Recently I had someone close to me that has trouble with some of the clothes I wear. An example is my drawstring velvet pants. He was concerned about how strangers would judge me based on what I wore and thereby judge him based on his association with me.
There was a lot of discussion about this. I understand his point of view and I sort of agree with it. I actually want those strangers that would judge me by my clothes and dismiss me to do exactly that. I want what he is so worried about happening. If someone were to judge me based on my clothes and dismiss me without getting to know me better, that is the type of person I don’t want around me. I want them to go away so I don’t have to deal with them.
There are “normal” people out there. Many of fandom call them mundanes. There is my subset of people. I usually refer to them as “my type of people.” They are the fans, the geeks, the oddballs I hang out with and enjoy. I found the option of being around “my type of people” in college. I hung out with the New Wave crowd. We wore rhinestones and formal wear to class. We cut our hair into odd shapes, died it unnatural colors, stuck it straight up (or in some weird concoction) and painted our faces. We were different and we wanted people to know it. One of the things I realized about the people dealing with us is that they had to overcome how we looked. Something I saw with the New Wave crowd was that we were very open to anyone that wanted to talk with us.
My theory is that everyone has defenses set up when dealing with people they don’t know. Normal people have all that small talk, weather, sports, social niceties that you have to go through to get to know someone to find out if it is safe to let down some of your defenses. The defenses the New Wave crowd had was on the surface. People were able to tell a lot about each of us by what we wore, what we looked like, and how we presented ourselves. If they liked what they saw and still approached us, then it was likely that it was ok to have lowered defenses. So there was less game playing, less tug and pull to see where people stood. It was a much more open environment.
I prefer this open environment. I like it when I don’t need to put up defenses. I like the concept of people being prescreened before they even get to talking to me. I want the judgment of those Mundanes out there that think I am a bit off and should be avoided.
Ever since this discussion about the clothes I wear, I have been very aware of every comment about my velvet pants that I have made. I have gotten so many complements (from like to love them) from people I enjoy and respect. Even professionals that have no reason to give me a complement. I think I have had one comment from a family member (who’s taste I think lowly of) that they look like pajamas, which I will admit, sometimes they do.
Sometimes, I must sacrifice my desire for a different appearance for things like work environments. But even then, I have a tendency to bring a taste of it in.
We are judged by our appearance. And there are times I am very grateful for the distaste of “normal” society.