x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Observing Life: T-shirts and image confusion

Not wanting to leap to assumptions, I couldn't believe this 20-something lad giving tours around a spice farm in the middle of Zanzibar was a breast cancer 'SURVIVOR'.

Some time ago, while undertaking the twice-weekly bread, milk and tea bags shopping routine, I saw a fellow supermarket patron in an outfit that just didn't look right.

Now, this wasn't one of those unfortunate occasions when one of our visiting international guests interprets "culturally sensitive" to mean "minuscule hot pants and heels", nor was it a hilarious display of ostentatious bling with enough sparkle to light up a motorway.

No, this was a simple white T-shirt. A T-shirt that said "Steve's Stag Do, Magaluf 2002" on the front. Nothing particularly untoward, I realise. But given that this item of clothing was being worn by a rather rotund Filipino gentleman in his 50s, it was a curious sight to behold.

Without wanting to jump to hideous conclusions, I just didn't see this portly chap as a member of Steven's pre-wedding party in a Spanish holiday resort popular with British package holidaymakers. Maybe I was totally wrong. Maybe he'd been there, dancing on the tables and loudly ordering sausage, egg and chips to a bored waiter. But I couldn't imagine it.

Having banked this image as ideal dinner party anecdote material and promptly forgotten it, Steve's Stag Do, Magaluf 2002 sprung to my mind on holiday recently when I saw another guy in a bizarre top.

Again, not wanting to leap to assumptions based on a person's appearance, I couldn't believe this 20-something lad giving tours around a spice farm in the middle of Zanzibar was a breast cancer "SURVIVOR", as his bright pink T-shirt so proudly declared. Doubts were raised further by the fact that the T-shirt had been issued by the American Cancer Society, which I don't believe has any operations in East Africa.

Just a day later, I spotted a rather angry-looking man walking in a manner that suggested his next conversation wasn't going to involve a cuddle. Sadly, this menacing demeanour was let down by a T-shirt that suggested (in Comic Sans, no less) "In case of emergency, feed me chocolate". As much as I wanted to, I didn't dare take a photo.

Since returning to the UAE, I've learnt of the charitable initiatives that send bulk clothing around the world and have concluded that these particular specimens must surely have come from one these (unless someone has some stag do photos they want to show me).

But somebody should probably tell the aggressive-faced guy in the chocolate-endorsing T-shirt that it's not really doing his image any favours.

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