A Shirt by any Other Name
My brother Ron first introduced me to curling. I was 14 at the time. I was in my late 30’s before I started taking it seriously. When I was 43 my rugby team made it to the Maritime Championship which was played on the first Saturday in November. The following Wednesday was the first night of that winter’s curling season. That night I overheard someone say, “Who’s the young fella?” I looked around and then realized that he was referring to me. I went from being the oldest guy on the rugby pitch to the youngest guy in the curling rink. It was good for my self-esteem.
This story took place several years later. Our kids had moved out and my wife and I were empty-nesters. On this particular Wednesday night I was getting my curling gear together. I would always wear a sleeveless t-shirt under my golf shirt. I grabbed a t-shirt from the clean laundry basket. I put it on but found it to be really tight; however, I had recently finished rugby season and knew that my upper body was bulked up more than usual BUT this one was really tight. Oh well, it was getting late and I needed to get on the road.
After my team took the ice, I got down in the hack to prepare my first stone. As I did so, I could feel my t-shirt moving up the small of my back. It was rather uncomfortable. I tried tucking it back down but it kept riding up. Oh well, I would have to ignore it. When I returned home later that night I tossed my curling gear in with the dirty laundry.
Several days later my wife met me in the hallway outside the laundry room. She was holding the same white, sleeveless t-shirt out for me to see.
“Whose shirt is this?”
“Isn’t that one of my undershirts?”
“This is a ladies tank-top.”
“Really? How can you tell?
“Just look at it.”
It still looked like a regular t-shirt to me. “Then it must be yours.”
“No. It’s … not … mine.”
“Huh. I don’t know what to say. I don’t think I own any ladies tank-tops.”
The mystery was solved shortly thereafter. We had been away a few weeks earlier and our daughter had been house/dog sitting for us. She left one of her tank-tops behind and it was the one I had worn. I returned it to her but she made some reference to it being stretched out of shape. I apologized.
I realized that this made for a funny story so I started telling it. Teachers at work had a good laugh, and a few days later I overheard a colleague retelling the tale. When she did she used the word camisole rather than tank-top. Without thinking I just assumed that camisole and tank-top meant the same thing, so I would often use the term when sharing the story.
Several retellings later a fellow teacher asked me how it was that I couldn’t tell the difference between a camisole and a t-shirt.
“Well, they look identical”, I answered.
“No they don’t. A camisole has decorative trim; you know, frilly stuff. Are you sure it wasn’t a tank-top.”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what is was, a tank-top. Tank-top and camisole are not synonymous?”
“No, they are not the same thing. If you tell people that it was a camisole then you appear to be an even bigger idiot.”
For the record, it was a tank-top.
Oh, and I now know what a camisole is.
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