Wearing your heart on your sleeve (or chest)

Last week, I stumbled upon this Gizmodo article about this Kickstarter for singles’ apparel. Both are terrible, in my opinion, but let’s talk about why, and what we could do to make them better. 🙂

Gizmodo—why you gotta be so negative!? Jeez, Kyle! He starts out with the assertion that most attempts at “online dating” (WTF quotes?) are because daters are inherently flawed. Aside from the whole “we’re all flawed humans” argument, I think that’s kind of messed up. To be fair, plenty of people who attempt to find love online are kinda bonkers, yes. But plenty more are perfectly sound, awesome people, who are using an incredibly broken and flawed system to try to connect with people in an inherently awkward medium. So things get screwy not just because of the people involved, Kyle. Quit trashing my clients, haha. (Or hey, become one and let me show you how not-necessarily-screwballs online dating can be if you LEARN TO DO IT WELL KYLE. Seriously. Call me.) So that’s flaw number one in that piece.

Men's Gutzy awkward shallow V-neck teeFlaw number two is the totally demeaning and frankly kind of immature assumption that doing anything to publicly proclaim that you’re on the market is somehow mock-worthy. That’s an understandable view, when you’re in middle school, but the reality is that as we grow up and older and we move further away from the infrastructures like education that provided us a network of similarly young and single people to meet, well, it gets damn hard trying to find someone you connect with. Some might argue that proclaiming your singleness (by asking friends to set you up, by listing your relationship status as single on Facebook, by going to singles’ bars and speed dating events and mixers and volunteer activities and sporting events and online dating sites) is kinda the only way to try to solve this loneliness problem. And it takes guts to be willing to be public about the fact that you’re not really happy being solo, so maybe cut people a little slack, OK Kyle? Please? (Are you single? Does this come from a place of bitterness? I totally get that. But ease up. Heck, let me help you find someone.)

Now let’s talk about this actual clothing line. It sucks, in my not remotely humble opinion. Those shirts are super ugly. The transfer colors are weird. The video feels awkward and forced to me, and I don’t feel like the founder makes a compelling case for me wearing her stuff. (Ack, I don’t want to be a Negative Nelly like Kyle, but I can’t handle the part where she’s looking at the wrong camera all Michelle-Bachman-style!) The name and spelling “Gutzy” both squick me out. The logo looks like Monster Energy Drink (don’t you think?). But the core concept is valid! I swear!

Ladies' Gutzy scoop teeBack in the day, like 2005 the day, when I was planning a singles’ mixer for people who shopped at Trader Joe’s (read more here), my Trader Joe’s singles group had a lot of debate about how we could indicate to other shoppers that we were single and looking. There were some downright silly suggestions, like placing a bunch of bananas facing a certain direction in your basket, haha. Don’t even get me started on the Freudian implications or the potential pitfalls and potassium overloads. But, you know, we were brainstorming ways to solve this problem back in 2005. And one idea was a T-shirt, pin, or bracelet, or even a sticker. Something you could WEAR.

Now, I know that’s different if it’s a secret code meant to speak only to other grocery shoppers. But the core concept is pretty smart, and I’ve always kinda wanted to try singles’ shirts out. It’s not a brand new concept, I just think it needs to have better execution than this particular attempt. And I must say, I think a $25 price point to actually get a shirt is a little steep unless you get a HECK of a shirt. I’d like to keep mine lower than that if I ever figure out what exactly I’d want to sell. It’s a tough sell getting singles to broadcast this about themselves, so I think you have to do it with a better eye for design and with a little more humor than this straight-up awkward Gutzy version.

Anyway, I would genuinely appreciate your input if you feel like such a shirt would be remotely wearable without being mocked into the ground by jaded Gizmodo writers like Kyle and any jaded folks you might interact with in real life. I’m trying to balance how much I want to share publicly about the designs and messages I have in mind, versus just going public with them and seeing how that works, heh. We’ll see. But any thoughts you lot have are most welcome!

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