I have never worn a batik shirt in my life.
Ever. And like the polo shirt, I hope I never have to in this lifetime.
Guys in batik shirts always end up looking
like a Menantu Idaman, and for the love of all that is holy, I’ll die a death
of a thousand cuts before I ever dress like a Menantu Idaman.
But unlike the polo shirt, I think the
average male over 30 looks quite good in them, menantu idaman or not. As
Indonesian formal wear goes, I prefer seeing men in a batik shirt than a poorly
fitted polyester suit or.. god forbid… jas safari.
Despite my aversion to wearing them, I am more forgiving to batik shirts because formal wear has rules, and rules should be followed. I don’t like tuxedos either (007 be damned), but if the occasion calls for one then yes I’ll wear it and pray I don’t look like Happy Feet. Polo shirts on the other hand… gentlemen, you DO have options goddammit.
And that “trying too hard to be
membumi” thing? That happens in these cases:
When you’re at a sosialita Tatler-esque
party, and there’s ALWAYS that one Budayawan-Wannabe guy who shows up in a
batik sarong and slippers. I just wanna grab the guy by the neck, pull him up
close, and use my best Batman voice and growl “You may think wearing a
batik sarong makes you look membumi and bersahaja, but in fact you just look
like baru disunat twenty-five years too late.”
And those bule2 guru bahasa inggris who
think they be rollin’ local by wearing batik? Seriously man… don’t try. You
just end up looking like those bules who say “Call me Wayan” and you
just wanna go “Your name is Warren. Now STFU and go back to New
Jersey.” Seeing younger bule men in batik is as awkward as seeing
Indonesians in cowboy boots and hat.
And while we are on the subject of Bule2
Ubud Membumi, I never tell them what I do for a living. Why? Because this is
Bule: “So what do you for a
Me: “I design women’s clothing.”
Bule: “Oh wow! So do you use
Me: “Uh, no… I do dresses and
Bule: “But Indonesia has the most
Me: “Yeah, but…”
Bule: “Why, are you ashamed of your
heritage? Are you trying to be orang amerika?”
(And no, I did not make that up.)