The Explicit T-Shirt

Parents have a lot to worry about these days — cost of education, keeping kids safe and away from drugs and bad people and making sure they eat healthy foods.

Let me add another worry to your plate — the explicit t-shirt.

There you are at the park with your kids, playing and having a good time. Your kids are just starting to read and they want to decipher everything around them, eyes darting around and reading, oftentimes aloud, whatever they see. Suddenly, they spot a woman wearing a t-shirt with a lot of writing on it. It looks interesting and they translate it.

The shirt says, “Practice Safe Sex or Go F- Yourself,” only the F word is fully written out. I’m assuming that the mom in question did not win Mom of the Year. And I would like to thank her for a month’s worth of questions from my 6-year-old.

I should really introduce that mom to the dad who dropped off his child at school while wearing a t-shirt that read, “Cool Story Babe. Now Go Make Me a Sandwich.” Misogynist much? There are no expletives, which I suppose is an improvement but is that truly the message you want to put out there as you’re walking your child to school?

As bad as those two shirts are — and they’re bad — they’re a far cry from the ultimate crass t-shirt my wife and I have seen in a child-friendly setting lately. This t-shirt combined profanity with a totally inappropriate setting —a Christian pre-school. One day a mom wore a shirt that read, “Salty as F-“ with the “F” word missing a letter. This parent not only dropped off her child but stuck around to assist in the classroom. Wow.

Look, I’m an outspoken defender of the First Amendment. I’m a journalist. But I don’t think this is a free speech issue. It’s a common sense and a decency issue. There’s no need to bring those messages and that language into the lives of young, impressionable children. In fact, all you’re doing is showing off your own ignorance and making parents like me have to speed up the sexual education process for my kids.

So, here’s a tip. Keep that nasty t-shirt in the drawer when there are kids around. Feel free to wear it to a bar or an adults-only party. Just leave my kids’ eyeballs alone.

(Photo credit: Bob Jagendorf via / CC BY-NC)


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Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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