Dressing Up My Boyfriend As Marc Anthony In His Terrible Kohl's Clothes

When I read last fall that Marc and J.Lo were designing clothing line at Kohl’s, I thought, well, now they can’t break up. Who else besides each other could they really expect to weather the shame? I mean, J.Lo is an international superstar. Marc Anthony is a gross international superstar. Kohl’s is the place that everyone thinks is Mervyns and already closed.

To refer to this particular Sacramento-area Kohl’s store as “open” is an overstatement. The place is humid with recession and whatever it is that keeps fabric from rotting in storage containers. At 1 p.m. on a Sunday, the only people around seemed mostly up to no good, like the two teenage girls holding Vera Wang for Kohl’s earrings up to their nipples. Moving towards the men’s department, I saw two mothers, both with the Scotch-tape-width blonde highlights native to this area, cheering their scowling teenage sons into cotton-poly white shirts and poly-poly ties for a school dance. When the salesman — his young sideburns scraped into shape, his own cotton poly-blend white shirt fitting him like a parachute; the kind of nice, smart kid who would be in college if we didn’t live in a failed state — said to me, “Welcome to Kohl’s. Can I help you?” I felt all but compelled to say, “Only if you can somehow reverse the trajectory of my life so that this moment never takes place.”

J.Lo is, of course, unsinkable. (I’d also like to mention that I love her, and I’m just doing my job here.) She’s shooting two movies and some horrible dance song she sings is, I don’t know, out there in the world and making money even though everyone who hears it has to be like, Gee, who in my apartment building would be practicing for their Quinceañera on a Casio? It’s probably really no skin off her suspiciously-thinner-since-about-2000 nose that the J.Lo for Kohl’s sexy stuff looks like shreds of shower curtain hung over strands of Mardi Gras beads and the knit stuff looks like what comes out of an owl’s asshole a few hours after it eats a squirrel. She said (and yes, I know, she has to) these clothes reflect her personal style but the only way she would ever even touch any of this stuff would be if she got her period at Raging Waters and had to stuff something in her panties. (N.B. I can’t emphasize enough how much I hate the word ‘panties.’ But let me tell you something: J.Lo does not wear ‘underpants.’)

Marc Anthony for Kohl’s isn’t going to win any awards, but fortunately for him, it’s not hideous. Let’s face it: Marc needs this. I mean, to me, he is a Latino ectomorph with an anger problem — in short, fucking catnip — but to the rest of the world, he’s the guy who J.Lo just dumped and whose TNT show that no one heard of anyway just got cancelled. Bradley Cooper is not going to be taking him to Per Se anytime soon. If Marc Anthony wants to get through this new chapter in his life, there’s only one person on whom he’s going to be able to rely, and that person is Marc Anthony. Perhaps he has been waiting for this moment his whole life — a time when survival will mean clothing himself in himself.

It was to this end that I brought my boyfriend Rob to Kohl’s and put the question to him: what challenges do you think Marc will be facing in the coming months? What Marc Anthony for Kohl’s outfit do you think would help him meet that challenge?

Traveling cross-country from his Long Island mansion to pick up Max and Emme at J.Lo’s in Hidden Hills.

Those first-class cabins can get chilly and, even more importantly, Marc has been accused by both the media and J.Lo of being dominating and controlling. Presumably both parties will be watching closely to see how Marc presents himself as a father, and I think we can all agree that nothing says contrite and humble like a zippered white sweater. Underneath, a snug black v-neck t-shirt with one of those inexplicably fashionable giant bleach stains serves to remind Marc that even if he is all Señor Rogers on the outside, he can hand this sweater off to the coatgirl at Mynt or Asia de Cuba and, suddenly, he is once again el rey de bulging ligaments y corazon puro. Rob loved wearing this sweater. “It just made me feel like Marc Anthony. I could really picture putting it on, and then I could picture taking it off, and when the night is over, and it’s time to slip quietly out of a 24-year-old Nordstrom model’s studio into a waiting town car, I can picture having a dull hangover and staring at the acrylic/wool/nylon/polyester knit wondering how many meetings went into choosing this particular acrylic/wool/nylon/polyester knit over the scores of others.”

Seeing his divorce attorney.

Presuming Marc does not find his way back onto J.Lo’s block with his cardigan sweater, he’s going to be spending some time at his attorney’s. This is going to call for more of a power outfit. The slim-cut dress slacks in black and slim-cut dress shirt in grey here are classic choices, but what will really set Marc apart from your average guy is the choice of a more casual jacket over a standard blazer. “When I put this on, I could really feel Marc Anthony’s pride,” Rob said. “I could feel that he is from the same broad ethnic category that gave us Bolívar, Guevara, Pinochet. In this jacket, he is saying to the world, hey, if J.Lo were getting a divorce from Ben Affleck right now, he’d be wearing a blazer to meet with his attorney. But I’m not just some blanquito who makes movies where rich dudes who went to Harvard pretend to be poor. Yo soy Marc Anthony, and I ‘designed’ a jacket that’s kind of like a Members Only jacket, but warmer and with a slight military feel — epaulets, box pleat chest pockets — to evoke the revolutionary struggles of my people. Now, please make sure I get to keep that house in Long Island because I really don’t want to have to move that brown chair in which I like to sit and listen to Celine Dion songs while watching NASCAR on one TV and Anthony Bourdain on the other, with the sound off.”

Sneaking around.

Another activity we expect Marc will engage in in the coming weeks: continued trysts with Jada Pinkett Smith. (Either that or they will get together because he has to return her “Remington Steele” DVDS.) At any rate, he will want to be incognito, which is why he might choose to brave J.Lo’s section of the store in order to obtain one of her many fire hazards, er, scarves, in which to wrap his head. Reports Rob: “I really like the tough fabric of this jacket. Also, this military theme in my clothing, well, it’s endlessly helpful. I totally feel like I could take Will Smith in this, and even though that’s probably not true, it’s still short enough that I could run away from him.” But the disguise means it probably wouldn’t come to that. “I feel confident that no one would recognize me as Marc Anthony wearing this scarf,” said Rob.

Standing before the world as a man with nothing left to lose.

After he’s been picking up the kids for a while in his zippered white sweater with no visible melting from J.Lo, Marc will realize it’s time to lay all his cards on the table. This shirt’s message, Nada Me Puede Detener (Nothing Can Stop Me), is a cry from Marc’s soul. “He might not have it in him to wear this T-shirt right now, but in a few months, he will slip into this enzyme-treated cotton and feel immediately that he is really the man that he always wanted to be,” Rob predicts. “And then he will try to make a face like he is making in his Marc Anthony for Kohl’s promotional materials, and he will feel like himself. Or he will feel like a bald Enterprise Support Technician at a small software company, and he will try to make that face, and end up making the face that I am making. Either way, I know that in Marc Anthony for Kohl’s, Marc Anthony is going to be alright.”

Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl, which are for teens but adults can read on the beach. She lives in Nevada City, CA.