Now, somebody help me understand animal print.
I don’t really have anything against it. I have friends whose closets must resemble a Kenyan preserve. There are people reading this as their feet sit in animal print pumps or while their body rests upon animal print sheets. By all means, do your funky thang. I’m only saying that of the many mysteries I have yet to solve, humans wearing animal print is one of them.
It’s not a PETA thing. I don’t have a problem with leather coats and alligator shoes. It’s the animal PRINT I don’t “get.”
Someone might say, “We wear animal print in admiration of nature’s artwork.” Yeah, well, tell that to something like the Australian Numbat, which resembles a hybrid between an anteater and a raccoon and eats termites. He, no doubt, fancies itself a looker. Where is the deluge of designers panting to reproduce Numbat print? The giraffe has vivid markings. Why can’t it get any love? Where is the run on Hyena print?
Begrudgingly, those animals would tell you that most of the print attention goes to the zebra, tiger and the leopard. And based on what humans choose to adorn in animal print–miniskirts, certain purses, shoes, stockings, panties–it’s clear that we see the prowess of particular animals as rebellious, dangerous and thus, somehow sexy. Tigers and leopards, I understand. But zebras? Don’t they just stand around? That is, when they’re not fleeing tigers and leopards.
I’ve imagined the tables being turned. I envision a warthog with an attitude sashaying through the Tanzania brush one balmy evening in a way too tight HUMAN PRINT ensemble: a French cut FLESH colored tee–authentic with stretch marks on the lower stomach–and matching flesh-toned peddle pushers, varicose veins artfully painted down one calf and a tattoo on the right buttock that says, “Tyrone’s Bitch.”
Obviously, animal print is something I spend too much time thinking about, but I can’t help it. The idea of people wearing it intrigues me as much as…the civilian who dresses in military camouflage.
I understand society’s Warholian attempt to diminish the pain of war. What I don’t get is civilian society’s failure to realize just how corny it looks dressed in camouflage.
There ought to be a law: unless you are on your way to or returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip, parts of Pakistan or any other military hot spot on the globe; unless you were or are currently in the military, you should not be allowed to wear camouflage.
Gosh, listen to me. Who am I to lobby for such a statute? What stands as my mystery is someone else’s lucidity. And while the enlightened explain the concept of a soccer mom in camouflage to me, perhaps they might also shed some light on those suits some NBA basketball players don off court.
I don’t understand: For four action-packed quarters, you play with the heart and soul of a tatted up gladiator. And then you go change into a sinopia brown plaid suit featuring a jacket that hangs the length of an SUV.
I can appreciate tailor-made. These guys are big, and they’re tall. But these suits are not simply a larger version of a conventional cut; this is custom spelled with a capital K. Think contemporary Circus Vargas. That’s an awful lot of fabric. I’ve lived in apartments smaller than some of those suit jackets.
Of course, it’s not just fashion trends that keep me awake at night. I think about passengers who balk at tougher search procedures during airline travel.
The whining is not simply a case of “How quickly we’ve forgotten September 11;” the very real safety scares we’ve had in the last few months are sufficient enough reminders of the importance of heightened airport security.
No, this complaining is something else–this is people becoming so jaded in the midst of a culture of terrorism that even as potential disasters continue to be thwarted, passengers bemoan being X rayed and/or patted down.
I don’t know anyone who appreciates privacy more than I do. I’m not crazy about a TSA official getting an eyeful of my Body-Scanned body. But if the alternative is me free falling 35,000 feet from an exploding plane into the Pacific Ocean, holding onto my ass and what’s left of my airline seat as I watch my life pass before my bulging, runny eyes, then the TSA can body scan me, broadcast it live on the schedule monitors throughout L.A. International, tape and edit it, find a suitable ad sponsor and air it as a special on BET.
I realize some passengers feel their rights have the potential to be violated. But we live in a world where some misguided, determined people are wearing bombs as drawers.
So what if I gotta live with the occasional thought that some anonymous TSA worker glimpses me in a special way. In return I get to live, and as long as I’m alive, like most human beings, in time, in my head I can make almost anything all right. And THAT concept, I understand completely.
Steven Ivory, journalist and author of the essay collection Fool In Love (Simon & Schuster), has covered popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV for more than 30 years. Respond to him via [email protected].