As a struggling standup comedian, Ryan Day embraces any chance to look foolish in public. So when a co-worker offered him this dare – start a fundraising campaign to buy yourself a romper – he jumped in with his characteristic verve.
For the uninitiated, the romper fashion trend exploded in May, inspiring men to don one-piece suits with short sleeves and short legs, buttoning up the chest. Cam Newton made a splash in a floral-patterned version that was actually not quite a romper, having two pieces, but still stoked the enthusiasm – nearly all of it ironic.
So Day posted his ad on gofundme.com, seeking $90 for a light-blue romper with a pineapple pattern. A romphim, technically. Within 48 hours, he’d raised enough. And after some delays and mail-order snafus, his new garment arrived last week – a cool shade of pink.
“I figure if I’m going to go Full Monty with this,” said Day, 23, “I’m going to go as hipster as possible.”
As an added bonus, Day’s crowdfunding success appears to have launched a nation of imitators. I counted hundreds of men seeking romper funds on gofundme this week, the majority of them posting later than Day and most of them apparently serious.
“I just want a man romper,” wrote Sean Brady of Milford, Mass., “but I’m poor.”
A few of them seek far more than a romper’s cost, promising to send extra funds to the Humane Society or a cancer center. Some of them seek particular romper styles, especially those with the American flag or Ramen noodle print. But the most popular model, by far, features North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s face stretching from shoulder to waist.
“I would like to present Mr. Un with his own Romper,” wrote Jake Kinniebrew of Columbus, Ohio, “as a personal thank you for sabotaging that terrible movie starring Seth Rogan and James Franco.”
When not onstage telling jokes, Day works at Raleigh’s Boxcar bar and arcade, working both as a game technician and security guard. When his romper arrived, Day discovered that his new garment satisfied his desire to be ridiculous.
It turned heads. People expected him to feel embarrassed or ashamed.
But as he grew into his man-onesie, he discovered a genuine fondness for it, completely free of irony.
“This is the most comfortable piece of clothing I own,” he said. “Breathes super easy. Cuts down on chafing like crazy. I kind of like the attention it brings”
The downside: “It’s hard to get off, especially when I have to go to the bathroom. There’s no feeling quite like being in a public restroom with your romper around your ankles.”
In his summer of mail delays, Day managed to get a refund for his original pineapple romphim and find a cheaper model for $30 on Amazon. Flush with cash, he tracked down each of his donors and asked “Refund or buy two more?” Suffice it to say two light blue and black specials will soon hang in Day’s closet.
Asked about his fellow romphim-seekers, most of whom have yet to raise a cent, Day had no idea that he had company in his admiration for ridiculous one-piece clothing. But notoriety arrives in unexpected packages, all of them welcome, in this case.
“If that’s what my legacy as a comedian is,” said Day, “if I’m one of the only successful crowdsourcing romper guys, I mean, I’ll take it.”
Show us your romphim
Jealous of Ryan Day’s pink romphim? Now’s your chance to one-up him. Send us your romper photos to email@example.com! We’ll publish the best ones.