By Tyler Cole

Recently at work, my belt buckle broke and my pants began to sag. My boss said, “Hey Sloppy Joe, get a new belt!” So the next day I took the bus downtown and went shopping.

I didn’t have much luck finding a belt downtown. I saw one I liked at Marshall Field’s, but it had someone else’s initials on it. Thinking that Water Tower Place might have a better selection, I walked over there.

Water Tower Place is nice. People who shop there are very pretty. I took the elevator to a store named Abercrombie & Fitch. One time I saw an old newsreel of Theodore Roosevelt going on a safari, and he was carrying a lot of trunks with the names Abercrombie and Fitch on them. The store no longer outfits expeditions; it sells high-fashion clothes instead. I liked the store and the high fashions but was embarrassed by the female mannequins. They looked like 14-year-olds except with big breasts and button bottoms and no arms or legs. And even though it was cold, they were all wearing shorts. I started feeling pretty sexy just looking at them, but then I saw a regular 14-year-old without big breasts look at a mannequin and frown. It made me sad, and I did not buy a belt or anything else and am now boycotting the store.

Next I went to the Gap looking for a belt, but I didn’t like how the guy looked at me when I walked in, so I decided to boycott that store too.

I walked back to the department stores on State Street and this time looked harder and found a belt. I had wanted a belt with a silver buckle but settled for gold. When I got home I tried to make the buckle silver by scraping off the gold color with a knife, but that didn’t work.

Once I went downtown for a haircut and had a hard time finding one of those too. At the time I thought nothing would be better than getting a haircut at a hotel or train station while smoking a cigarette. I don’t smoke. But I had seen someone smoke and get a haircut in a movie, and it looked pretty. I knew that you couldn’t smoke a cigarette at a hair salon, but maybe they’d let you at a barbershop.

The same day I was looking for a barbershop, I accidentally found a book fair and bought a box of books. The box cost a dollar and had a lot of good books in it. One fell out on Michigan Avenue. I bent to pick it up, and three girls smoking cigarettes giggled at me, and I smiled at them. I thought maybe they would know where a barbershop was, but when I asked them they just giggled again and laughed.

I crossed the street and went into the Intercontinental Hotel. A security guard noticed the box on my shoulder and pointed his finger at me and asked if I had a delivery. I said no, I was looking for a barbershop. Then I asked the security guard if the hotel had a barbershop. He said no, and then thought a minute and asked, “You mean a plain old barber barbershop?”

I said yes, I meant a plain old barber barbershop, and smiled.

The security guard pointed me to the bellboy. “Go ask Bobby,” he said. “Bobby will know.” It turned out Bobby didn’t know much about barbershops. I asked him if he knew where I could get a haircut and he pointed across the street. “Colette’s,” he said. I crossed the street, but Colette’s was a hair salon and nail parlor.

I finally found a barbershop at the Drake Hotel, but a haircut at the Drake Hotel cost $26 and they were rude to me on account of my box of books. I am now also boycotting the Drake Hotel.

I ended up getting my haircut at Supercuts. I asked the girl who was cutting my hair whether I could smoke. She said no, that a city ordinance prohibited smoking in hair salons. She said I could go outside and smoke and that she would join me as soon as she finished cutting my hair. Then she asked for a cigarette. I told her I didn’t smoke and tipped her an extra dollar.

In addition to the box of books and haircut, I bought a pair of tight black pants that day. Normally I do not wear tight pants, but everywhere I go people seem to be wearing them. Once I went to a nightclub and a big orange guy in tight black pants and a vest kept hooting at all the girls and calling his friend “faggot.” He saw me looking at him and called me an asshole, and then called me a faggot too. After that I decided not to go to nightclubs anymore. I decided that a nightclub was just a place where big orange guys could get dressed up in gay fashions and slap each other on the back and call each other faggot, dance homoerotically, and look for 14-year-olds with big breasts and button bottoms and no arms or legs. Still, I like my new black pants. They really show my figure.