Thank you for your question:
Why did so many men have large (often “tribal”) prints on their tee-shirts a few years ago? Why did they then suddenly disappear?
Let me first answer your question with an earnest “I have no idea, those things are tacky and look permanently soiled in personal fluids.” Now that we have the truth out of the way, I will take a deep breath and dive into the unknown.
By tribal print, I believe you mean this…
…which is a monstrosity of “distressed” whatnot (a technical term).
If I dig into my personal memory banks (and not do any actual research on this dark spot on men’s fashion), I think excessive “tribal” prints on tee’s is a form of “peacocking.”
This is an image of grown men dressed as overly confident circus performers, also known as the cast of VH1’s “The Pickup Artist,” also known as one of the best reality TV shows of all time. On a side – other reality show favorites are, of course, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Looking for Love: Bachelorettes in Alaska,” “Paradise Hotel,” and only the first seasons of “The Real World” and “The Bachelor” (because he was not cute).
“The Pickup Artist” is the first place that I heard of the term “peacocking,” which is the process of adorning eye-catching clothing or accessories that are worn to entice a potential partner, much like a male peacock flashing his feathers for all the hot lady birds in the club. Those tribal tee abominations display the confidence of a man willing to go above and beyond the basic tee to sleep with anything on two legs. Wait, “on two legs” is too narrow; really they’re up for any man, woman, or object that responds to their posturing.
Why did the tribal tee seemingly disappear? Perhaps its potency was deluded with so many thinking it was ok to look like a douche bag.
MTV knows what I’m talking about.
These kids need to continuously up their game if they’re going to keep up those conquest tally marks.
OMG The Pick Up Artist was the best show EVER. “Mystery” (and his sidekick, the improbably-named “Matador”) did dress the disciples up like circus clowns and turned them into woman-hating douchebags, but his methods were effective! Why are we not on cycle 12 of THAT??
Thanks Em. This was very informative. I feel better now.
Damen was this guy I met in Louisiana. He worked as a cook at the Olive Garden and was pals with Jack. Jack was from Jersey, and Jack liked to drink. He claimed that he was on the run from the mob.On its face, this seems ludicrous. However, his stories were always compelling and full of telling details. I’ve spent much time speculating about Jack’s current whereabouts (Carnival?).
Anyway, Jack and Damen shared an apartment in Lafayette, behind a drugstore and above a schizophrenic man who always wanted to trade cans of hominy for joints. Damen was a real sleaze. He loved clubbing. He took me once to pick up some girls to take to the club. I had, unfortunately and for the sake of small talk, expressed confusion at what one does when one goes “clubbing.”
The girls lived in a trailer. It was not in a trailer park. It was in the middle of an open field, with nothing but cane fields for miles. We sat in the car as they finished getting ready. As they emerged, descending the wooden, handmade, almost tree-house-like front steps, I could make out their Abbot-and-Costello physiques. One short and large, the other a rail-thin giant. The short one, Damen declared, “is for you; remember to lick it before you stick it.”
How many levels of gross, dear Damen, How many?
Needless to say, we had a weird time. The club played nothing but bad southern rap and dance hits of the period (’95). All the men wore outrageous cologne. There was a mechanical bull, but it was turned off.
If he’s alive and well today, I do not doubt that Damen has MANY of these large-print tee shirts hanging and neatly pressed in his closet.
OMG, southern rap is so dirty. The one person I have ever met whose rap selection was strictly Southern, was a high school buddy, who loved Camaros and the color teal (which was actually some other color to him, because he’s colorblind). He now owns a night club in Wisconsin and wears graphic tees with blazers and a wicked tan.