Are you indie rock enough to get the title reference? Anyway, this post is about men's undershirts. Some people refer to the sleeveless kind as "wife beaters" or--perhaps they feel this gingerly linguistic intervention somehow ameliorates the effect--"beaters." That's not ok. In fact, it's completely, utterly wack. And you don't have to say it. There's a better phrase. It's "a-shirt." So, stop using that other phrase already.
My introduction to the a-shirt qua a-shirt stems from Devil in a Blue Dress, a movie Denzel Washington starred in when I was in college. (It also features the always soigné Don Cheadle. Sometimes I ask myself, Who's better dressed: Denzel or Don? ) In this movie, the a-shirt is an essential costume element. Denzel wears this article so well that Esquire ran a feature about a-shirts, from which I learned the term. And when you think about it, isn't the a-shirt rather indispensable?
Remember The Professional, Natalie Portman's first movie? I had been telling this guy Bryan that an a-shirt, trousers, suspenders and boots would make a really awesome outfit. He didn't seem convinced. One day we were watching The Professional together--and that was exactly what Jean Reno, the actor who portrayed Leon the hit man, was wearing. And, you might have realized that Jean Reno and Don Cheadle were both in Hotel Rwanda.
But maybe these overwhelmingly sleek men have not convinced you to make the change. So, try saying it to yourself: "A-shirt." Now, isn't that nice? It calls up an image of an elegantly suited, well-shod man who smells good who's about to make himself a gimlet (that would be with gin, not vodka), doesn't it? What do I smell when someone uses actually inexcusable term "wife beater?" Cheap beer.