Independence Day is just hours away. Before you pull out your patriotic garb, we need to talk.
I believe our forefathers would be proud of how we celebrate the Fourth of July. Our traditions haven’t changed much over the years—good ol’ picnics, family and friends, fireworks and parades are still the standard. Benjamin Franklin could grab a beer and join right in without feeling like he missed a day in the life of an American. But for one glaring, fleshy exception: The clothes.
You’ve seen it—you may even wear it. The fiery red tank top with “Proud to be an American” flanked by tufts of manly underarm hair. The Uncle Sam skull and crossbones shirt. An entire store dedicated (really) to “Fabulous, Sexy Fourth of July Clothes.” Gross. Independence Day should be rated G, and I’m pretty sure I felt like that even before I had to shield my child’s eyes from hankie-sized, star-spangled midriffs that apparently celebrate our freedom to get boob jobs. Men, American flag boxer shorts desecrate our nation’s symbol. And ladies, horizontal stripes are for flags, not people. If the glare from the glittering fireworks on your oversized T-shirt melts my plastic margarita cup, it’s too much. That flag-patterned bikini? Okay, I’m just jealous I can’t pull that off.
I’m all for patriotism. My family will wear our nation’s colors; I have red, white and blue dishtowels. But let’s go for something classier than pinwheel bug-antenna headbands or blue pom-pon wigs. And please, please don’t customize a shirt that names you as anyone’s personal firecracker. Even Thomas Jefferson would draw the line there, and it makes the rest of us embarrassed to be Americans.