Can we talk about this? Don’t lead with your graphic tee—you know that t-shirt with some printed cartoon character, personified inanimate object, snarling animal, political party logo, brand slogan, religious iconography or pun. In fact, throw it out. Give it to goodwill. Turn it into a quilt with the other yellowed armpit-tees you can dig out of the depths of your armoire.

In the past few years, we’ve seen a real resurgence of the graphic tee. And I’ve yet to meet a man who doesn’t own at least one t-shirt he refuses to toss because of some sentimental value—a memory of receiving his first road head with Homer Simpson as witness—or because it’s “comfortable” and he sleeps in it. When men sext the ever-so clichéd “What are you wearing?” and women are expected to lie about our ducky pajama pants and tie-dye spaceship-flying kitten t-shirts in place of lingerie or nothing at all, we don’t want to picture you wearing a graphic tee either. Invest in some respectable, feel-good pajamas—or sleep in the nude; it’s far less incriminating and actually quite liberating.

There’s just something inherently juvenile about graphic tees. Back in the day, they served as a sort of catalyst for self-exploration. They were manifestations of your interests plastered across your chest and back so you could convince yourself and tell the world: This is me. But now you’re a confident grown man who knows damn well who he is and your t-shirt should be as plain and boring as your life. Kidding. Kinda.

Show some respect to your alma mater. Wear a sports team shirt to a game. Volunteer in a graphic tee that contributes to some altruistic cause. Do nothing more.

So how did the graphic tee find its way into the wardrobes of so many? T-shirts originated as full-body underwear designed to absorb perspiration and act as a barrier between a man’s bodily grime and the more expensive garments he wanted to protect. During the 19th century, it took the form of tops to two-piece union suits. Miners, dockworkers, farmers, ranchers and laborers alike, however, began wearing them as standalone pieces as they worked. Likewise, by the 20th century, the US Navy began to issue undershirts to sailors who wore them in sweltering tropical climates, and other branches of the military followed suit in the decades to come.

By the ’40s, the t-shirt was considered play clothing for boys who were notorious for getting dirty. After WWII, vets continued to wear their undershirts with trousers while working around the house. And ’50s films like The Wild Ones, A Streetcar Named Desire and Rebel Without a Cause popularized the undershirt as outerwear, with Marlon Brando and James Dean lending it an air of edgy rebelliousness. They turned the plain t-shirt it into an emblem of masculine cool.

Graphic tees, however: Not so cool. They date back to the ’30s and ’40s, but because they really hit the scene later than the plain white undershirt, they have this confused modern feel to them. The first sighting of one of these was an Air Corps Gunnery School print on the cover of Life magazine on July 13, 1942. That magazine sold for ten cents.

The advancements in screen-printing technology like Plastisol inks in the ’60s, paired with the emerging social freedoms of the revolutionaries of that time, birthed a new wave of graphic tees we are still seeing today. The trend that defined this era was all about bands, political ideals, sex and drugs that delivered messages of self-expression and protest.

Obviously, by the ’70s and ’80s, fashion houses began vomiting their logos all over t-shirts because, well duh, walking and talking advertisements were a plausible reality. Larger corporations began capitalizing on this idea by the ’90s, making fortunes.

So what does this say about a man wearing a graphic tee in 2016?

Your t-shirt, sir, makes you three things: 1) A very lazy dresser. 2) A man-child with dwindling dignity who screams I don’t even know who I am anymore so I’m putting emojis on my chest in a concerted but pathetic effort to express myself and I’m incredibly socially inept so I’m throwing some visually stimulating images or letters at you without having to utilize the spoken word. 3) A living advert and mere product of conglomerate, corporate commercialization; you’re a giver-inner, man.

Show some respect to your alma mater. Wear a sports team shirt to a game. Volunteer in a graphic tee that contributes to some altruistic cause. Do nothing more.

Your “Fear the Beard” shirt does not make anyone fear the beard. We didn’t even notice the beard you took months to grow because you’re wearing a stupid, stupid shirt.

Photo Credit: Twenty20|@jeyebeye