Troy Dugan

Without a doubt, the past three months have been awesome. It’s been nothing but hitting the beach with my buddies, knocking back cold ones at barbecues, chilling on my sweet deck, and rollerblading through town—and I got to spend every single minute of it feeling the warmth of the sun on my chest. But it’s finally come down to it. I gotta wipe the sweat and sunscreen from my back and shoulders, and crack open that dresser drawer for the first time since May.

Yep, after another unbelievable summer, it’s time to put my shirt back on.

No use denying it. Temperatures are dropping; the sun’s setting earlier every day. As much as I hate to admit it, I gotta nut up and pack it in for the year. The time has come to grab a T-shirt and cover up the goods—maybe something mesh or without sleeves at first, to smooth the transition.

As fast as they seem to go by, those completely shirtless summer months spent boozing and hollering at baseball games and street festivals, playing Frisbee in the park, or getting asked to leave the Rite Aid when you’re just trying to pick up some aloe and a sixer of Lime-A-Ritas are that much sweeter when you look forward to ’em all year long.

It sucks, but at least I’ll still have my memories of rolling out of bed each morning, slipping on my trusty cutoffs, stepping out the door, and letting those sweet, sweet rays toast my arms and pecs to a perfect tan. When winter rolls in, I can always look back at all the photos of me and my buds having fun—driving ’round in my open-top Jeep, going out on Hunter’s dad’s boat, this great shot where I’m sitting on my best bro Scooch’s shoulders at Jam Fest and we’re both shotgunning brews—all without a stitch of clothing on us from the waist up.

Putting on a shirt for the first time in 90 days and no longer feeling the breeze on my chest—I fucking hate it. But that’s life, you know? There’s just some stuff you gotta wear a shirt for: going back to your old high school to watch the homecoming football game, Thanksgiving dinner, DUI hearings—and all those things are coming up soon. Eventually the nights get too cold even for throwing a light jacket over your bare chest and zipping it up just an inch or two. Maybe that’s a good thing, in a way, because all those times you’re forced to put on a shirt during the other seasons, they just make the summertime more special, right?

As fast as they seem to go by, those completely shirtless summer months spent boozing and hollering at baseball games and street festivals, playing Frisbee in the park, or getting asked to leave the Rite Aid when you’re just trying to pick up some aloe and a sixer of Lime-A-Ritas are that much sweeter when you look forward to ’em all year long.

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But for now, it’s time to take a deep breath and say a fond farewell to a few good friends: Goodbye birthmark and nipple ring and badly peeling skin; goodbye stomach hair and 311 tattoo—I gotta hide your light under a bushel for the next nine months, but you’ll all be back on display come Memorial Day, when I once again pull off my shirt, hook it through my belt loop, pop on my Oakley wraparounds, and triumphantly turn my upper body to the summer sun.

Now that’s a pretty sweet picture, man—almost makes the thought of having to put shoes on in a few weeks bearable.