A Hawai’ian Shirt Tale

Hard to believe, but it’s already been a year since this amoeba landed in Hawai‘i. As any kama‘aina will tell you, “this ain’t the mainland, brah”. That much was clear practically from the moment yours truly first got off the plane.

Hell. Simply getting dressed can send a dude into a bit of a tailspin. Yes, people get dressed here. The print on the strings of the string bikinis may be microscopic, but it announces “Tourist” just as loudly as a ten-story billboard. About that tailspin. That’s even after one has mastered shoe drill, one of the absolute musts for survival in Paradise.

Consider. You’re a dude. You have to be a dude, firstly ’cause I’m a dude and that’s what I relate to, and secondly ’cause it’s been at least a decade since I’ve seen tops on you women that actually reach down as far as the navel, even in Minneapolis in January, so the problem I’m about to relate isn’t relevant to you. You have different challenges. Begging your pardon.

Where was I? Oh. Yeah. You’re a dude, you live in, say, Dubuque, and you’re getting dressed to go to work. Which goes on first, shirt or trousers?

OK. I knew one of you wise[censored] was going to say “skivvies”. We’re not putting on a Superman suit, ‘kay? Normal Western style street clothes, in the normal way.

Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you put on your shirt first. ‘Cause you know that you’re going to have to tuck the sucker in, and it’s easier if you do that by donning the shirt and then fastening the trousers over it. And then you can stuff the wallet / keycase / handkerchief / Swiss Army knife / whateverthehallelujah into your trousers pockets, before you kiss your significant other goodbye and blow off the rent money driving to your job.


Now, transport yourself to Honolulu. What goes on first? The trousers. Because you ain’t gonna be tucking in that aloha shirt. Firstly, ’cause if you do, people will look at you funny. And secondly, because you’ll be looking at people funny. Just before you keel over from heat stroke.

And this matters why, you ask? (The “trousers on first” bit, not the heat stroke.) Try this simple experiment. Put on your clothes in the usual Dubuque manner, but leave your shirttail out. Now put your Swiss Army knife in your pocket. Right. Pick it up off the floor and try again. After having that blasted shirt get in the way of stuffing your trouser pockets a couple of times, you’ll get the order of address right.

Unless you’re me. Sigh.

It’s almost enough for me to consider getting one of those shirts that don’t reach all the way to the belt line. Except you wouldn’t wish to look at me while I’m wearing one. Really, you wouldn’t. Trust me on this.

Aloha, OC.


  1. LOL! Yea… I guess we women have a whole ‘nuther set of problems… but OC? I thought you were a FAST learner! No? Say it ain’t SO!

  2. Melli — it depends on what he’s learning — or unlearning. He’s got 50 some years of habit to reprogram, so if he’s in a hurry or preoccupied, watching him try to stuff his pockets can be quite entertaining.

    Either he misses his pocket all together, and stands there rubbing his wallet up and down over the top of his pocket and his shirt, OR — this is the fun part — he stuffs the wallet in his pocket, shirt and all, then pulls the shirt out and shoots the wallet out as well.

    This exercise is followed by much cussing and drama. It is really quite cute. Unfortunately (uhm, for me) he really doesn’t do it all that often anymore.

  3. Slowly but surely the easy living will get to you OC. Outside of work, I always wear shorts, sandals and a shirt year round. Not loud prints or bikinis though.

  4. Now, see, this is why the leatherman pocket tool is such an important upgrade, because you leave the holster on your belt, the belt on your pants and you can put your shirt on over them, even in Dubuque. Of course, if you have to grab it quick to defend yourself from a strand of barbed wire being pulled along by a bull, you’ll wish you’d tucked in but on most days that isn’t what happens, mostly.

  5. Brian — in Hawaii aloha shirts and shorts are work dress. To dress down, you’d need your board shorts and a t-shirt, or no shirt at all.

    Doug — OC says that if he was wearing something along those lines, “People might mistakenly think that I work for a living. We academics have a reputation to uphold. See toxic waste supra.”

    Nancy — OC says, “Come to Hawaii and you won’t have to worry about it.” Sandal. Sandal.

    Polona — [gasp] are you imagining my fella in various stages of undress?

  6. Oceallaigh makes an excellent point, Quilly. Pocket protectors can go in at any point but your really have to add the slide rule before the trousers are zipped.

  7. Nancy — lol — worse, here we wear flip flops! And wearing real shoes is a lot like wearing ovens on your feet, but to each their own. Btw, the stores don’t ban bare feet, either. For men many places consider shirts optional — though not restaurants — and a swim suit is considered proper attire just about anywhere (though not necessarily in good taste).

  8. Okay — keep your shoes. And you’re excused from “shoe drill” because after you’ve been walking around in the hot sweaty things all day, you aren’t taking them off in my house!

    I have never in my life been a shoe fan. My toes like to be free!

  9. I dunno, but if the undies aren’t being worn, then the trousers (or pants, as I call them) go on first. Wouldn’t want things dragging on the floor, yanno.


  10. Sauerkraut — you aren’t a Superman fan are you? Superman wears his briefs on the OUTSIDE of his tights. (Try not to think about it.) OC was implying that his briefs are right where they belong. Honest.

    You seems to be very confused today.

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