Today it's not strange to see a fully grown adult wearing a My Little Pony t-shirt. Well, it is strange... but that's beside the point. What I mean to say is that our pop culture clothes have grown to include lots of treasured childhood characters, no matter what your age is. That wasn't always the case. It used to be much more rare to show your enthusiasm for your pop culture faves in an "adult" context... where "adult" is defined by a desire for a sad polyester necktie and cheap ceramics.
Adult pop culture of the 70s and 80s had all the usual things - Mickey Mouse T-shirts, sport mascots, concert posters.... but of course video game characters hadn't really hit yet. A pixelated greyscale tank or Pong's phosphorescent slash don't exactly make for exciting garments.
That all changed when Pac-Man started gobbling the world's small change. He's often credited as being the first character in video gaming, I know what they mean, though it's funny to think of Pac-Man as having much of a personality. He's more or less characterized by his having a significant eating disorder.
Being the star of such a colorful gaming phenom made Pac-Man the star of one of the first gluts of video gaming merchandise. As a kid I had Pac-Man tube socks for goodness sake, but it wasn't only all about kid stuff. Check out these grown up Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man ceramics and a necktie.
Nothing says "grown-up" like a maroon necktie - the color necktie most favored by my youth's substitute teachers. This is an officially licensed bit of gear, with small tweaks applied to the look of the characters to be at least a little toned down.
The ceramics look like the sort of cheap thing that I might have given as a misguided mother's day gift. C'mon... Ms. Pac-Man is a lady, right? The inclusion of the Ms. tells us that this is part of a later merch push (there's an "82" scraped into the bottom).
I prefer a world where grown ups have more ways of showing their playful side. Too bad that the days are gone where wearing a Pac-Man tie would be outrageous in a boardroom... or ridiculed when wrapped around the neck of your new sub for Social Studies.
[thanks for the Pac-Man tie, Jeffrey!]