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My first encounter with this expression was in the seventies. A biker chick was wearing a shirt with the slogan. Beneath the words a pointed finger pointed to the subject referenced, her big, tough, mean looking biker better half was sporting the counterpart T-shirt, identifying himself as the "stupid" she was with. It was a playful, relatable indication that one shouldn't assume things from outward appearances. This guy might look mean but he was probably a big softy. He was comfortable enough with who he was to tell the world through their coordinated ensembles that he shared the power in their relationship.

Later, I would see couples where the sexes were reversed. There would be an unhappy looking woman wearing the "stupid" shirt, with a cocky husband strutting at her side, pointing her out as if thought that through verbal the subjugation of his wife the world would see him as being quite the man.

The statement itself takes on meaning depending upon the usage. I don't think it's an endorsement, per se.

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  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/166704/…
    – user66974
    Aug 22, 2016 at 21:26
  • 4
    You've removed the question from the body text. It needs to appear there. Just having it in the title is not enough.
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 22, 2016 at 21:53
  • Endorsement? Do you mean endearment?
    – deadrat
    Aug 23, 2016 at 1:47
  • Interesting pronomial use of the adjective.
    – TimR
    Aug 12, 2023 at 13:04

2 Answers 2

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The expression appears to be from the mid/late '70s. One of the earliest usage instances I could find is From Ann Lander's Encyclopedia, A to Z , 1979 and it refers to a T-shirt usage:

  • It means enjoying the funny and often ridiculous clothes — Marc's T-shirts that say "Bullshirt" or "Dangerous Curves Ahead," or "I'm with Stupid," with an arrow pointing to whoever is standing nearby. It could be you. Loving a grandchild means ...
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  • The Ngram viewer gets you back to 1977. What a miserable decade.
    – deadrat
    Aug 23, 2016 at 1:55
  • @deadrat - can you add the link please.
    – user66974
    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:15
  • A reference to the slogan on a button: books.google.com/… If you think that adds value, I'd prefer you add the link to your answer.
    – deadrat
    Aug 23, 2016 at 23:20
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In August 1975, Rod Riggs, editor of the Ames (Iowa) Daily Tribune, wrote about t-shirts seen at the Iowa State Fair.

""My favorites were a fist with finger pointing to the wearer's right and the explanation, "I'm with stupid," and another.... (Rod Riggs, "From My Point of View," August 23, 1975, p4)

It's not clear if that shirt was printed or homemade, but an article in The World (Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois) in October describes a Chicago women named Carolyn DePasquale whose Dee-Cals business produced 250 custom designs, with one of the hot items being

"'I'm with stupid' with a finger pointing to the person on the wearer's right." (Jean Guarino, "She'll make a shirt that will fit to a 'T." October 19, 1975, p8

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