Dear Large Outdoor Clothier,
Gentlemen, I received the shirt you’d asked me to review just before Memorial Day weekend.
Normally I would have considered the timing perfect, as that three day holiday is when all of us take to the woods intent on sport.
I would have subjected your clothing to an exhaustive battery of tests, wearing it overly long (ignoring the grimaces of my companions)and ensuring my commentary was both learned and factual.
Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to remove it from its sterile wrapper, much less wear the damn thing.
This is not clothing suitable for the outdoors, this is the type of shirt you wear if you want to have sex in the cramped stall of a public restroom with a fellow angler.
I’m unsure what you call the color internally, but I would ask you how am I supposed to blend into my surroundings should I stalk a large brown trout feeding in the shallows?
Was I fortunate enough to have a pod of wary Bonefish within casting range, how am I to deliver the fly when my clothing is eye-watering, capable of searing a fish retina with prolonged exposure – and cannot help but make everything within a hundred yards flee without hesitation?
I consented to this arrangement as you made my last fishing vest. It lasted 25 years, and was a testament to your long history of quality outdoors garments. It was so well put together your stitching made me – and it – nearly invincible.
Those memories made me stray from my core competencies and entertain the idea that a shirt of similar construction and durability could become essential equipment in the woods, and I was qualified to judge both its fit and function.
Instead I receive a shirt suitable to flag the Coast Guard should I become shipwrecked on a deserted island, or making me a fashion plate should I wish to clink glasses with Bernie Madoff on the fantail of his yacht …
… with all his new boyfriends, and me blushing fetchingly.
An outdoor clothing company has the responsibility to make quality clothing to assist the hunter or angler, and should not insist that the cut of the garment or its color work at cross purposes to its owner.
If it does, it’s confused about its reason for being.
I figure it was the work of those merry pranksters in your marketing department – who read my column on occasion. Figuring they owed me one for all them “lifestyle” digs, and good sports all, they insisted you send me one in the heart-stopping “unsalable” color.
It was a great gag, especially as it was at my expense.
Full Disclosure: I’m returning the garment to its maker unreviewed, unopened, and at my earliest convenience, never to stray into riskier territory than a green Pendleton …