What Ever Happened to The Barn Jacket?

Not THE barn jacket, but you get the idea

There is this contest in Real Simple Magazine that I have been trying to find time to enter for about five years. As ridiculous as it sounds, I haven’t been able to find the time to write out 1500 words (that I actually like) maximum to meet the requirements and the deadline. Really, I have a lot to say and obviously can find time to write something because I write on this thing all the livelong day, right? So what’s the catch. Well, let me tell you. The topics are always so…so…obviously worthy of being published because I see them year after year (twice a year actually) being published by people who didn’t obsess over the topic and just wrote something for goodness sake! But here’s an example: This year the topic is “If you could change one decision that you made in the past, what would it be?” And I had a great story – one I will tell when I stop waxing narcissistic – about why I regretted wearing a barn jacket to an NBA basketball game. But you know what? I don’t regret wearing my barn jacket. I tried to tell a story about how I regretted that decision, but I loved that barn jacket. I was comfortable and so what if I looked like Pat from Saturday Night Live! If I could go back, I’d wear that barn jacket again thank you very much! Now here’s the story:

So, a long time ago I went to a college in the deep south. I don’t need to tell you which one, but if you knew that it is the best (maybe not the most fashionable) University on the planet, you would know exactly which one in Athens, GA I am talking about. Anyway, it was the early 90’s and there was either the “Nirvana tie a plaid shirt around your waist” look or there was the “frat band party tee with khaki shorts and pearls” look. I had a hybrid of sometimes preppy, sometimes sporty Gap slash J.Crew look although I probably was in workout clothes more often than not. I also remember wearing mens jeans because no one made women’s denim in long or extra long back then. When it got cold on campus, in the early to mid-90’s you could not go to your closest Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. You could, however dial up your J. Crew catalog operator and order yourself a nice warm barn jacket.

A little history first. Back in my college days, I had the opportunity to travel and play volleyball overseas with some really great people. Some of the best memories of my life are playing volleyball for our National team with other superb athletes from colleges around the United States. Some of those colleges are located in Southern California and some of those players are still my friends. Okay, history done.

Fast forward one year after graduation. I now live in Southern California. I have a closet full of clothes that resemble Monica or Rachel’s wardrobe from “Friends” and I still have that barn jacket for when it gets cold. I have no idea what a Roxy or a Quicksilver is, nor do I have a clue how much effort people put into their appearance out in California land. One evening while I was undoubtedly watching “Friends,” I get a call from a girlfriend saying that a basketball friend of ours (now a New Jersey Net, I think?) from one of our trips is playing the Clippers and would I like to go?

Of course I want to go! Let me get dressed. If you are easily embarrassed, you can stop reading now because you may just want to shut off the TV and this is not a television show, it actually happened.

It took me all of ten minutes to get dressed. After all, it’s a stinkin’ basketball game (NBA albeit). I know how to dress for a basketball game. Hello? Jeans and it’s cold, so my barn jacket. I could not figure out why my friends took over an hour to come get me even after they said they were “leaving now.” Finally, they come to pick me up. My friend comes bouncing up the stairs in some kick butt black skirtdressleatherjacket ensemble.  But really, she could have been wearing a trash bag and looked better than I did in my barn jacket. Her friend was wearing (oh, I remember it so clearly) a super short black skirt, some kind of strappy sandal heels, a matching top, killer tan, blonde-amazing hair with attitude and personality to match and…a leopard print fur-ish jacket. What? Why don’t you have a barn jacket? Please tell me you have a barn jacket! Oh, I see, you are just wearing that in the car and your barn jacket is in the trunk so that we can match when we walk in together!?

This girl did not know what a barn jacket was. This girl had never seen a barn, nor needed a jacket named after one. These girls looked like models or actresses and I looked like their twelve-year-old brother with the “Rachel” haircut and Timberland boots. And guess what? We were late to the game, didn’t even see more than a quarter.

After the game all the players (and the one we knew) came out after their showers and what not. And among the sea of groupies (and my super cute friends who were NOT groupies at all), guess who went up to our friend to say hello? The chick in the barn jacket. That’s right, baby. I might not have looked hot, but I was warm and toasty in my barn jacket.

Somehow I didn’t get invited to the after party though…apparently, there is a strict “NO BARN JACKET” rule at all VIP rooms. Who knew?

Published by pytallman

Wife, mother, Christ follower.

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