You Can’t Give It Away (Andrew)

“Can I ask you a question?”

No, I’m not Brad Pitt. I know I look like him but I can assure you that while we might share the same chiseled features and unmistakable look of almighty handsome-ness, I am not him.

Is what I didn’t say because no one has ever asked me that. But I can but hope.

“Yes,” I said.

“What do you think of that t-shirt?” And he pointed at a neon pink t-shirt hanging on a rail at the back of the shop.

I was in a running shop to buy a t-shirt. In fact, I was now at the till having picked up a t-shirt and brought it to the till to pay for it. I had seen the pink t-shirt while browsing but hadn’t tried it on because it was a colour that can only be described with words like “shocking”, “blinding” or “confident in my sexuality”.

I’m not sure what to say so I try and think of something neutral. I say: “I prefer t-shirts with a pattern.”

It’s only when I say it that I realise I’ve handed him a simple blue t-shirt. I now look like a man who says I don’t like running while standing in a running shop buying running gear and talking about running.

The assistant doesn’t notice, instead they ask: “Would you buy it?”

Would I heck. I’d sooner run naked than wear a top that can be seen from the moon. You couldn’t give away a t-shirt like this. They should cut their losses now and just burn it. But I can’t say that. I say: “I’ve already paid for this one.” And I hold up the blue one.

But the assistant won’t take my evasion for an answer. “I know it’s divisive. We just want to know what people think of it?”

And I look at it again and I realise that while I wouldn’t buy it, I would actually wear it as I have a t-shirt which is exactly the same colour – and I worn it many times while out running. The only difference between my t-shirt and this one is that I received my one for free after a race.

And that’s when I realised that you could give it away because runners will accept anything if it’s free. I have race t-shirst I would never have considered buying. Insipid colours. Garish patterns. T-shirts which look like they’d been designed by a dog running through a paint pot. As long as it’s free, runners will keep it, wear it and not give it a second thought.

But ask us to buy it and no thanks!

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