How evil? So evil. It’s gotten to the point where I—and I think I speak for every New Yorker here—throw up in my mouth a little when I see this hideous image on the street.
And since this image is more ubiquitous than teenage girls at a Backstreet Boys concert (yes, I know that reference is a little dated but cut me a break here—I try to stay as far removed from that world as I possibly can without being on another physical planet, and I know the Backstreet Boys only because I was a teenage girl when they were hip, and thus absorbed a little of the auditory cruelty by purely involuntary osmosis), you can no doubt deduce that I spend a lot of time popping antacid tablets like M&Ms.
By the way, it’s not just on T-shirts. Oh no. The makers of this brilliant little icon (does anyone know who they are, by the way? I’d like to have them dragged into the street and shot, then burned in a pile of I “Heart” NY T-shirts. Or would that be overkill?) have somehow managed to work that image into every conceivable tourist item, including:
-Stationary (“Oh yeah honey, we got your letter, but Daddy accidentally left it too close to the lighter fluid while he was barbequing. Ha ha! Isn’t Daddy silly?”)
-Cattle brands (“A Taste Of New York”)
-Condoms (pretty much guarantees you’ll never get laid by a New Yorker)
-Cell phones (ringtone: the “I Love You, You Love Me” song by Barney)
-M&Ms (it’s really, really small, but it’s on there)
-Spray tattoos (I have also seen it on real ones, God help us all)
-Window stickers (bring the tourism home to Kentucky!)
-Fake nail polish for little girls (the stick-on kind)
-Keyboards (hopefully you’re a good typist, because every character was replaced by the icon)
-The Statue of Liberty (you have to get up close to see it, but it’s there, millions of times. Kind of a Magic Eye sort of thing)
-Magic Eye posters
Okay, maybe that last one was just a feverish part of a particularly gruesome nightmare. But I’m pretty sure about the others existing.
Some initial thoughts:
1. I don’t know who said, “A fool and his money are soon parted,” but I would guess that it was one of the creators of this icon on the day of its conception, and he was probably rubbing his hands together and laughing so hard tears were running down his face as he said it.
2. Since no one who lives here would ever be caught dead in one of these monstrosities, it makes it really easy to spot the tourists. However, that hasn’t done us much good since New York outlawed that sweet "as long as they’re being REALLY annoying and taking WAY too many pictures of tall buildings and you run away REALLY fast” exception to the murder rule.
3. However, think about this, New York Tourists. That heart is designed to sit right on top of your actual anatomical heart. Do you want to wear such a wanton target right on your body? No, of course you don’t.
4. Question—what happens to these shirts after you go home? I assume they go where all the other embarrassing, “I Got The Crabs At Big Dick’s” vacation T-shirts go to die, the back of your closet. When you see it there, does it assault you with warm fuzzy vacation memories the way a bookie assaults your knees with a baseball bat? Or does it inspire you to take a moment and really examine your drinking habits?
5. Since I’m totally convinced that Satan wears one of these things even on days when he goes to court (to the Prince of Darkness, what's not to "heart"?), doesn’t that mean that we should immediately arrest everyone wearing one and take them in for questioning until we find the right fallen angel? Please?
Just a little tip, people: If you want to go around New York dressed appropriately (in the sense of not making everyone around you want to accidentally shove you into oncoming traffic), there’s one simple rule you need to follow: Wear black. Lots of it. Even in July. That’s how New Yorkers dress. That’s how decent people who visit our fair city SHOULD dress. You should blend in so that we don't know you're here. No one needs to know you're here. Let's just keep it an appalling secret.
And if you’re wearing this T-shirt underneath your black sweater, I don’t want to know about it.