The sexiest shirt that doesn’t show any skin

By admin Oct 12, 2015

Jeff Neukom, Managing Editor


If you happened to visit the Bertholf Commons on Thursday, Oct. 1, you might have noticed an IWU student wearing an eye-catching orange shirt whose luminosity would make highlighters jealous.

That student was senior Matt Mason, and he wanted to make you think about sex.

You read that right. He wanted you to think about sex while you were at the Commons, and he wanted you to think about sex any other time you might have seen him around campus.

He started with a blank, long-sleeve orange tee shirt, and by the end of the day, his shirt was filled with “expressions of sexuality” that people had written with permanent marker.

“It’s such a taboo thing to talk about sex in public, unless you’re doing it in a way that is inoffensive or academic. This was about taking what we tend to shy away from and putting it out into the public,” Mason said. “Why do sex and sexuality have to be offensive?”

Mason’s desire to spark conversation about sex and sexuality stemmed from his project in Professor Lisabeth Searing’s Human Sexuality course. Simply put, the assignment asked him to create a visual representation of a topic.

After viewing films The Dreamers and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Mason decided that the paper requirement wouldn’t be enough to accomplish his goal. “I wanted to do something more fun,” he said. “I asked myself ‘What if I just wore a shirt around and let people express themselves?’”

Mason noticed that many people preferred to write on the back of his shirt instead of the front, so they didn’t have to tell him what they’d written. At the end of the day, Mason read over all sorts of different expressions, ranging from “abstinence until marriage” to “phone sex operators” and “getting turned on by pizza.”

One of his favorites, he said, was “For a good time, call Phil” with the number listed after.

Another issue that Mason hoped to bring to light with his shirt was sex education. “There is such a huge break between the generations,” he said. “It’s something that teenagers are generally uncomfortable talking to adults about, and adults are uncomfortable talking to anyone that is not in their generation.”

One of the points Mason wished to make about sex education was that ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Talking about sex and sexuality isn’t encouraging it or helping to spread it, he said. Rather, his goal was not to encourage the act but to encourage conversation.

Over the course of the day, Mason attracted the attention of numerous IWU students.

“I was happy with the level of involvement,” Mason said. “This is my favorite end-product, since I felt like I could do something that wasn’t just for a class. I was able to do something that had an impact elsewhere.”

By admin

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