Repurposed Beaters

close-up of a ribbed tank top

In honor of Earth Day this year, I thought I’d share a little story of how the Osgood family recycled [white] trash into turn-on. It’s not really another of my #irreverentholidays because it’s bigger than just one day.

For much of my adult life, I’ve worn tank top style undershirts. On the package, they’re often labeled “A-neck shirts” or “ribbed tank top” but in the general public they’re usually called “wife beaters”. What an unfortunate label.

And it’s the most recognizable label, too. Men have “tank tops” that are not these garments; “undershirts” could just as easily be simple t-shirts; and no one has a clue what an “A-neck” is; but “wife beater” brings to mind exactly the correct garment every time. It’s a thin, white bit of fabric burdened by a hefty stereotype (and possibly sweat stains).

Not all of these garments are white, mind you. You can buy packages of A-neck shirts in colors — black and gray at the very least. For some reason, these tend to be considered tank tops more than wife beaters, however. Perhaps because “all wife beaters are white”? Yet they are available, and I own a handful.

What a revelation! Most of my undershirts were a turn-off she was trying to overlook every time I got undressed!


One day, I did what I should have done long ago: I asked my wife what kind of undershirt she liked on me. While I rarely was seen in public in a beater (as we Osgoods call them for short), I did occasionally have a colored undershirt or an old-fashioned plain white tee in public. And whatever I wore outside the home, she saw it all inside the home. So, it’s a fair question.

I learned a lot. She’s indifferent about the t-shirt, though she enjoys the totally shirtless option around the house. Yet I found while she was a fan of the colored would-be beaters, the white ones were borderline unattractive to her. What a revelation! Most of my undershirts were a turn-off she was trying to overlook every time I got undressed!

That left me with a course of action consisting of two steps.

First, get more colored tank tops. Easy enough.

Second, figure out what to do with all these white beaters. My wife uses them for something with drying her hair (I don’t get it, but whatever) yet that only used one or two of them. I’d hate to throw away all the rest; that would just be financially wasteful and would only result in more junk in a landfill somewhere. And I didn’t think Goodwill would have any interest in old, worn-out wife beaters. Then it hit me.

She doesn’t like how I look in a beater, but I love how she looks in one!

Do the math here: thin, white fabric, stretched out to the point of translucence over a pair of beautiful breasts. Yeah…

So now, my old undershirts are her new pajamas. To her, they’re soft, stretchy, and comfortable. To me, they’re delicious eye candy as we lounge about the house or do chores. It’s awesome.

So let that be a lesson to you this Earth Day. Come up with creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Your marriage might even get new life as a result.

About Phil (239 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.