"I'm your Papi" T-shirt Man

Dear Mr. “I’m your Papi” T-shirt Man,

You don’t know me, but I know you. Sure, we’ve never met, but you’re a “familiar stranger” to me. I pass you almost every day on my walk down Huangpi Nan Lu. I’m sure that I see certain people often on that walk and they just don’t stick in my mind, but you, sir, stick in my mind. Why? I think it’s because of your t-shirt.

In the searing Shanghai summer sun, you wear a black t-shirt every day. Furthermore, it has the words “I’m your Papi” boldly emblazoned on the front in big white letters. You are not a small man, and I can see your message from a long way off.

I just have to ask, though… Why “I’m your Papi” every day? I can tell you’re not poor; you’re always listening to your iPod, have nice shoes, and a shoulder bag that looks like it might contain a notebook PC. So clearly you can afford other clothes. I’ve caught you several times wearing a black “Batista unleashed” t-shirt, but I got the distinct feeling you were just wearing that so you could wash “I’m your Papi.”

At first I thought you had a thing for latinas (which I can certainly understand). If the “I’m your Papi” message was taken to heart even once, it might make the marathon worthwhile. But now I realize you’re just a fan of the WWE. And that’s fine…

…but “I’m your Papi” every day??

Related Classic Entry: Outfit Streaks


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Maybe he needs a chinese version, 我是你的爸爸!

  2. T-shirts in China are awesome.

    Some of my personal favorites:
    “Assume the position”
    “Juicy” (Plastered across some chicks boobs)
    “Faulkner said that” with a skull picture

    Anyone ever seen the Bin Laden T-shirts floatin’ around?

  3. 我是你的爸爸! That was my favorite line from Fantasy Mission Force, my favorite Jacky Chan movie. Awesome.

    Anyway if I didn’t know better, from reading this entry I could almost conclude that foreigners in China are oftentimes really, really odd ducks.

  4. Da Xiangchang Says: August 14, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Maybe he’s one of those intellectual guys who can’t waste brain functions on changing shirts. He probably has like 20 identical “I’m Your Papi” T-shirts, and changes one every single day. Having lived 4 years of the last decade abroad, I have to say, changing outfits everyday sucks. I only do it stateside cuz I don’t want to seem unclean. But everyday once I get home, I change into the exact same outfit: my cheapo Old Navy T-shirt and a pair of Old Navy khaki shorts (Old Navy rocks for poor folks like me!). Wearing the same crap everyday is cool.

  5. He might be doing a performance art project like The Brown Dress Project by wearing the same outfit everyday.


  6. Old Navy is cheap allright, but you’ll have a better chance of finding higher quality clothes at a bootleg-clothing-market

  7. If it is ok for people around me I prefer to wear the same outfit for a while and change it when I want to stay on another one. I don’t see the point why people have to wear different thing from day to day except the underwear part.

  8. If i like which T-shirt very much ,i will buy more that two at the same time ,though i can wear that outfit everyday .

  9. Whoever put in definition #7 for Papi (or PAPI) sure needs a proof reader.

  10. re: “Whoever put in definition #7 for Papi (or PAPI) sure needs a proof reader.” … number 7 from what ??

  11. kelly,

    He’s referring to the Urban Dictionary definition for “papi” which I linked to in the entry.

  12. UPDATE:

    This update is about a month overdue, but oh well. “I’m your Papi” T-shirt Man is no longer wearing either the “I’m your Papi” t-shirt OR the “Batista unleashed” t-shirt, apparently because of the change in weather. Oddly, he has switched to button-down shirts.

  13. This reminds me a little bit of a guy I always see around in Fuzhou. He is actually quite famous among certain circles. He wears short silky skirts, garters, and heels. He likes to strut along theatrically and blow kisses at people. (I know this has little to do with the papi thing, but maybe it’s the recognition of someone with a strange style.)

  14. Just to let everyone know he is refering to Eddie Guerrero’s Shirt, Since then Eddie has passed away due to a heart disorder, he was known for helping those in need when they needed it the most and he had the most wonderful and giving heart towards his friends, family or just someone who needed help, although he had to face his personal demons earlier on in his life he always had his heart and has inspired me to change my addiction towards alcohol, by the day he had passed away he had been sober for 4 years and had been a reborn christian, Eddie will never be forgotten within my heart for his Generosity, Love, Strength & Soul.

    Eddie Guerrero 1967-2005.

  15. tierra nicole young Says: January 6, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Eddie Guerrero is the best wrestler of all times. He is and always will be in my heart and all of his friends,family,and fans hearts too. I love Eddie Guerrero,I balled my eyes out like a little baby when he died November 13,2005 was the worst day of my life!,and I personally hate Randy Orton for what he said about Eddie.I’m glad he got his ass kicked by Rey Mysterio that night.Any ways, what i’m trying to say is that I would do anything for Eddie.I would kill to have met him in person or got an autograph from him or something.VIVA LA RAZA 4-EVER!!!!!!

Leave a Reply