A while back, a couple of the gals in Transman’s office were joking about nominating him for a turn on What Not To Wear.
“They do guys, too!” one of them said, giggling.
Transman went back to his cubicle scratching his head, not really sure about the show or his coworkers’ assessment of his style. Granted, Transman does buy most of his threads at thrift stores and occasionally helps himself to the “we’re moving and don’t want to haul this shit” pile of clothes at his complex’s laundry (yes, he washes the clothes before wearing them). Still, Transman does try to look presentable most of the time despite what his father might tell you about Transman looking “like a damn hobo.”
During Transman’s recent hospital stay, he had a chance to see the show because he couldn’t get the TV remote to work and the television was stuck on TLC. As fate would have it, they were running a What Not To Wear marathon. The only thing Transman could control was the volume, so he slept for hours with the sound turned off and the bluish TV glow washing over him, comforting him, reminding him of how TV had pretty much raised him. When he was awake, he turned up the volume to hear Stacy London and Clinton Kelly tear down and rebuild the wardrobe of a hapless school teacher aiming for an administrative post.
As the credits rolled, Transman drifted into a troubled sleep ….
He awoke to find himself and the contents of his dresser in a New York studio. Stacy was frowning as she and Clinton pulled out various items of clothing.
“Oh my god, Flatt and Scruggs meet the Rat Pack,” Clinton laughed as he held up a denim suit with pinstripes.
Clinton dropped the suit into the garbage can next to him.
Stacy let out a bray of laughter as she held up a concert shirt with bleach stains on it.
“Lemme guess … sentimental value?” she asked. “Who listens to Toad the Wet Sprocket, anyway? They actually put on concerts?”
Not me, Transman thought. Stupid dreamscape. I only listen to cool music. Well, except for the 80s tunes you’ll find buried deep in my iTunes library, but Toad the Wet Sprocket? Never!
“I swear, it’s not mine,” Transman protested. “I always changed the station when ‘All I Want’ came on.”
Stacy gave a snort of disbelief as she made a perfect three-pointer into the garbage can.
Clinton hoisted a pair of lace-up moccasin boots and then doubled over in laughter, gasping something about “Hello, it’s Easy Rider. Peter Fonda, we’ve found your boots!”
As would only happen in a dream, Transman grabbed at the boots. “Please don’t throw those away! I need those!”
“Buh-bye!” Clinton said and let the boots drop.
They made him try on a few of his go-to outfits:
After laughing and tsking their way through Transman’s mini fashion show, Clinton and Stacy gave him some advice on the kind of things he should look for when they turned him loose in the shopping district the next day.
“Well, since you’re 4′ tall, you really need to find a good pair of boots,” Stacy said. “Possibly even stilts.”
“You’ve got the right idea with the layers to cover that belly of yours,” Clinton said, “but you need to stick to one main color in your suit. It’s okay to add a pop of color with your tie or pocket square, but only a solid color suit. Plain shirt, too. No plaid, no polka dots–”
“What about stripes?” Transman asked.
“No. No patterns for you!”
“No!” they said in unison.
The next morning, Transman hit the shops:
Clinton and Stacy burst into the store where Transman was digging through piles of tweed vests. Clinton was brandishing an old-fashioned scrap book full of pictures of Paul Newman. “This! This is what you need to go for. Classic, timeless. Usually one color. Often free trade.”
After getting Transman into Clinton and Stacy-approved clothing, they sent him off to be “purtied up” by Carmindy. Her bubbly cheer was fizzled by Transman’s dour look. “I’m not wearing guyliner, so don’t even suggest it.”
“Okay, um,” she said, looking desperately for something to suggest. “Lots of men use moisturizer. You have some red patches on your cheeks.”
“It’s eczema,” Transman said bluntly.
“Well, some concealer might camouflage that scar on your chin.”
“So would a beard,” Transman said.
“Okay,” Carmindy’s eyes lit up. “Hair is usually Nick’s territory, but if it’s on the face, I guess I could have a go. Have you ever considered a chin-strap beard? And we can wax your eyebrows–”
Transman jumped out of the chair.
“You’re off your rocker, lady!” he said, and pushed her makeup kit onto the floor.
“Nooooooo!” she wailed as tubes and powders and brushes scattered. And like a vampire that has to stop and count mustard seeds, she started picking up the items one by one, allowing Transman to escape …
He ran down the hall and ducked into a room.
“All right, then,” a voice said behind him.
Transman turned to see Nick Arrojo approaching him, brandishing scissors and grinning.
“Calm down,” he told Transman. “I’m here to help.”
Transman checked the door, but it wouldn’t budge. He feinted left and then ran right around Nick.
“Come on, Transman, don’t be like that,” Nick said. “You have a lot of natural wave we can work with.”
“They’re cowlicks,” Transman shouted. He ran to Nick’s work station and searched for something to use as a weapon. A hairdryer. What am I gonna with that? Gently warm Nick’s fingers until he drops the scissors?
“Have a seat, Transman,” Nick entreated as he got closer.
Transman picked up a comb.
“Stay back,” he shouted!
“It’s okay, Transman,” Nick’s voice was changing, getting higher.
“It’s okay,” the voice repeated. “Wake up. I need to check your vitals.”
Transman blinked his eyes a few times. The shift nurse was standing beside his bed.
“You were having quite the nightmare,” she said and smiled. “Those pain meds can do that.”