It’s a secret, a deep-held shame that I hide from myself as much as from other people. It often takes refuge between the rant-laced lines of Armchair Blasphemy. But I can no longer conceal it or wave it away—I must at last face it and admit to you the reader my deepest shame: I harbor deep jealousy of religious clothing, most especially robes.
It has nothing to do with belief or unbelief; it’s just about comfort. I am what is often known in American parlance as a “fat slob.” I can’t buy shit off the rack, because even though I am nearly six feet tall, I have only a thirty-inch inseam, and I’m shaped like a stunted pear. This is the source of my wistful desire for religious garb: comfort. I mean look at this guy (below right).
Do you have any idea how comfortable that shit would be to wear every day? It would be like walking around in an oversized bed sheet; no belts, snaps or zippers leaving hurtful red marks on my delicate love handles. It is an indisputable fact that a billowy robe is the only possible fashion choice to make a doughy man look glorious (pinstripe suits work only for gangsters).
Comfort, style and power, it’s all there. Nothing says “give me your money and don’t ask questions” quite like a robe. By contrast, the most comfortable outfit I have now is an oversized t-shirt and sweats. Nothing says “fat loser heading to the nudie bar” more than a pair of stained and rumpled sweat pants. How do these religious guys get away with wearing dresses all the time? Aren’t they opposed to cross dressing? Isn’t the religious community the most homophobic sect of American Society? Yet here they, wearing dresses—and it isn’t even Halloween.
There are options for atheists like me. I could dress up like a Jedi or something, but guys who walk around in Star Wars regalia get less ass than the Pope. Since I’m a married man and a father, obviously I’ve had sex at some point: Star Wars robes are out. There are also robes worn by people of other countries, although these always seem to have religious or political connotations as well, so they aren’t for me either.
So, I look at these religious duds, big flowing robes, lots of gold, big hats and I marvel. I can’t even pull off a cowboy hat without looking like a total douche bag, but these religious folk could show up to a wedding in Lycra shorts and pasties and no one would say a goddamn thing—all because of some weird sense of religious tolerance. This is the true injustice, the double standard that atheists must face.
So it seems that I will remain forever squeezed uncomfortably into jeans that don’t quite fit my body shape, covered over with an oversized Hawaiian shirt to compensate for my lack of robes. There is no religion for me, no religious claptrap or ritual, so there is no way for me to credibly wander the streets in a robe. Unless the male muumuu gains social acceptance outside Hawaii, I fear that I will forever remain robe-less.