Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Being Part of a Subculture

You remember as a child when you couldn't wait for Halloween, so much so that when your mom bought you that plastic wrapped costume at the store you couldn't wait to get home to try it on. You'd slip it on over your head, it would be big on you, the fabric a lot cheaper then the picture might imply. You would quickly find the nearest mirror and no matter how ridiculous you really looked all you saw was a total baddass. When Halloween was over your mom would pack up that outfit, and maybe you could still fit into it next year, maybe not. But it didn't really matter because every few months or so you would find it put it on, and when she wasn't looking prance around the house like a sheik surveying his harem.

That child my friends, was me. And while most of us grow out of our costume fazes by age 12, content to only dressing up for the occasional Halloween party once a year, and then possibly prom and weddings, I was not satisfied. And as I grew my snobbery grew, I was no longer interested in poor quality Halloween costumes and walking around my house. I wanted fabrics that no longer itched my tender bits, that I could wash without 12 pounds of pill lint sticking to them, and fit correctly without the use of safety pins.

An obsession was born.

It started with anime conventions, they're like a gateway drug. And then I got into lolita, a style of fashion that originated in Japan. So not only was I dressing a little differently, now I was doing it in public, in front of total strangers who had no idea what I was supposed to be, for no particular reason than that I wanted to and it was fun. Anime convention are like a bubble everyone loves you (sometimes in a very creepy way), and wants your picture, and that prepared me for people on the street who sometimes are very similar. But I have had to get used to when people feel the need to shout at you "IT'S NOT HALLOWEEN!"

You're right, it's not Halloween, it's weird you feel the need to point that out, let alone shout it across the room, now every-ones attention is on you. Which may very well be your ultimate goal. A girl walks in with a pink wig and a skirt so poofy it looks like she's hiding an umbrella, and orders a hot chocolate, suddenly no one is paying attention to the story of how you were "so wasted last night".

Now though, all the attention is back on you, where is always should have been. Am I right?

The truth is people who dress crazy don't do it for other people, they do it because it's something they enjoy doing, and they like the way they look. If someone walks up to me and says they like my outfit, or they want to take my picture it's a nice little extra. But if people are negative to me or my clothing it won't stop me from wearing it, or going where I please in it. My love of dressing up is too deeply embedded for me to really acknowledge the random person sneering at me, so I really don't know what you hope to accomplish random person. I have years of convention training, a thick social skin, and plenty of people who think I look whimsical instead of freaky on my side.

So express your opinions (I'm a big suporter of free speech), but like so many protesters, know that they won't make one lick of difference. Perhaps this negativity stem from a deep seated need to do exactly as I have done, wear or do something so outside the social norm that people stare at you wherever you go. But you just don't have the confidence to do something so unacceptable yourself, so instead you fall back on what you do feel confident doing. Belittling others...

Congratulations! You grew up to be a closed minded, angry little jerk. You're so disapproving that you would rather write someone off as a loon because of the clothes they wear instead of starting up a conversation with someone who might be an interesting person and could broaden your horizons.

Or they might not, but you'll never know. You must be proud.