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Wednesday, 14 January
Clothes Unmake The Woman

The wife discovered the dark side of online shopping tonight. See, her folks, bless 'em, were kind of befuddled as to what to get us for Jesusmas, so one of their presents to each of us were gift cards to J.C. Penney's. Poor lowly J.C. Penney's. They are, plainly, The Store Your Parents Shop At. Is there anything less hip than Penney's?

Okay, sit down, TJ Maxx, I see you.

Anyway. The wife sat down a week ago and started poking around the Penney's site, hopelessly looking for clothes. (I haven't used mine yet, but I'm reasonably sure I'm going to just buy a blender or something. Yes, I am all man. I'm fucking Doc Savage with a gift card! Rrrrrrr!) She found some pants she liked, and a couple shirts and a sweater, I think.

They came today, wrapped attractively in a shapeless mass of grey plastic. It's this sort of thing that maybe indicates that Penney's is not so much, ah, upscale. J.C. Penney's: We Eschew Boxes. It looked for all the world like a tiny body bag built for goth pixies. The wife proceeded to open the sad packagelet.

She brought out a pair of brown pants. An enormous pair of brown pants. Titanic. These were Brobdingnagian pants: I hoped they had been autographed by Jonathan Swift. "These are huge!" cried the wife. Happily, she still tried them on: they were ridiculously tremendous on her, and made her walk stiffly and oddly erect. Basically, she looked like Puddleglum the Marsh-Wiggle. And the awful fabric of the pants made terrible shrrrrk-shrrrk sounds whenever she moved--the mating call of wild burlap. "Boy, that looks and sounds really comfortable!" I said helpfully. She laughed and went into the bedroom to get them off, and as she changed, I still heard the malevolent susurrations of the fabric. Chilling.

She tried on a turtleneck sweater, of a rather violently Pepsoesque hue, which also looked on the gigantic side, but actually looked okay. The wife examined her now rare-beefishly-colored torso: "It didn't look this pink on the screen." I wondered briefly if anyone had ever thought the same thing about internet porn, and then decided that I would really have to stop thinking, you know, at all.

The wife tried on another shirt, this one a complicated floral print with a strange sort of textured fabric, and it was, well, funereal in almost every way. The cut was unsuited for the wife, and hung off of her horribly, like a shift fashioned out of dead children. The print was supposed to be, I think, representative of intertwined roses, but in this it failed terribly, and somehow managed to look rather sinister and deranged, as if it had been printed by lonely convicts, long ago driven mad from staring at their own tattoos. Basically, the shirt was a catastrophe: "This is horrible," declared the wife, tugging at it in a hopeless effort to make it look somehow less ghastly.

So that crap is going back (although a sick part of me kind of wants to keep that one shirt, if only for future experiments in black comedy). As for my part, after this experience, fuck man: those were some hilarious clothes. I may have to try this out myself. Maybe get myself some cut-rate Speedo knockoffs. I wonder if they have plaid.

I'm sure they do.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


The only safe Penney's purchases are linens and socks. Trust me. I speak as a man whose mother has a JCP house charge and a lack of imagination when it comes to gifts. I have so many sheets and towels from there, my linen closet looks like the prop room for a bad sitcom about the wacky misadventures of the Ku Klux Klan on the high seas called Percale's Navy.

Comment number: 004167   Posted by: TheBrad on January 14, 2004 12:10 AM from IP:

my sister's boyfriend has a jcp credit card, so all she gets for holidays is tacky gold jewelry, haha, funniest ugliest shit i eva' seen

Comment number: 004168   Posted by: teena on January 14, 2004 07:40 AM from IP:

Penny's. I can't help you. If it was Sears you could at least get Tools. CRAFTSMAN TOOLS.

Comment number: 004169   Posted by: sbas on January 14, 2004 07:59 AM from IP:

Perhaps she could keep these items and make a kick ass White Elephant quilt?

Comment number: 004170   Posted by: dayment on January 14, 2004 09:07 AM from IP:

Narnia and dead children references--Together at last.

Comment number: 004171   Posted by: Shawn on January 14, 2004 09:45 AM from IP:

I still heard the malevolent sursurrations of the fabric.


There's no 'r' in the first syllable.

That's the first mistake I've seen in a year. You must have a great copy-editor.

Comment number: 004172   Posted by: merriam on January 14, 2004 11:03 AM from IP:

Ah, good catch, thanks.

I'm my own copy-editor, but even yesterday I used "neuroses" where I should have used "neurosis," so I seem to botch it fairly regularly.

Comment number: 004173   Posted by: Skot on January 14, 2004 11:14 AM from IP:

What you need to know about downscale department stores is this:

Fuck Penny's. Mervyn's is THE SHIT.

No, really.

Comment number: 004174   Posted by: gribble on January 14, 2004 11:37 AM from IP:

Y'know, JCPenney's was the company, which in 1995 bought Zubaz (and AFAIK still owns the rights) from those wrestler boys from Minnesota. Shame they discontinued 'em, otherwise you'd be able to get yourself some fine-lookin' pants.

Comment number: 004175   Posted by: DaveP on January 14, 2004 01:26 PM from IP:

Okay, sit down, TJ Maxx, I see you.

Actually, TJ Maxx resells last season's major-label inventory, so you can generally find some pretty good stuff if you go there every couple of months and are willing to spend a few minutes going through a lot of stuff that's destined for the rag trade. A case could even be made that TJ Maxx is about as hip as it gets, operating as it does at the intersection of couture and people who are broke.

(Marshall's = same as TJ Maxx, owned by the same company.)

Comment number: 004176   Posted by: alkali on January 14, 2004 01:34 PM from IP:

It's too bad that Penney's doesn't sell electronics like Sears. Then you could have gotten something geeky/gadgety like. My mom and dad used to have a JCP charge and all I could ever find were drab sweatshirts. Everything else sucked.

I've been out of town for a while, so I had to read your past entries. You should get paid for this - you are so damn funny. Thanks for making me laugh even when I feel like shite.

Comment number: 004177   Posted by: Tracy on January 14, 2004 02:55 PM from IP:

Black comedy is all about the clothes. Add the plaid Speedos to your emsemble, sit back and wait for the applause.

Comment number: 004178   Posted by: jac on January 15, 2004 05:44 AM from IP:

It's Penney's, man. SHOES, go to the shoes. They have normal nice shoes.

(PS - I ordered lots of my Christmas and found that all the biggies like LL Bean, Lands End and Edward Bauer are all going to the body bag for their mailing. Makes it real shitty when it's time to wrap.)

Comment number: 004179   Posted by: Bet on January 15, 2004 07:06 AM from IP:

If there were such a thing as the Simile Olympics, you would be a shoe-in.

" a shift fashioned out of dead children."
" a tiny body bag built for goth pixies."


Comment number: 004180   Posted by: Joel on January 15, 2004 11:45 AM from IP:

I was going to express my outrage about TJ Maxx not being hip but I think someone else did it for me.

Man, ya ever been to the Maxx? Then don't talk! 'Cause they sell lots and lots of bottles of special kind of olive oil and no place that isn't hip would do that.

Comment number: 004181   Posted by: Miel on January 15, 2004 11:43 PM from IP:

Ha... I sell men's suits at a JCPenney in Iowa and your assessment is pretty much the consensus here. I'll admit the clothing isn't always "in style"- you probably won't appreciate, for example, the offensively bright blue slacks we sell, unless you're over 70.

p.s. If you want electronics stuff order it out of the Penney's catalog, they have TVs and everything Sears has... and you can use gift cards on that sort of stuff.

Comment number: 004182   Posted by: James Cash Penney's biotch on January 16, 2004 12:30 AM from IP:

Hi, do you know of anyone still selling zubaz? I would really like to get some for my brother. His are pretty worn out and he wears them all the time. He has the snake style. Thanks for any help that can be given. I've looked on ebay and get more of the zubaz-like hits. Julie

Comment number: 004183   Posted by: Julie P on April 2, 2004 10:56 AM from IP:

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