The RompHim Brought Me Joy, Then Sadness

It arrived in a box. Like a child on Christmas morning, I tugged gently at the package, savoring the moment, for I would never be able to return to the time before. But the packing tape stubbornly refused to yield its claim to the treasure within. A vein ticked in my forehead. My heart rate increased, pumping adrenaline-laden blood to my trembling hands. As if in a fever, I tore at the box, plunging my fingers into its sides like a falcon feasting on a field mouse, setting aloft a flurry of cardboard flakes until the box was breached. My pulse settled, the room came back into focus and a choir of angels struck a major chord that swelled from deep within as I beheld my brand new RompHim.


When I first heard tell of the RompHim’s existence, I thought, “My goodness, what a silly thing!”

The name irked me more than the item itself. It’s not as if the popular, warm-weather garment known as a “romper” breaks down syllabically into “romp” and “her.” A romper is a thing that romps, much like a toaster is a thing that toasts. I long for a future where all humans can romp about in cheeky onesies if they so choose; a future with no place for hokey marketing that seeks to reassure fragile men they can enjoy life’s simple pleasures without bursting into flame.

The RompHim wasn’t a “must-have” for me until I stumbled upon this review, posted on notorious conspiracy theorist and walking heart palpitation Alex Jones’ ridiculous YouTube channel:

“And now there is a new affront to good taste and style called the male romper and their campaign to convert Americans. There’s nothing about this new garment that is either fashionable or stylish…it represents the feminization of America. No well-turned-out gentleman would wear anything like this. In fact, to wear this, you’d have to be a real pussy.”

And when I enthusiastically unpacked my jolly Pollocky onesie, I only thought one thing: It’s weird how happy this ridiculous thing is making me.

That morning, I put it on and went to breakfast at a 24-hour diner that has always been there for me, regardless of my conscious state. As I walked through the door, the hostess beelined toward me.

“Would you like to sit outside?”

“Sure, since it’s so nice out.” I moved to sit down at the table right behind me nearest the door.

She clutched the menus more tightly. “Are you sure you don’t want to be on the other side, where it’s cooler?”

“I’ll follow you. I’d hate to overheat,” I replied. She led me to a table by the dumpster.

After that encounter, I was tempted to call the whole thing off. During the stroll back from breakfast, someone leaned out the window of a passing car and shouted, “I love your romper!” This bolstered my resolve. I figured if I were going to make one more public foray, I’d stage a grocery shopping trip and have a buddy snap a few funny pictures of me holding fruit.

But then I learned of a party at a nearby winery. With that, my fate was sealed.

As a security blanket, I brought a backup pair of jeans. If the RompHim got to be too much, I could put them on and then I’d just be wearing a goofy shirt. When we pulled into the parking lot, I saw that the place was packed. I reached for the jeans and a voice thundered in my head: “GO BIG OR GO HOME!”

As soon as I got out of the car, heads turned.

“No way.”

“Oh my God, look at that guy.”

“I’ve never seen one in person!”

A girl immediately requested a photograph. Yeah, sure. Is this how it feels to be famous? Lordy, I hope there aren’t tapes.

Unfortunately, after the car ride I really had to pee. The bathroom was an outdoor port-a-potty situated on the far side of a sizeable crowd. As I walked towards it, I saw people tapping each other’s shoulders and pointing. I felt like a zoo animal.

Peeing was fine, but if I’d had to do anything beyond that, I would have had to get naked in the bathroom. Based upon that, I will say: Ladies, I’m sorry that a lot of the outfits you wear make it so you have to get naked in the bathroom just to relieve yourself.

I exited the port-a-potty like JFK stepping off Air Force One. Some girl cut me off and struck up a forced conversation. I obliged her out of politeness, but each time I made a move to walk away, she sidestepped to block my exit. I was impressed by her persistent yet charmless flirtation until I realized she was trying to stage a candid looking photo-op for her friend’s pointed camera. I eventually escaped.

This was the kind of place where you sit on the ground. I’ve never been good at that, as I’m not very flexible and sitting cross-legged always makes me feel like I have to fart. I kept trying different poses. There I knelt, legs tucked beneath me, constantly fretting about squishing my bits or availing them to peeping Toms. All of my conversations were pretty monochromatic, though my garb was not. Everybody was asking about the RompHim.

“Is he gay?”

“Why is he wearing it?”

“Is it comfortable?”

I became numb to it after about an hour and two glasses of wine, and was able to just enjoy myself for small stretches. I was fine if I stayed in one spot. The most vocal reactions expressed amusement. Most people seemed to get that I was having a gas. Others said things that amounted to (either in tone or in so many words): “Okay, that right there is the last straw. Humanity has no future I want to be a part of.” I get that it was about the RompHim. But it still hurt.

As the afternoon wore on, the place got more crowded and more intoxicated. I started to feel worn down from the amount of human eyes plying me with their judgment. The whole experience was a startling reminder that a group of apes has an acute power to make you feel unwelcome. All I wanted was to rejoin the herd.

I went home and dis-RompHim-ed. I gazed at it, rumpled innocently on the floor, this arrangement of cotton and dye that had so easily defeated me. Maybe one day, I will be strong enough to wear it again.

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  • Anna Fiore

    I’m so sorry you encountered such a large group of judgy people! I agree that the two syllable name makes no sense, but I also agree that anyone should be able to where anything they so choose. And TBH, the RompHim is growing on me…

  • Jennifer Bradley

    Well *I* applaud your courage and fortitude!

  • Haha, I’d never heard of one before! Poor bloke x

    http://www.wonkylauren.com

  • Adrianna

    It’s such a shame that menswear is so stagnant because both men and women project antiquated definitions of masculinity. I think plenty of guys would want to try wearing something other than a t-shirt and boat shoes to brunch, but they’re immediately faced with comments or ridicule.

    • Riley W

      YES! I was so excited to hear about the “romphim” because menswear is SO stagnant. It was something new! Fresh!

  • Helen

    You look fucking magnificent in it

    • Katrina Elizabeth

      AMEN!!!

  • I don’t get the big deal… men have been wearing jumpsuits, overalls, and shorteralls for years. This is just a jumpsuit with shorts. You could get a similar effect by wearing shorts and a shirt in the same fabric.

  • mapillski

    The whole RompHim premise is slightly ridiculous to me because are essentially coveralls so the excess gendering is unnecessary. But also, you look like an Instagram model so screw those people for making you feel insecure.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      exactly!

  • belle

    This is insane to me. Men have been wearing coveralls forever, probably longer than women. It sucks that people make such a big deal out of it. In other news, I feel like a zoo animal walking down the street no matter WHAT I’m wearing so I’m okay if creepy men get a taste of their own medicine for a while. But the nice guys should get a pass haha!

  • Why did Jackson Pollock have to give up his life for your RompHim. (It was hard for me to type RompHim.)

  • Suggestion: put “I lost a bet MKAY?!?!” in big letters on the back. Enjoy turning around. 🙂

  • Hillary

    I was so excited to see this post! That romper looks like relaxed yet bad-ass perfection. Even women’s rompers can feel awkward at times and take some getting used to.

  • tmm16

    Honestly if I saw you walking down the street I’d start clapping. Bravo, bravo.

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    Um… a “Male-Romper” is merely a (traditionally men’s) union suit with the legs cut off into shorts. Even that this “new innovation” is being repackaged in more “femme” colors, and sold as an idea taken from women’s fashion, what’s the big deal??

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      And PS It looks great! (Though yes, it’s quite uncomfortable to have to get naked in a porta-jon to have a pee…)

  • Mickael

    As a guy, it can be daunting to break the fashion defaults. Tee, jeans and sneakers is the norm, if you don’t adhere to that, you’re gay. Sad, I will get one of those romhim in support.

  • Brandon, you look fly AF in the romphim. There will always be haters, but you did that playsuit justice.

  • Jolie

    Okay, I’m laughing way too hard. JFK getting off Air Force One broke me.

    I went to Gov Ball a couple weeks ago and saw a decent amount of guys wearing RompHims, actually. I don’t find rompers feminine at all (and even if they were, why are people so judgy), and as many people already mentioned, it’s like wearing coveralls. My partner bought a boiler suit a couple years ago and gets constant comments when he wears it out, basically the same comments people made about your RompHim. I don’t even understand.

    Also, RompHim is THE WORST name ever. Just call it a romper for guys if you’re gonna be sensitive about your masculinity, RompHim marketing team!

  • Alison Dick

    Rosenthals was a brave place to go in that jumpsuit, given that it is one of the most homogeneous places on earth. You look great!

  • dietcokehead

    The new name of the garment is dumb and all, but I’m really over this trend of people talking trash about men for wearing them — almost as much as the meme of women giving men shit for the existence of cargo shorts. Who gives a shit. It is not hurting you. Let them wear their fucking pockets down to their knees, I truly don’t fucking care.

  • Mo

    Such innocence is cloth unworn.

  • TinySoprano

    The fact that drunk college boys can run around in Pikachu onesies without comment but a man enjoying a wine in a cool romper is somehow grounds for the death of society is silly. Romp on.

  • Teri Giese

    I love the simplicity of romper and dresses.Throw on,accessorize,look good.So,when the “Romphim”thing began;I thought,why not have a guy have it easy?Literally they were doomed,why did they nosy gave them not be so ugly,ill fitting,and gawdy.They made it to be a joke.Not sure how they could make a more appealing version,and the obvious penile issues or pooping problems.But was awesome that you lasted through all the rude people,are a good looking guy,so that helped!lol😉

  • sin_plomo

    people in prison have been wearing these for years

    • sin_plomo

      albeit with slightly less jazzy designs

  • Charlsey

    You look cute AF. If you’re comfy don’t listen to those nerds.

  • Allison Russo

    LOLing in my cubicle

  • Jeanie

    I like that there’s more feminine styles for men. The name is awful though. Also, people would probably take to this a lot better if it was in darker, neutral colors and about 4 inches longer, and branded by a rapper.

  • stinevincent

    If you actually like it and want to wear it again, I’d recommend taking it to a small gathering with friends who have a sense of humor. Get used to it and forget about it. It’s just clothes, and pretty nonchalant ones at that, apart from the weird manufactured gay panic meme hype.

  • Kim S

    Actually I think it looks kinda cool on you…