Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's on Your Shirt?


While the level of social interaction is generally pretty low in a village where the number of fluent English speakers can be counted on one hand (with four fingers left, I believe), the lack of English here has left me with plenty of time and ample specimens with which to play my new favorite game: Does The Georgian Know What’s on His Shirt?

Clothing here is all imported and if a shirt has writing on it, it’s in English. The number of people who wear things they can’t read amazes me. Maybe they were told the meaning when they bought it, or maybe it was just shiny or cheap or convenient. I’m rather inclined toward the later options because there are most definitely some discrepancies between the shirts and their wearers.

 My host brother, for instance, has a shirt that says “The Scent of Sexy.” When I think of what the scent of sexy might be it isn’t 18 year old boy who showers every fourth day and has at best a casual familiarity with deodorant.

I’ve seen quite a few girls with shirts with fancy or glittery font proclaiming that the reader “can’t afford [them].” Maybe that’s true in Georgia, but anyone who can read your shirt can definitely afford you at your current standard of living, and maybe even give you better dental work.

I saw the best one yesterday; it was on an older heavy set woman (American fat, not the rest of the world fat, just to be clear). It was blue and had an off one shoulder neck line with a thin strap over the exposed shoulder. In pink block lettering with a white diamond in the background just to add emphasis it asked “What’s Your Blog?” My question is does that woman know what a blog is??? I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say “no.”

Probably my favorite odd, inappropriate use of English is a trend in reusable shopping bags I’ve seen in Samtredia. The bags are a swirly pattern of pink, purple, light blue and yellow and written huge across this background are the words “Rave Girl.” Picture a slightly stooped seventy year old lady with a shin length floral print dress carrying a bag that says “Rave Girl.”

I know just enough Georgian to know that people talk about my lack of language, so I feel it balances out well that I get to silently observe the English around them that is so incongruous with their lives.

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