior to release; Terramagne-America does much better at that. It helps to get advice from people who have gone through the same process. Restorative justice suggests steps to help inmates reintegrate into society.

Jazz has many styles. Smooth jazz and related subgenres are popular with supervillains for having counterculture roots with a mellow mood, ideal for relaxation. Listen to a video of smooth jazz.

Prison relaxation programs help inmates cope with challenges in healthier ways than most of them learned earlier. This keeps the prison a more peaceful place, and improves their chances of success after release. Music and meditation are among the more popular options.

This is Shiv's backpack when he leaves prison, a gift from the guards.

Feeling overwhelmed is a common result of facing too many choices. It can cause choice paralysis. Incarceration greatly exacerbates these problems, impairing people's ability to function in the outside world. Cope with choices by simplifying and breaking things into chunks. Know how to handle overwhelm too.

Flashbacks are intrusive memories of past events. In this case, Shiv's past experiences of child abuse and neglect make it harder for him to do some things like choosing clothes. There are ways to deal with flashbacks or help someone else through them. Fortunately, T-American prisons train staff to recognize and handle this sort of challenge.

A panic attack is what happens when stress exceeds a person's coping skills, resulting in an extreme fear reaction. Know how to get through a panic attack or deal with a panicky friend.

Men's clothes are more straightforward than women's clothes, but still daunting for some people. Know how a basic wardrobe should fit properly. Most people learn how to dress and look good as boys, but not everyone enjoys that advantage. Older men sometimes step in to help younger men fill in the gaps, as Travis does here for Shiv.

Cargo shorts, like cargo pants, have lots of pockets and sometimes tool loops for storage. These are Shiv's cargo shorts.

Khaki pants fall between casual and formal. See Shiv's khaki pants.

Dress pants are more formal. Shiv picks out a pair of slim fit trousers made of textured linen; see the front and back view.

Understand the different types of pants and how they should fit. The squat test is one good way to check for fit.

A t-shirt is a casual knit top, usually with short sleeves, and often printed with a funny image or saying. This is Shiv's mushroom t-shirt.

A polo shirt is a sport top of medium knit fabric, usually with short sleeves. It's a nice balance between casual and formal. Here is Shiv's polo shirt.

Dress shirts come in many styles and colors, customarily with buttons down the front. White is the most formal color, suitable for almost all occasions at which one would wear a dress shirt, often varied with flecks or stripes of different thread. See Shiv's dress shirt.

Choosing men's shirts includes knowing how to fit a t-shirt, polo shirt, or dress shirt.

For underwear, Shiv chooses 3-packs of assorted t-shirts, mixed boxer briefs, and basic socks. Boxer briefs are clingy underwear with short legs. Socks come in various styles.

Men's sandals tend to be sturdier than women's are. Shiv's sandals are a cross between dress sandals and sneaker sandals. Learn how sandals should fit.

Shiv's jacket is reflective. His version is reversible with matte fabric lining in the same shade of charcoal as the trim on the rainbow side. The iridescent color is called "abalone."

A jacket is a short, lightweight coat. Choosing a jacket requires understanding how the layers of outerwear should fit.

Men's outfits should use interchangeable pieces and allow for layering. Know how to use both neutral and bright colors. In this case, Shiv's neutrals include black, gray, white, and brown plus some brighter shades of blue. Dress codes can get complicated, but a visual guide helps. Here is a capsule wardrobe for men, illustrating how to mix and match garments for different occasions.

Jazz makes wonderful lullabyes. Listen to some online.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-21 04:50 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I'm not as bad as shiv, but I rarely got to choose my own clothes growing up.

One thing that I suspect is rather common was that I'd get asked if shoes fit. Without ever having mom explain what that meant. She sometimes asked a few questions, but I had to figure out on my own that I should be able to wiggle my toes. especially spread out my little toe.

That by the way is a common failing of many adults. They know what they mean and never stop to think that a kid might not know what the words mean or at least what they mean in that context.

I was also skinny as a rail as a kid. Wasn't until I was out on my own I started to get a bit of a belly. And for a number of years I figured that it was ok if the pants (usually jeans) fit under that (ie around my hips rather than my waist)

This meant I had to replace/repair them often because the crotch seam was hanging in the air several inches below my actual crotch. Which meant the fabric was rubbing on itself a lot.

When I finally clued in and got larger waists and could pull them up properly, suddenly they started lasting for years instead of six to eight months.

I got my first hint of "fashion sense" back in my sophomore year in high school. There was a guy walking done the hall in front on me with shirt and pants in two *different* small *busy* prints (like tiny paisley or some such). And they *clashed*. colors were different, patterns were different. Even in 1970 that was no go.


At which point I got hit with a major cluebat about checking to see how things look.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-21 06:24 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*laughter* reminds me of Gene Rayburn on Match Game '76, who looked a bit ridic in a striped blazer and polka-dotted tie... but then the whole thing was *supposed* to be funny.

(OTOH, Richard Dawson on Family Feud a few years later... he could make a pink tie look *good*.)

I still wear my pants low-rider height, b/c I'm a round teddy bear and they *won't stay up* at my "waist"... I've found that Chino cut pants are not only more comfy (I have the Scottish Legs, too), but also don't wear as much.

The Fisherman's Sandal - especially the ones Keene put out - are a good compromise between comfort and ventilation for one's toes and protection for them. I'm working on wearing out the pair I have... have to see if I can get the new cobbler what works with DMS shoes to replace the soles...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-21 02:52 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Darker-skinned gentlemen can pull off colours Celts and Saxons simply *can't*... Dawson cheated and used a dark palette in his suit colours (and a helluva tailor) to make the pink tie work. Cuoio .... *sigh* I miss those two. What's the next topic for fishbowl?

I have a friend who wears suspenders... I like keeping my gear as simple as possible, though. And I like hanging things from my belt. Dif'rent strokes.

Am guessing you go in for sturdier boots in inclement weather?

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-21 06:39 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (cascadia)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Sounds like high-end hiking boots, or work boots. The good ones don't come cheap, but they're quite durable. Mack Moore in town (for you) probably has something that's a good compromise between top-quality boots (which can run north of $300) and something within a writer's price range... I don't know if they have Keenes, but that's probably the best bang for buck, and the best of those are made in Portland, Cascadia...

*nods* I've seen cops in full gear wear braces to hold up their Bat-Belt...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-21 07:17 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I still wear my pants low-rider height, b/c I'm a round teddy bear and they *won't stay up* at my "waist"... I've found that Chino cut pants are not only more comfy (I have the Scottish Legs, too), but also don't wear as much.

I used a belt, and still had trouble. Finally gave up and went to suspenders (braces), though I hit a local trans-friendly women's store and buy elastic waistband pant there sometimes mostly for "nicer" pants.

The elastic waist pants actually work pretty well. Though they are a bit loose in the butt, because I barely have one. Still look ok.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-21 09:48 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>>> though I hit a local trans-friendly women's store and buy elastic waistband pant there sometimes mostly for "nicer" pants. <<

Oh, good idea!

I have seen a few men's pants with elastic, but most of that is either casual wear (like corduroys) or a tab meant to make dress pants more forgiving.<<<

Closest thing I have to dress pants are some brown slacks, and I think I have a pair of black ones.

I live in t-shirts, jeans and shorts unless I'm dressing female.

I'm currently wearing this shirt:

A few favorites:

I've got several others they no longer have. But I expect a lot of folks in the Polychrome Heroics universe would love some of the ones they still have:

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-21 07:11 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>>> I was also skinny as a rail as a kid. Wasn't until I was out on my own I started to get a bit of a belly. And for a number of years I figured that it was ok if the pants (usually jeans) fit under that (ie around my hips rather than my waist) <<

It works if you have the right kind of clothes. I wear mine low.<<<

Well, I didn't.

Oh, btw, here's pic of me when I was younger. I'm the one in the striped shirt (which mom expected me to wear to school in junior high).
 photo LeonardErickson_1969_Rockets.jpg

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-23 06:11 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Clothes shopping is stressful normally. For Shiv, in these circumstances? Wooh, I'm glad he had some help, and it went well. -kellyc

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-21 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zianuray.livejournal.com
I would like to give Shiv a "worry stone" to carry in his pocket, perhaps through a Farmers' Market vendor or one of the musicians at the club. Would this be possible?


Date: 2017-05-21 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
It's possible if you prompt for it. This would be a very useful prompt if you set it at a Farmer's Market, because Dr. Bloch got Shiv a card that gives him $25/week to spend on fresh food at such places, so I know Shiv will be investigating that.

For comparison, Shiv does have several fidgets, and once he gets out of prison, he collects stress toys. But I haven't seen him with a worry stone, and that's a very particular fidget that doesn't closely overlap the other kinds. His boss has one, as mentioned in "The Most Serious Occupation of Manhood." Shiv would probably love the slick feel of onyx or agate. :D

The Creative Jam is open this weekend, and the next Poetry Fishbowl will be June 6 on "Poke ALL the Bigots in the Eye."

(no subject)

Date: 2018-03-03 11:39 pm (UTC)
pantha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pantha
Ooh, excellent. Travis really is doing so well with him, isn't he? His powers of observation and his emotional awareness have developed amazingly. ^_^


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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