I pulled my harpoon out of my nonexistent red bandana

I’m having a quiet week this week and do you wish I’d say “week” more? My boss is out, for one thing, and for another we’re wrapping up a huge project we’ve been working on for months. Not literally. I don’t have the Scotch tape out.

As a result, I have found myself oddly devoid of anything to do so just now I wrote a project manager. “Need any help?” I asked her.

“Well, we need fresh eyes on the ATR report,” she said.

You know what I have? Expired eyes. Nevertheless, I said, “Does the ‘R’ in ATR report stand for ‘report’?”

“Yes, it does,” she said, abhorring me, as everyone does.

So, whilst I’m waiting for the AT report report, I’ll tell you the story of the damn bandanas.

On 4th of July weekend, I went to Winston-Salem, as I am wont to do, to attend the Rebel-something festival. I can never remember what we’re rebelling against. I mean, originally, we were rebelling against slaves not being slaves anymore, and go, South. Good job. But now this festival is basically a rockabilly festival and I don’t know why they don’t just call it that since that’s a lot less horrific than calling it a Rebel-whatever festival.

So, what they have, see, at the Rebel-whatever, is old cars lining the streets, and people dressed in rockabilly clothes, and also music and burlesque and one year they had a psychic booth that I went to and I wish I could find that particular psychic again because she was amazing. Don’t you hate the word amazeballs?

Every time I go to the Rebel-whatever, I long to do my hair in rockabilly, and wonder why I am so dull, and vow to learn to tie my hair up that way.

So THIS year, still inspired after the fest days later, I dragged The Poet to Target with me to purchase a bandana. Why? Mostly because she made the mistake of calling me right then. Next thing she knew, I was screaming up to her place, as she lives 3 minutes away, and pulling her unwilling poetic self into my vehicle. Look, I bench 30 now. I can force a teensy poet into my car, no problem.

Did you ever go look for something that IN YOUR MIND you assume is still available in droves, even though you haven’t bought that thing in 14 centuries? Like, you just assume you can go buy an inkwell or cauldron or powder for your wig or what have you because you did in the past, and surely inventory at a store doesn’t change.

I remember craving these Carnation Instant Breakfast Breakfast Bars, and do you wish I’d say “week” more often or “breakfast”? Anyway, I craved them, as they were soft and giving like my bosoms, and when I went to the store I realized there was no such thing as Carnation Instant Breakfast Breakfast Bars for breakfast during the week anymore.

This was also the story with shopping for bandanas.

In my MIND it was still 1985, when everyone was just tying their hair with bandanas, or using them to let other gay men know if you were a top or a bottom and so on. In fact, I was relaying this pertinent info to The Poet as we entered the Target that I Patty Hearsted her into attending.

“You know, in the ’80s, gay men tied their bandanas this way and that, as a code for other men to know what they were into.” I’m the Cliff Claven of man love.

“I didn’t know that,” said The Poet, who spent the ’80s playing cello and thinking about poems. And also working at our workplace, as she has been there forever. She used to have to wear suits, as we were a business-dress place for a very long time. When I started there, it was business. NOT business casual. We dressed up to copy edit report reports.

“Now, where do you think bandanas are?” I asked, as I was still fresh and full of life then. So certain I was moments from being knee-deep in bandanas.

“Probably women’s accessories,” said The Poet, who was dreaming along with me at this point. The Stockholm Syndrome had set in.

…Hunh. Bad shoes. Bad purses. A few necklaces.

“I don’t see any bananas,” I said, assuming they’d be right around the corner.

“Let’s go to men’s,” said the optimistic Poet.

…Hunh. “Look at all the men’s underthings,” I said, and we admired young bucks in boxer briefs. I mean, not in real life. I’d have led with that. On the boxes of chonies were men in boxer briefs, looking into the distance, proud and manly. “Won’t you enjoy my underthings?” they all seemed to say.

“I’d have thought there’d at least be bandanas over here,” I said, expecting that men across America take a bandana with them to work, with their lunch pails and their newspapers. I don’t know why I assume everyone lives in 1942 but there you go.

“Let’s try sports!” This is a thing I have never said before, and it is also a thing no one has ever said to The Poet before. We took our unsportsmanlike behavior over to sporting goods, where one could find kettlebells, which I manfully lifted to show The Poet how I can bench 30. We also saw croquet sets and yoga mats and 6,412 metal water bottles, but do you know what we did not see?

Bandanas.

“They must be in camping,” intoned The Poet, who kept hope alive. Why would you need a bandana for camping? I guess if you had a stick and a knapsack on your back, valderee, valderaa, your knapsack would indeed be a bandana. Perhaps we could try the hobo section next.

You’ll be stunned to hear that amongst the LED lanterns and mosquito repellent there was not a bandana to be found.

We headed to the outdoor section, because you know how often you decorate your lawn in bandanas. Over there was a ceramic banana with a succulent growing out of it. Oh, THAT they had. But a simple red bandana? Or even someone from Simply Red WEARING a bandana? Holding back the years and maybe a spare scarf for me to rock out with my billy out? No.

“Yes. Where are the bandanas?” I finally asked an employee, who was born on 2018.

“Bandanas?”

You’d have thought I’d have asked where the tiddlywinks were. “Yes, can you direct me to the sassafras?”

The employee, who was born after AOL was invented, directed us back to women’s accessories, even though his handheld device did not say any bandanas existed. “Try over in scarves,” he said.

On our way there, we paused, as we were growing weary. “Mr. Target has not walked this store and thoroughly as we have,” I kvetched. As I paused to gather myself, as if I had reached base camp in the Himalayas, I noted a plush toy that was a sort of cute avocado.

What in the millennial.

“I want to avocuddle” the plush toy read.

“Why is this necessary in life?” I asked The Poet, who had begun to look wan.

In sum, because my report report is here, we were at Target for one hour and found (let me do some math in my head) ZERO bandanas. We found one scarf with a sort of bandana pattern, but it was the size of a dollar bill.

Eventually I hooked up The Poet to an IV so she could regain her strength, dropped her at home where she promptly changed her number so I could never contact her again, and drove home, got on Amazon, and 14 seconds later had a set of 18 bandanas on their way to my house.

And by the way, I tried to rockabilly one in my hair and looked precisely like Sammy Hagar, so further reports as YouTube tutorials warrant.

Hanky pankily,
Scarfless June

53 thoughts on “I pulled my harpoon out of my nonexistent red bandana

  1. Michaels sells bandanas. I know this, because for some reason some teen girls’ group I was helping with at some point in the last decade was making shorts (I think it was shorts? But why?) out of bandanas. There have been so many weird craft ideas I have had to execute in my 3-decade career of childrearing, I really should catalog all of them.

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  2. I was going to skive off the gym today but now I’m going. Don’t want to be in a position where I need force a poet into my car but am physically unable to.

    Such a funny post June!

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  3. The Bandana Saga–so worth the wait! I hope you got purple and green bandanas to go with your tattoo. I adore the shades of your iris, and it may not quite fit the definition of teensy but it’s only a few inches long and quite pretty. I wonder what color a poetry bandana is (see Letty’s comment below), and how it is worn so we can recognize the artiste. Woven in and out of the fingers? In a laurel-leaf crown?

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  4. A bandana falls into that category of things you only see the you aren’t looking for them. But if I were ever looking for a bandana of my own, I now know where to find one thanks to June’s FRs.

    The Bandana Story did not disappoint June. Thoughts and prayer to The Poet.

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  5. I’m glad you will bandane… Bandanate? You brought us so much laughter with this post, Coot

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  6. My local Ace Hardware has bandanas of just about every color. If you’re a Blood, they have red. Crip? Blue. Gay Mafia? Pink. Environmental Mafia? Green. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple bandanas up the yin yang.

    The Poet is one helluva good sport.

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    1. you should have looked wherever they’re keeping masks, that’s where they are in my Target and our Kroger is chock full of bandanas

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  7. Oh my such a great laugh! I have done this enough times but still seem to have not learned – maybe now. Go straight to Amazon – but maybe Walmart online first? It is the one way to avoid the ridiculously empty shelves when you get to the store – I even just order something simple through Walmart and pick it up outside! Shopping is not much fun anymore!

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  8. That penultimate paragraph made me laugh out loud. The Poet is a jewel. This is a prime example of why I have stopped running all over yonder looking for stuff. I’ll treasure those two bandanas my husband uses as sweat bands around his head.
    Tee

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  9. Thanks to you and your faithful readers, I now know where and where not to look for a bandana. I can visualize you and The Poet traipsing through every department in Target on a futile scavenger hunt.

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  10. I am reading you at work. I had to stifle a laugh or two or three. Bandanas, who knew they could be so funny.
    You have a good friend in the Poet.

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  11. I have just done this with my dishwasher detergent. I looked at three stores (Target was one of them!) and couldn’t find what I usually get. I know one of those stores had it at some point, because I have the container and I am running low. So, finally I just opened an new tab. Click, click, and it will be here tomorrow. Mr. Bezos makes it way too easy; I wish I could stop, but I can’t.

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  12. Being the ex-farm kid and now ex-farm wife, I was thinking they might be available at Tractor Supply if you have such in your neck of the woods. Thank you for such a great description of dragging through a very large store searching for something they don’t have. My feet got tired just reading.

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  13. Bandanas can be purchased at Michael’s or Joanne Fabrics. Also, I bought a pair of shoes at Target the other day and wore them out for dinner. Halfway through dinner I pulled them off of my feet and had to walk out of the restaurant with no shoes on. I threw them out when I got home. As far as Target shoes are concerned, you get what you pay for.

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  14. All of you should know that bandanas are available all day, every day at Joann’s, Michael’s, and other craft stores. They come in tons of colors.
    I sure wish I had been at your target and run into you and the Poet.

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  15. I could not have made it through college in the early seventies without bandanas. It was standard wear as no one was dressing up to go to class (we were still embracing the wannabe hippie look). Also, I assure Wal-Mart has bandanas, if you dare to go.

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  16. Thanks for the laughs. Online shopping has ruined us for physical stores. I do try to shop at local businesses to support them but if you need a niche item, Amazon is the place. (I now own about a dozen key rings that allow you to label what the key is for — I only needed three.)

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  17. Call me if you need a thick leather band for your watch. Or a beaded macrame holder for you spider plant. I have it all.

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  18. I have a couple of old well washed bandanas that I keep in my bag for cleaning my eyeglasses. The bandanas at WalMart never get soft, I think they have polyester in them. I am waiting for a picture of you with black dyed hair held up with a bandana, rocking your purple iris tattoo. Or maybe dye your hair purple to match?

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  19. OMG! I was thinking about tying my hair up/back/whatever with a bandanna. I look so uncool with just a ponytail and my old face needs more decoration/camouflage these days. And then, as I was thinking that, I saw a woman who defined coolness and hipness with aviators and tats and with her hair up in a bandanna and right then was when I knew if I tried it, I was afraid I would look like a soccer mom who got out of her lane.

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  20. If you walked out of Target without buying anything you accomplished something that the majority of women can’t manage. I’m glad you’ve got some breathing room at work.

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  21. This is why Amazon owns my soul. I look all over locally, can’t find it, get sweaty and irritated, and go home and order from the evil empire. Whoever cleans out your house someday will wonder why you have 15 bandanas still in the package.

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  22. A place you would not consider for bandanas but has every color under the sun is Hobby Lobby. I know this from all the years of prepping for end of school play days and homecoming festivities.

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  23. I no longer ask employees anything, I just look online and select pickup in store and it tells me what aisle something is in. Saves me a lot of headaches and impulse buys.

    I realize as I typed this out it sounds like I’m giving advice, but I swear I just hate to shop and will do anything to get out of a store faster.

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  24. I’ve always been nervous about wearing bandanas, what with all the hidden messages (that everyone except me seems to know about). But on another note, I have been reading poetry by The Poet, and will be reading more. She’s wonderful. Do poetry lovers have certain bandanas to wear for identification? We should, with actual poets getting badges or something on them. And then, in case nobody knows what the poetry bandana is, market the hell out of them.

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  25. OH MY GOSH! I am laughing so loud right now. Great post. I ordered 18 bandannas from Amazon in 2020 because I saw a YouTube video of how to make masks out of bandannas and hair elastic thingies. Of course I never made them. And my hair is too short to tie up in a bandanna. What else are bandannas good for? Mine are gray, not red.

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  26. This made me giggle because I’ve had a nearly identical experience at Target looking for twine. I did not look for twine in men’s underthings though. Perhaps that’s where it is! Oh, round and round I went to no avail.

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  27. Should you ever wish to purchase a bandana in person, I have bought them at Walmart. With your 18-pack, likely you are set for life, but just in case you need another.

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    1. Will wonders never cease! Come to June’s blog to see how gay men communicate. Man I’m older than I thought but it’s great to learn new things!

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