The Slob Stereotype (Fighting It and Fitting It)

I find myself cringing when I hear the word “slob” being used.

It’s not used positively, and it’s not supposed to be.  The dictionary includes “an insult” as part of the definition.

Pre-blog, I never cringed when I heard the word, but that was because I didn’t think of myself as one. 

A big part of my process has been my dedication to being completely honest and the acceptance of how my brain works. Using the word “slob” has been crucial in all of that.

But I still feel my face flush and my neck prickle when someone casually mentions something about a slob.  Usually, they’re referring to a person with stained/hole-y clothing who is sitting on a couch and drinking chocolate milk from the bottle while watching the sci-fi channel.

Personally, I’m not into sci-fi, don’t get to watch much TV at all EVER until after 9 p.m. (and my bedtime is 10!), and I’m allergic to chocolate thank-you-very-much!

But the holes in the clothes?

Ummmm, I probably would have acted offended and horrified at that stereotype a few months ago.

But then . . . I wore that shirt in the picture above.

I LOVE that shirt.  It’s just the boring-and-neutral color I love to wear on an I-don’t-feel-all-that-great-what-day-of-the-month-is-it kind of day.  And it fits.  Like in a fitted-but-doesn’t-show-every-roll-when-you-sit-down kind of way.

However . . . with all the doo-dads and design, it somehow got little holes in it right away.

Right away = three years ago when I bought it.

And over the past three years those little holes have grown bigger with every wash.

But I still kept pretending they weren’t noticeable.  Even though I knew in my heart that they were.

Here are my thoughts on why the holes-in-the-clothes stereotype exists:

Slobs are nice people.  We look beyond the facade of perfectly hole-less clothing.  We see the beauty of the item over the flaws.

In spite of the flaws.

I saw the big picture of that wonderful, comfortable, roll-covering, perfect-neckline shirt.  I didn’t dismiss it because of a (few) measly little hole(s). 

Clothes like this make me think of my quirky, artsy, sometimes-smelly college theatre friends.  I LOVE those people.  Passionately.  And though most have “issues” I accept them completely with all flaws included.

And as I occasionally have the opportunity to work with other theatrical-type people, I find that they also tend to be flawed, but awesome.  And accepting.  And willing to overlook MY flaws and love me anyway.

And (yes I’m carrying this out), I’m constantly amazed at the readers here at A Slob Comes Clean who not only identify with my Slob Issues, but also have backgrounds in theatre or some other ultra-creative endeavor.

And it confirms my belief that part of who I am (the part that sees the world differently and ignores the bad in order to focus on the good) is directly related to the other part (the part that convinces myself no one notices the pasty-white-quarter-inch of belly showing through the now-a-quarter-inch-big hole in my shirt).

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this.  I threw away the shirt. 

I’m at the point where I’m able to combat my Slob Vision enough that I wake up and realize I’m too old to wear a shirt with a big ol’ hole in it.

Even though I love it.

But I don’t ever want to get to the point where I see someone’s frizzy hair or lack of make-up or ten-year-old Birkenstocks instead of seeing their heart.

Oh.  And just in case you’re thinking I’m making a big deal out of the fact that a favorite shirt had a tiny-little hole in it . . . here’s another shirt I got rid of during the Master Bedroom Saga:

Yep.  That’s a six-inch hole in the armpit of a t-shirt I bought when Hubby and I went to Disney World for our first anniversary.  12.5 years ago.  And the hole has been there (at increasing measurements) for at least six years?  I ignored some serious flash-risk with that one.

(Though, in my defense, I only wore it to bed . . . ) 

(Though, in my defense,  I only wore it to bed and to do school drop-off . . . )


The Slob Stereotype (Fighting It and Fitting It) pin at



  1. 1

    I love your phrase “We see beauty in items over the flaws.” I think that goes for people too 🙂

  2. 2

    I have been working on this in therapy! The idea that something you do that’s NOT working for you is rooted in something you that IS working for you is the basis for a lot of anxiety (where anxiety is created by the dichotomy of two different wants that clash). I WANT to wear clothes without holes in them, but I WANT to not judge other people for their flaws. I struggle with this in a lot of ways, but recognizing the correlation between the two tends to take a lot of the power out of it. You can SEE how that “love despite the flaws” attitude works for you, but by being able to identify it and put it into words, you can a limit on how and where and why you will do it. So you can do it when it works for you, but fight the impulse when it doesn’t.

  3. 3

    You are so funny! You and I are so similar it’s scary! I love it!

  4. 4

    I love how the one thing that stuck out for me was “she’s allergic to chocolate?!?”

    I keep wearing shirts that have a hole in the elbow or are seriously dead/stretched in other ways. Usually because I think I can get by with one more wearing or it’s a basic staple and I haven’t found a replacement. But then I just keep wearing them. And keep wearing them. Sometimes even put them in the rip-up-for-rags pile and pull them out in a moment of “no clean laundry” desperation. Finally a few weeks back I realized that I was wearing two layered shirts that both needed to be tossed months ago. I came home and stripped directly into the trash can. It was so fun and the only way I’d stop!

  5. 5

    My husband does this for a different reason. His slob vision starts with himself. He can look in a mirror and not see anything but his hair. He doesn’t see his clothing or any of his flaws. So the holes don’t exist.

  6. 6

    Omgosh. I have frizzy hair and ten year old Birks. And did theater. And…and…and…I’m pretty sure we have to be related.

  7. 7

    my favorite hooded zip-up sweatshirt was finally gotten rid of a few weeks ago, when my mom commented on the frayed (totally decimated) cuffs. and it had a cigarette burn in the back of it that i’d been ignoring since before my youngest was concieved (he’s now 3.5 years old) so, i am right there with you. i also got rid of one of my work shirts last week when i realized that the fabric had worn so thin in the boob area, you could see the color of the shirt i was wearing underneath (i guess that’s why it escaped my notice for so long? because i always wear a shirt under it?) most of my under shirts have holey armpits, but i justify it with the fact that i only wear them *under* other things, hence UNDERshirts.

  8. 8

    Thankyou for being accepting! Some friendships have not lasted partially due to my appearance blindspot. My dear, darling friends will shop with me to ensure suitability of apparel. I have veto rights on anything I find uncomfortable (too tight, scratchy…) and they are easy going about my fondness for tracksuit pants and t-shirts.

  9. 9

    Hmmm…. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I just found your blog from a suggestion on a homeschool list for good alternatives to Flylady. The front page sold me right away, when you said you took the summer off to focus on your kids. That is awesome.

    But I clicked on your Facebook link and saw this post that had recently been shared, and surfed on over. And um…. It just makes me feel kind of sad and weird.

    My hair is usually a mess, my shoes are old and my clothes are “quirky” at best. I may be naive, but it never occurred to me that any of my friends would like me ANYWAY. That suggests that there’s something wrong with old shoes or crazy hair or creative (but loved) clothes. I think my friends just love who I am. I love who I am. And that includes these parts of me, which I don’t consider bad qualities someone would have to nobly overlook in me. Who on earth cares if my hair is messy? There are really people who would have to decide if they should be my friend anyway????

    I am currently wearing a faded green dress that my husband bought me at a grocery store near our condo when we first visited St. Augustine two years ago. It was our first big vacation ever as a family and his first time ever seeing the ocean. It’s soft, it’s super comfy, and it reminds me of one of the best weeks ever. It’s also super bedraggled. I don’t know if I’ll ever throw it out and I’m okay with that. 🙂

    I usually have makeup on if I’m in public, but that’s just because I like how I feel in makeup. Most of my friends don’t wear makeup and it never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with that. Most of them dress casually too. I tend to not really pay attention, to be honest.

    To me, flaws in friends are things like not being reliable or gossiping about you behind your back. Things like not wearing makeup or having 10 year old Birkenstocks are just parts of who they are. One of the women I admire most in life has never worn makeup or styled her hair or worn fashionable shoes. She’s doing phenomenal things every day to help hundreds and sometimes thousands of people and to transform her community. I can’t imagine anybody meeting her and thinking, “But did you see her shoes?”.

    Just another perspective. And yes, I’m one of those creative types… 🙂

  10. 11

    At first I thought No, I don’t wear holes. But then I think of my really comfy, old and soft dirty cleanup clothes. I think anything we love gets the blinkers effect.
    I was bought up with levels of clothes, yard/play clothes, town, Sunday best, and you changed after school etc. I still do this and do have loooots of clothes. I also don’t cross over outfits very well. Split up a two piece this wear for example. Still with us, Nony.
    And who says Slob way is not the natural state. All this tidiness and minimal stuff is a peer pressure thing. ( I will be there to the death!! )
    Can you do something on or the link about the one in/ one out concept by the skinny lady with her white shirts in the wash. I think it was you who commented that it didn’t register when you had 22 pair of shorts and bought one new pair. Hit home with me. You understood Me cause I didn’t get it until then either. Ta

  11. 12

    I have shirts with holes in them I wear to work, because they will just get more holes in them, I tend to wear another shirt underneath so my skin doesn’t show through. I also have shoes that I need to throw away (and desperately want to), but prefer to find replacements before doing so. I have big feet, so it’s not an easy task.

  12. 13

    Oh how I can relate to this. I wore my favourite and only-pair-that-fit jeans yesterday, complete with ripped hole at the knee that Mum has been suggesting I fix for months. (Semi-denial on my part, why fix a hole when it used to be fashionable to have ripped jeans?) Then I went to the toilet, looked down and realised the material in the butt is so thin I could see the grout lines in the tiled floor through it… I was apparently living on borrowed time until those jeans ripped and showed the world my backside.
    I purposefully took those jeans off right next to the bin to trash them straight away. So of course, they’re on the floor NEXT to the bin. In case I need to wear jeans before I find another pair to buy. Sigh.

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