I keep having dreams of returning to college, which is unfortunate since, if it’s an omen, I’ll have to devolve my sense of looking good.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that the face of fashion on many campuses tends to be bleary-eyed. When you have to commit such heinous acts as waking up before 10 a.m., there often simply isn’t time to consider matters such as color coordination, weather, or how to unlock your sleep pants from your body. And most dorm rooms simply can’t contain the capacity of clothes needed to accommodate a perfectly reasonable once-per-month laundry date.

I admit I had the same trends, but mostly when I went down to the cafeteria directly connected to my dorm. If the food wasn’t going to make an effort to look pretty, neither was I. And if you want to walk around the commons in the middle of winter wearing gym shorts and a torn Iron Maiden T-shirt, go right ahead; the campus health staff need to make their livings. It’s when the “dorm dump” look escapes the confines of campus, however, that I start to get squeamish.

It happened on Monday. My darling grandmother and I were having lunch at Subway; a nice, cozy franchise about a mile away from the nearest campus.

And then they came: the Sweatpant Legion.

Two girls and a guy, all in dull gray hoodies and elastic bandcloth. The girls’ sweatpants, in an effort to break the monotony, had the college name festooned in hot pink along one leg and, of course, writing of the same color on their backsides—because it’s a badge of honor drawing everyone’s attention to the scope of adspace on your rear end:

“Oh. My. Gawd. Becky, look at her butt.”

“It’s so big, ugh, she’s got the entire text of T.S. Eliot’s ‘Sweeney Among the Nightingales’ on it. In 14-point Courier!”

“Ugh, she looks like one of those English majors’ girlfriends.”

“But, ya know, who understands those English majors? Ugh.”

Sidling in, lanyards hanging as low out their pockets as possible to denote rank, the Sweatpant Legion changed the entire mood of the eatery. People yawned. The in-shop radio changed from Taylor Swift to old Mitch Hedberg routines. My nose had a flashback, detecting phantom aromas of “incense,” Easy Mac and ennui. I had to get some air.

No. I’ve made so much progress in the outside world; I’ve finally learned not to wear white socks with black shoes. There’s no turning back now.

Advertisements