The Coastal Packet: Key Maine legal issue explained

Wednesday, March 9

Key Maine legal issue explained

Bangor Maine Police Department·

Questions have been directed at me regarding the intra-home sharing of flannel shirts. Specifically, when a person takes a plaid, flannel shirt from another person in the same home, can it be considered theft? It can never be considered theft if the wife takes it from a husband.

Flannel shirts that are purchased for a person or by a person for their own personal use, are owned by the original purchaser unless several conditions are met. Again, this is not law but it is a policy that has been approved by the FWAOAOM (Flannel Wearers and Owners Association of Maine).

1. Men's flannel shirts, purchased as a gift by the wife, spouse or significant other, are owned by the man unless it shrinks more than one size during the first washing and drying. At that time the shirt becomes the property of the wife, spouse or significant other that purchased the shirt or offspring of that couple. This rule cannot be changed.

2. Flannel shirts, left on the floor of the garage or behind the seat of a pickup truck, in the boat or near the woodpile are transferred to the ownership of the individual who, A. Picks up the shirt or B. Washes the shirt. Men who want to keep ownership of these shirts must do both A and B or the ownership immediately is transferred to the wife, spouse or significant other. This rule cannot be changed. Typically, the experience of the FWAOAOM board is that the men will not do both and rarely do either one of the aforementioned tasks. Therefore, the wife, spouse or significant other most often takes ownership of the flannel.

3. Flannel Shirts not worn by the husband for more than one season (season length being determined by the wife,spouse or significant other) immediately are transferred to the ownership of the wife, spouse or significant other unless the man agrees to A. take her to dinner or B. buy her something nice. Even then, if the wife, spouse or significant other invokes either rule #1 or rule #2, the flannel shirt becomes property of the wife, spouse or significant other.

Finally, men are never allowed to say to their wife (spouse or significant other) the following phrases.

1. Hey, that's my shirt
2. I have been looking for that buffalo plaid shirt.
3. Why are you always wearing my flannel shirt
4. I never gave you that flannel shirt.

If these phrases are used in private or in front of company or relatives, the flannel shirt in question becomes the permanent property of the wife, spouse or significant other.

I think we have clearly answered all the questions pertaining to the inter-home ownership of flannel shirts. If you are from Maine or another state where flannel shirts are a wardrobe necessity, these rules should be followed. Police intervention is seldom required as most of the time, any flannel is owned by your wife, spouse or significant other if she deems it so.

As their motto states, "Flannel seized is flannel earned." We appreciate the FWAOAOM for providing these rules and urge you not to call us to arbitrate flannel swapping situations at your home. We just are not going to be available for that.

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