Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Dress to impress (who?)

I was at my brother’s football game on Saturday, when I ran into a woman from my parents' church. Observing my new clothes, hair, and accessories, she said, “So what are you? Sixteen?” To which I promptly replied, “I was hoping I could look at least seventeen!” Normally I brush these kinds of criticisms off. But this is a woman I have to respect. She has adopted tons of special needs kids. It takes a pretty phenomenal person to pull that off. And when phenomenal people provide criticism, I want to listen. So I’m sitting here thinking about the perception that she had. She seemed to think I was regressing, since my outward appearance apparently screams ‘teenager’. Of course, being on the inside, I have a different perspective on this all. My feeling is that I am finally getting a chance to wear what I like and style myself according to my own tastes instead of placating a wife. But a valid question is: why are my tastes close enough to immature teenagers to look like I’m one of them? Is it a subconscious attempt at acceptance from that crowd? Well, I don’t know. I think the vast majority of people under 20 are morons. (I know I was. Well, I can’t prove I’m not now either, but…) So why would I want to be visually associated with that? Well, perhaps the context of my choices needs to be considered. I talked about these limits in a previous entry, so I won’t go into detail. But I will just point out that there are only so many ‘looks’ you can achieve unless you sew your own clothes. If given the choice to look like most people, or look like immature punks, I’ll go with the punks. Not because I’m attracted to them or their image, but because it’s different than most everyone else.

That brings me to this question: why do I feel a strong enough urge to be different than most, that I’m willing to look like a fool (to most people), dressing in an "immature" fashion? Is it attention seeking? Is it really just a desire to be young again? (Since I feel like I missed out on that experience of being young and single and free.) Could it be a legitimate lack of concern for what other people think? Ha! I’ve heard that one before. What does God think of my desire to be different? I have to assume there is a certain element of pride in there. Why would I care that I looked like everyone else if I didn’t have a little self-focus going on? But then again, I do have to look like something Everyone has to decide if they want to look more, or less popular when they buy their clothes. But with this relatively new niche marketing going on, almost every variant can be just as ‘pop’ as the next. I can’t say my spike necklace is edgy or unique, because it’s sold in places like Hot Topic, run by a giant corporation making millions by marketing that look to teens through MTV. Besides, I can’t get anything really spiky because I have little boys jumping on me all the time. So I’ve given up on the idea that I can look unique. I just buy what strikes my fancy. Is that so wrong? Well, maybe it is… These style choices did, after all, make a phenomenal person think less of me. I’ll think about it some more and get back to me on this subject.

Wait, I just thought of something. I can say that one healthy thing has come out of this. I knew ‘That Darn Girl’ wouldn’t like my hair this way. But I still did it. She was raised very well and followed Thumper’s mother’s advice: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” So at the very least, I can say I made a decision about my appearance that I knew would be a turn-off to my crush. That’s progress, right? Right?

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