Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hawaiian Shirts Make Everyone and Everything Better

By: Christopher Forsley

Illustration by Cameron Forsley

I'm not Hawaiian and I don't often wear shirts, but, from this day forward, I'm going to wear Hawaiian shirts and only Hawaiian shirts. Mark Twain said that clothes make the man and that naked people have no influence on society. I disagree. Naked people always have an influence on society. I've been naked in society and influenced a cabbie to reject me, an old lady's heart to fail, and a firefighter to hose down my fire-crotch. But I agree that clothes make the man. Tight jeans make the man infertile. Dresses make the man less manly. And Hawaiian shirts make the man both classy and comfortable.  

I didn't decide to dedicate my torso to Hawaii's finest garments overnight. Rather, it was this morning while slurping up oatmeal and watching James Bond in Casino Royale (2006) that I made my decision. This Bond, Daniel Craig, is my least favorite. He's blond and brainless. But his first Bond flick, Casino Royale (2006), ranks among the franchise's best. . . and, along with the poker sequence where Jeffrey Wright does the best Felix Leiter since Rick Van Nutter, it's because Craig wears a Hawaiian shirt. It's the shirt that provides him with the class and charisma he's naturally lacking.
Sean Connery, unfortunately, didn't wear Hawaiian shirts, but, unlike Craig, he didn't need to. His natural charisma and class allowed him to conjure the character of Bond with ease. Craig isn't so lucky. In his second Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2007), he didn't wear a Hawaiian shirt and, as a result, the film is tied with Die Another Day (2002) as the franchise's worst. It's impossible for Craig to play Bond with the natural class and charisma Connery displayed in the likes of From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964), but if he would make Hawaiian shirts a permanent part of his wardrobe, I think he could compare with the Connery of Diamonds Are Forever (1971).  

Hawaiian shirts make everyone and everything better. Craig is a better Bond when he wears a Hawaiian shirt, and Bond flicks are better flicks when the viewer wears a Hawaiian shirt. Why do you think Hawaiian shirts are so popular with cubicle workers? It's because it makes their mundane, enslaving existence, if not better, more bearable. It transports them out of their white-walled hell and into a paradise where hula-girls dance naked on the beach and the waterfalls flow with rum.

They're also the most comfortable shirts. And what's more important than comfort? Absolutely nothing. While most shirts are made from sweat-encouraging, bacteria-nurturing cotton that changes shape and looses comfort as time goes by, Hawaiian shirts are made from the sparkling silk of the best-bred silkworms which ages like fine wine. The longer you own and wear such a shirt, the more comfortable it becomes. 

Because Hawaiian shirts age like fine wine and evolve alongside your waste line, they're an investment. Most shirts are like cars: they lose half their resale value within a year and need repairs shortly after. But Hawaiian shirts are like gold: they are treasures that have, since the beginning of time, acted as a safeguard against inflation and currency depreciation. Used clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange are always eager to buy Hawaiian shirts, and any good pawnbroker will give you a loan if you offer a Hawaiian shirt as collateral. 

Do you think it's a coincidence that our greatest pop-culture icons all wear Hawaiian shirts? Ace in Ace Venture(1994), 'Hi' McDunnough in Raising Arizona (1987), Tommy Vercetti in GTA: Vice City (2002), Tony Soprano in The Sopranos (1999-2007), Chunk in The Goonies (1985), Raul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971, 1998), Dale in Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers (1989), Tony Montana inScarface (1983), Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High(1982), Nick Nolte in jail (2002) -- we love these characters for a reason.

We don't love them because they wear Hawaiian shirts. We love them because they are the type of people that wear Hawaiian shirts. The guy with the Hawaiian shirt is a guy you can trust. He'll get you into trouble but then get you out. He's the guy with the hottest chick and the fastest car. He'll always offer you a drink and a joint. He's the sharpest shooter and the wittiest of wits. The guy with the Hawaiian shirt is happy. He's the guy, every time you wear a Hawaiian shirt, you get to be.

The Forsley Brothers (Christopher and Cameron) come to Total Bozo from, where they are also awesome.