Well, sort of. Here’s the story. A while ago I decided to order a custom designed t-shirt online, just to give it a try in order to see what kind of quality one would get and to which extent the offline product would resemble (or not) the online product. (At this point I hate to have to admit that all this spamming by Vistaprint does yield some result, it seems.)
Obviously the main issue was what kind of design elements to put on the t-shirt. A picture or drawing? A mathematical formula? Some clever sounding text? The main requirement was that some intellectual effort would be needed from the person laying eyes on the design. My first consideration was a text I once came up with as being suitable for a t-shirt to wear on summer festivals: ‘Beer to sweat machine’, but I quickly dismissed this as it was in fact not really intellectually challenging, but simply funny (well, according to my taste at least), and as the occasions for wearing it would be rather limited (1 or 2 each year at my current age and personal situation).
So I decided to go for another text (not of my own invention, I must admit; I came across it sometime, somewhere – credits to whoever came up with it) that required some knowledge of western culture and some basic mathematics skills: ‘333 only half evil’, which is of course referring to the biblical concept of the number 666 representing evil. The design and order process went quite smooth and after a while the package was delivered in good order. The quality of the product was OK, and it mostly corresponded to the online design, only the color of the text was a little more orange than the intended red (not entirely uncommon: look up some online articles about the difference between screen colors and print colors if you want to dig into the details).
As I was eager to see people’s response to the design, I started wearing the t-shirt on several occasions. And that’s when I started understanding what women must feel at various occasions: even while having a conversation with me, people were not always looking at my face, but repeatedly glancing at a point clearly below my face, in my case in their attempts to read the text and figure out the meaning (women don’t need to wear a silly t-shirt to get the same result). Some of them were actually trying to hide the fact that they were looking at it. So I can now tell you from my personal experience: it’s no use trying to hide it, the glancing (and eventually staring) is being noticed.