21 Bafflingly Bizarre Dumb Tough Guy Shirts
Bad t-shirts are something we all have. In fact, they're something we should all treasure. Nobody is without those few pieces of clothing that they're ashamed to wear in public. Something in the back of the closet for a hungover Sunday, or yard work, not the real world outside. But these days, it seems like there has been an explosion in abrasive, text-heavy, questionably-designed "tough" shirts aimed at proudly displaying a political agenda that's as aggressive as it is sartorially-challenged.
What's worse, many of these shirts appear to be designed more by an algorithm, or even bots outright stealing work, to compile some of our worst instincts and vomiting them onto clothing. Because, well, it turns out people are dumb enough to buy these things to proudly wear in this strange dystopian world. All just to say that if you think even remotely differently from their narrow worldview, they'll make sure their XXLoud shirt yells at you for it. So let's check out some of the absolute worst offenders in "tough" political attire that the internet has to offer ...
We open with the most standard format for these atrocities. Littered with text, they're typically some psychopathic screed shotgunned on to the back. This one is fantastic because it checks in at a whopping 12 lines. 12 LINES. That's how many we've needed to squeeze onto this shirt to get its point across. In that amount of real estate, Cormac McCarthy could give you a full-blown existential crisis, but here we get an unpunctuated rant from a drunken uncle at Thanksgiving being furiously transcribed by his even drunker wife, as he turns purple, forcing this soliloquy out because his 30-something nephew asked for the real cranberry sauce. Not to mention the audacity for this shirt to declare, "Screaming doesn't make you right," when it's quite literally a t-shirt that screams at you.
What's the return policy on one of these? I ordered one Patriotic American, and it kept screaming about how American it was, but it didn't really do anything else besides that. I guess it threw a few weak throat punches, too? I think I'll just go ahead and downgrade to the Regular American model.
I did as the mean clothing said and called the number, and I'm now writing this from my preferred country of choice! I'm so grateful the man wearing this and nothing else was forcibly removed from the Buffalo Wild Wings just as I was walking by, considering other countries to try out. I don't know what the helpful man did that led up to him throwing up a stream of projectile hot wings onto his penis outside of the Buffalo Wild Wings surrounded by police and his mother, in nothing but this, the helpful get out of America clothing, but I really do appreciate it regardless.
This one is pure gold because it's one of our many diversions from the standard formula. All of these shirts are lazy, but this takes it to another level. Between the font choice and the overall design, they decided to let the power of the message stand out the most here. And guess what? It absolutely does not. I especially enjoy messaging about not "disgracing" or upsetting something, and the only way to get it across is to go ahead and disgrace and upset it.
One of my favorites I've come across in a journey through this hell world that both took a toll on me mentally and seemingly wrecked my Google algorithm. There's a subsection of these where they tailor them to your birthday. Because nothing is tougher than a male going around angrily flaunting his ... birthday. It all builds to this perfect self-burn by the end. Listing off the things this dude sucks at before saying he just resorts to gun violence.
I'm sure there's an extended version out there. "I'm too old to fight. Too slow to run. I have ED. My car will not start. I've never made a woman orgasm. Seriously guys, why won't my car start? I know less than three state capitals. Okay, well, I just found a full raccoon family nibbling on my car wiring, so trying to get that sorted out. I cry when I shit. I dealt with the raccoon issue, but my car technically belongs to my ex-wife, and this is technically her driveway, and I am technically now going to jail for breaking my restraining order. I'll just shoot you and be done with it."
Daaang. Okay. I'm fascinated by how many of these types of t-shirts offer the threat of violence. Mostly because I'm not sure what you're supposed to do upon reading them. Is the person who's out there "not respecting" the flag supposed to change on a dime after seeing this? Are they meant to be so terrified of a cartoon boot that they change their ways completely? In the '90s, when you rode behind a truck featuring a sticker of Calvin pissing on the logo of the car you were driving, I guess you just had to up and ram your inferior car into a Jersey Barrier at full speed because you were so moved by the poignant pissing message.
One of the greatest parts of these bot shirts is the stock models that are sometimes used to flaunt these things. This one is especially on-brand; you have to give it to them. The shitty tattoos really help the dudes browsing these put themselves there. "Whoa, hey! Not only does this guy share my whole thing of only being able to get hard from guns, but he even has the SAME tats as I do. It's so damn cool that me and this gun boner guy can just rock our gun dick shirts and still have room to show off our tats. Finally, a real brotherhood for MEN."
A trademark of these shirts is that they sometimes just don't know when to wrap it up. As you're reading this, your brain naturally makes two or three hard stops in the message that are just blown straight through. I can't help but imagine the scenario being laid out here. I suppose if this guy's wish came true, I could lay a flag on my floor and walk on it and POOF. I'm gone. Replacing me? Some Union soldier from the Civil War is brought back to life in my living room. I left the Xbox running for him before I went. Got him a little coffee in case he needs a pick me up after all these years, and I've got a platter of 20 burritos from Taco Bell being delivered to him. I just really want to do anything to make Jeremiah feel more comfortable in his new strange American landscape manifested through "tough" t-shirt magic.
Shit. This one is pure bot status. In many of these, they're not even trying to make them look handcrafted or remotely thoughtful. At some point, expecting someone to read these is the same imposition as an acquaintance asking you to give notes on their 250,000 word erotic Doctor Who fan-fiction. Who's got the time to make it through all of this shit?
This is a pretty classic construct when it comes to these things. Many of them usually start with a line that says how horribly horrific they are as a person, then tries to tie it back to some punchline that completely falls flat about their disliked political opposition. "YEAH, I'm a conservative with no eyeballs, I have an open wound in my abdomen the size of a bowling ball, you could peel my mutated flesh off like a Subway Sandwich Artist preparing your turkey slices, and I live in a bog of toxic waste beneath an abandoned Dave and Busters. HELL NO, I'm not a liberal with a HOUSE and a FAMILY and WORKING, ACTUAL EYEBALLS!"
A lot of the dudes wearing these shirts think of themselves as the Punisher. That's not a guess, either. Because I can basically guarantee you that if you saw the man wearing this get out of his truck, he'd have a Punisher skull somewhere on there. Which makes it even more hilarious because I doubt the Punisher is rocking the Marvel Universe equivalent of these when he's not in his skintight leather murder suit. All I want to see now is the Punisher waiting in line for his food, arms crossed, wearing a shirt reading, "I like to shoot BULLETS from my gun. I've got absolutely ZERO STICKY WHITE GOO IN THESE GUNS. JUST BULLETS. NO WHITE GOO. I'm a BULLET MAN. Not a GOO SHOOTER. I'm not a Spider-Man. I'm a MAN."
A hallmark of "tough" t-shirts is jamming so much down your throat that by the time the man wearing it has fallen out of the Porta-Potty outside a lingerie football game and been helped to his feet by his crying adult son wearing the same shirt, you can only take in so much. Of course, you get the gist of it right off the bat with this one, but no expenses are spared when it comes to squeezing every last drop of blood from the stone. Just in this case, it's squeezing every last joke from Twitter and choking the fucking life out of it before zapping it onto a t-shirt.
Sir, nobody within this Jimmy John's is asking you to apologize for being an American. We've just told you every day that, as far as we know, our bread is not made during a Satanic Democrat ritual in the back. It's just our usual Jimmy John's patented Satanic bread baking ritual. We promise that Hillary Clinton is not back there. It's only Jimmy being sodomized by Satan in a pool of goat blood. The patented Jimmy John's way.
I often like to put myself in the shoes of the designer working on these. But then I remember, many of these are likely made by some AI that takes our most awful traits, views, and beliefs and digitally vomits them onto a computer screen. Similar to how somewhere like Facebook can get a nearly 360-degree view of us as a human by strictly monitoring every aspect of our lives. Let's picture Facebook like this nebulous network of advanced technology using our data to accurately get a 360-degree view of us as a human to better sell us shit. Then, let's picture the setup for these t-shirt companies, where they probably have a 2001 Gateway hooked up to a microphone in the men's room at a Cracker Barrel, translating racist urinal talk into incoherent t-shirt designs using skulls and Word Art. And it's somehow still less creepy than whatever Facebook's up to.
Wait, hold up. Either this is a casket for an extremely tiny fallen soldier, or there are human-sized bald eagles running around that we should probably just arm instead to send over to fight for us because that would be scary as hell.
In researching the worst of the worst in this world, I was (perhaps foolishly) surprised to find that there was even a little corner of Etsy pumping these things out. What I loved about these is that they were a little more cutesy, more tastefully designed, and had that little Etsy touch of quaint homemade crafts intermixed with the horror of screaming unresolved trauma through clothing. This one took me a minute to figure out which side they were on because it kind of just sounds like the best day ever?
They're not always shirts. This little number is perfect for when it's heating up at the timeshare, but you just have to get that zinger in for the sea of like-minded people that will be within the vicinity of your cool tank.
Don't worry, ladies, they've got a little something more tasteful out there for you, too. As long as your version of "boldly supporting and defending" our country is physically shitting your pants, like filling up your jeans and having it dribble out the legs while you shakily dial 9-1-1 because you heard rap music coming from the apartment two floors below yours. Then, girl, you are one serious Patriot Babe.
And then the devil lightly blew into my ear. Then I lightly kissed his. Then he stuck his long red tongue into my ear. Then I began sucking on his. Then we made pure, genuine love. I made love to the devil. I am an American man, and I banged the devil. I am in love.
Okay, but grandad, we're just trying to play Fortnite. You don't need to have all of your guns here for this. Maybe just bring us some candy or something? We're kind of more into candy and video games right now than armed personal guards, to be honest.
You know what? To answer your question ... I think you're good. For the first time in the history of these shirts, you succinctly, deliberately, perfectly got your point across.
Top image: ATMTEE