costume drama

What’s Up With the Bookstore Aprons on You?

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg on You. Photo: Netflix

Well, hello there. Who are you?

Based on your vibe, a bookstore clerk. Sorry, a bookstore manager. And based on your name tag, a man named Joe.

Your chambray shirt is loose, buttoned. You’re not here to be ogled, but that apron … it’s so strange. I’ve never seen a bookstore manager wear an apron before. So you like a little attention. Okay, I bite …

But actually, though. Why are you wearing an apron?

Hmm, you’re not the standard insecure hipster working at a café you’ll never leave. Too skinny for a chef. What could you possibly be doing that would require you to wear an apron?

You sound apologetic, like you’re embarrassed to be wearing an apron. Own your shit, Joe. If aprons are your kink, then be out about it.

Oh, are you not wearing pants under there? And you want me to notice! If this were a movie, I’d grab you, and we’d go at it right in the stacks.

Okay, that was maybe a bit too far. But I really need to know the story behind your apron, Joe. I figured the shop where you’d work in real life, Logos Bookstore in Yorkville, would be a good place to start. When I called, though, the guy who picked up said he’d “never seen” anyone wearing an apron in a bookstore, and that that would be an “odd thing” to do.

When I called the Strand, they said the same thing: “Employees come as they are.” No aprons. Just name tags. But maybe you wear an apron because you work at a used bookstore, Joe. Maybe the books are dusty. Maybe you keep dead boyfriends in your airtight used-book chamber, and don’t want to get blood on your clothes …

But when I called the Housing Works Bookstore Café, they also said they’d never heard of anyone wearing aprons in bookstores. Same for McNally Jackson and Books Are Magic. Out of the five bookstores I called, no one could recall any bookstore manager wearing an apron in recent memory, or ever.

So it’s a costume. Do you wear it to look old-timey? Helpful? Unthreatening? Or are you covering something up, Joe? Perhaps a sledgehammer, or your criminal past.

At the end of the day, people wear aprons because they’re making a mess. But are you, Joe? Are you making a mess? Or are you just a run-of-the-mill sociopath who loves aprons?

Either way, it’s fine. We can still date.

What’s Up With the Bookstore Aprons on You?