dis·ha·bille/ˌdisəˈbēl/ Noun: The state of being only partly or scantily clothed
I was lying in bed, half asleep, when a word entered my mind. Dishabille. I could spell it, I could pronounce it, but I had no idea what it meant. Dishabille, dishabille, dishabille, I repeated over and over again. A nice departure from counting sheep and just as effective.
When I woke up the next morning I looked up the meaning of dishabille. And damned if it didn’t mean exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately. Maybe the word entered my brain, subconsciously, as I made my way in various public spheres, witnessing the annual Shedding of the Clothes that arrives with warmer weather. Seeing the abrupt nakedness of people who should never be publicly unclothed — which is nearly all of us, frankly — is a bit of a shock. It’s almost enough to make one hate summer. Now I’m not talking about the beach. Unfortunately swimming, or potential swimming, hovers over any beach trip no matter how unrelated it actually is to what you are doing at the beach, and gives near-nakedness a sort of legitimacy. I’m talking about everything else. Up to and including: trips to the hardware store, the grocery store, the post office, Wal-mart, and the mailbox. Another category that might seem to warrant or justify near-nakedness: recreational activities (no, not that kind of recreation). As in, an afternoon at a park or a zoo. Think lying on the grass means you can wear those shorts and that tank top? Then you’re wrong. It does not. Unless you can actually fit in those shorts and that tank top without spilling over the sides, through the arm holes and over the top. If you need to call in reinforcements to stay in your clothes, then don’t wear those clothes.
Why am I saying this? ( 1) Because somebody needs to. (2) For my own sake. I’m one of the approximately 95% of Americans who should not be wearing shorts. (3) For your sake. I’m one of the approximately 95% of Americans who should not be wearing shorts. (4) Because I love America. And we are embarrassing ourselves here.
Just in time for the 4th of July holiday, I think we need to re-think what it means to be truly patriotic. If you love your Country, cover yourself up. The rest of the world is laughing at us (not that we care). Maybe Toby Keith should write one of his grammy-winning songs about it, something like “God Bless the Land of the Free-of-Shorts”. Maybe then America would listen. I’m not asking us to do anything really hard, like lose weight. I’m a big believer in the Freedom Fries and the gymless existence, if that’s your thing. I’m just asking red-blooded Americans to avoid living in a state of dishabille. If it sounds like a disease, it’s for good reason, because no one wants to be the victim of dishabille, especially not the people who have to look at you for the three long months of summer.
P.S. And please don’t use the excuse that you’re “too hot”. This is New England. Our ancestors cooked over wood fires in layers of clothes. All you have to do is get fast food for your meals — the least you can do is put on a pair of linen pants to do so. Do right by your Yankee roots.