So I Watched the 'Y'all Can't Twerk in Here' Video Again, and That Guy's Short-Sleeved Turtleneck Still Makes No Sense

Illustration for article titled So I Watched the 'Y'all Can't Twerk in Here' Video Again, and That Guy's Short-Sleeved Turtleneck Still Makes No Sense
Screenshot: Twitter (@ariellezsane_)

It is below freezing in Pittsburgh today, with wind chills in the teens. I’ve spent much of the day indoors, shielded from the weather and protected by the central heating in our house, but inside still feels the effects of the cold. Sitting next to a window, for instance, feels like sitting next to a deep freezer. To further insulate myself, I’m dressed appropriately.


On my torso is a gray hoodie—a clothing item specifically engineered to keep arms, chests, and necks warm. And it usually does a fine job of that. If I feel more of a chill, I can place the hood on my head. Or I can put my hands in its gut-level, open-ended pocket. On my head is a black Paper Planes snapback. Because it is warm. And also because I had a Zoom meeting this afternoon, and my hair—which has gone nine months without being cut—looks like Sam Jackson’s in Unbreakable. I am also wearing sweatpants and a pair of UGGs slippers that were a Christmas gift two years ago. I felt a way about wearing them for a while, because I am toxic, but it feels like I’m wearing pillows, and pillows always win.

The clothes we decide to wear on our bodies are intended to make either practical or fashionable sense. Most adults make an effort to do both. (The amount of effort, obviously, varies from person to person and from circumstance to circumstance.) Today, for instance, I’m leaning hard into practical, although hoodies are somewhat fashionable too. This context and general understanding of why we decide to put certain things on our bodies is why I’m having so much trouble understanding why Kevin Kelley, the sassy owner of the alliterative TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails, decided it was prudent to choose to purchase a turtleneck with short sleeves, and then wear it in front of people at his place of employment.

There’s no practical mission of a short sleeve turtleneck. No earthly situation where your neck is cold but your forearms are somehow overheated. Unless, of course, you have circulation issues, which is possible for people with anemia and various other medical conditions. But I presume Kelley’s decision was less about iron deficiency and more about an effort to be fashionable. This deeply perplexes me, because the only sleeveless turtlenecks that work are form-fitting and completely san sleeves, like what Meghan Markle has here. Or like something I can imagine Aaron Hall wearing in 1991. Kelley’s, however, is baggy enough to play flag football or smuggle a medium-sized squash, and also has short sleeves. I don’t like to assign personality traits to sentient objects, because that’s weird, but a baggy, short-sleeved, turtleneck sweater is insecure as shit. I want to grab it by the shoulders and tell it to just be what it really wants to be. You only live once, baggy short-sleeved turtleneck sweater, so make it count. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

Anyway, I’m still confused (and getting a little chill), so I think I’m going to make some tea. Goodbye!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I think he was going for an urban Steve Jobs look, but came out looking like a monochromatic version of the Black Mighty Morphin Power Ranger.