I am the consummate bachelor. not the Oscar Madison type mind you, but more Felix Unger. For those of you who didn’t get that pop-culture reference, it’s like I’m more of a Jerry than a Kramer—neat, organized, my place is (at least) surface clean, but definitely not deep down clean. I’ll let the sheets go an extra week if I’m the only one sleeping in them. And I don’t necessarily pick up crumbs or Q-tips right away, and all of my toilet seats are perpetually “up.”
When it comes to the kitchen, my culinary skills are just shy of a short-order cook. I make a mean grilled cheese, pasta, stir-fry and can heat up restaurant leftovers like a pro. I’m the guy Swanson has made a fortune feeding with compartmentalized meat-and-three meals “fresh” from the microwave. And if it’s not frozen, most anything resembling a meal served at my house likely arrived in a “to-go” Styrofoam container. Learning to cook for me is “on the back burner” so to speak.
Some will say that eating out nearly all of the time isn’t very economical. I disagree. Over the years, I’ve learned how to order the right selections at the right places to stretch what would normally be considered a single serving into two or three meals. For example, I can make a $7.99 carry out special pizza last at least three meals. Eight bucks for three meals is a hell of a lot cheaper than whatever I would spend burning anything I attempted to cook from scratch. Me and my other single pals even compare notes on the subject. I recently learned that leftover fries from Five Guys chopped up and cooked with scrambled eggs the next morning makes a fine breakfast.
Due to my erratic work and social schedule, meals for me are often eaten at odd times, where breakfast is almost always consumed during brunch hours, lunch doesn’t happen unless I have a lunch meeting, and dinner is either eaten around 4 p.m. or midnight—but rarely ever in between. I come home from my afternoon meetings or after a night out and prepare my bachelor meals to be devoured on the couch in front of the television. This habit poses an unnatural eating stance where I’m comfortably laid back instead of leaning over the kitchen table so crumbs and sauce droppings that don’t make the security of a napkin nearly always end up on my shirt.
This means that over the years I’ve gone through gallons of Spray ‘n Wash in order to preserve my finer clothing and to avoid looking like a slob when wearing those unfortunate soldiers that’ve retained the scars of battle wounds inflicted during the slaughter of savory sack lunch enjoyment. I’ve learned that there are many types of sauces and condiments that just can’t be trusted. Soy sauce, mustard, pasta sauce, grease of course, and other substances that elude immediate doctoring by chemical pre-wash treatment have the power to ruin a perfectly good shirt.
Nothing is more frustrating for me than pulling a dirty shirt out of the hamper for washing and noticing a deep stain that’s had days to set in and will likely not dissolve with the feeble attempt of Tide alone. So, being the resourceful type, I have found a way to avoid these mishaps forever. It’s called “the eatin’ shirt.”
Now, when I come home and want to heat up something in the kitchen to enjoy on the sofa, I remove whatever shirt I happen to be sporting at the time and replace it with a T-shirt that I have affectionately dubbed my “eatin’ shirt.” Neatly tucked in a corner next to the sofa, this combat veteran has seen so much action that it’s likely the food stain badges of honor it contains are all that’s holding it’s precious fibers together at this point.
My eatin’ shirt has become a required staple of my wardrobe, for it’s the fall guy for preserving the pristine nature of its comrades in the closet. This shirt goes in and handles all of the dirty work so that my nicer shirts can live free to make me look presentable for yet another day.
Now, before you say to yourself, “Man, Chuck has this filthy disgusting T-shirt shoved into his couch for spilling stuff on,” let me say that the eatin’ shirt does get laundered often. Likely more often than any other garment I own. But the important thing to keep in mind is that bachelor wisdom demands the service of a shirt that can help keep a single man dapper during solo mealtimes. And my eatin’ shirt is just that important to me.
Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that. Everything expressed is loosely based on fact and crap he hears people talking about. Take what you read with a grain of salt, but let it pepper your thoughts.