Graphic T-shirts. Hoodies. Baggy jeans. Short jeans. Loose sweatpants. The belief that “if they care more about it than I do, then they’re caring about the wrong thing.” The instant dismissal of anything perceived as “superficial.” Anything relating to one remotely taking care of one’s own appearance was blasphemy. I shunned makeup. I detested clothes shopping. I had no desire to learn about somebody else’s life. I had no idea.
It’s all come back around. The bug has hit – though it seems to be passing – but it has hit. The obsession of self-image. Right around puberty. Good thing I found out a little more online before I made any hasty decisions.
Over one hundred dollars per trip. Money spent on frivolities and superficial objects – the very thing that I had sworn to not be lured by. How is it different now? I thought. What am I, but yet another “mindless consumer?” I was becoming my own enemy. I was fighting for the wrong side.
But it felt right. It felt good to look at myself in the mirror. It felt good to stare at myself. It lets me know that even if everything around me seems to turn sour, I can still look back at my own, loyal reflection. My friends will disappear. My family will disappear. My possessions will disappear, but I’ll still have my reflection. I may as well make myself look as good as I can, I thought.
Two years and over one thousand dollars later, I think I’m finally satisfied with my image. I can call myself “cool” unironically now. I can determine how new clothes can fit into my wardrobe. I can tell what’ll look good, and I can tell what’s trendy. I can look at a person’s outfit, and judge how “fashionable” they are. But that’s not something that I like to admit.
The ability to judge isn’t something to be proud of. The ability to withhold judgement, however, is admirable. The ability to hold oneself back from giving in to one’s desires is something to be proud of.
Pointing and laughing at someone serves no purpose but the fulfillment of one’s own ego.
This is the final stage of being a “vain ass dude.”
The first was ignorance. I believed that somehow, I was better than the “popular kids” because I didn’t care about my appearance. I thought my indifference was so much better than their trying. I had a mindset of always being holier-than-thou, no matter what.
Then was second stage: enlightenment. When I finally found a resource for “looking good” that wasn’t yet another generic magazine about “manliness,” I was finally able to pick up some jeans and jackets that looked good on me, and weren’t picked by my parents, nor “because it’s my favourite colour.” It was like Christmas day: finally opening up my eyes to the world of fashion.
The elitism still continued, however. I now thought that I was better than the guys who “don’t put an effort into their appearance.” I thought of myself as being so much better. I thought of myself as being someone who worked harder than all of these strangers – I thought I was somehow better than them, even when all I saw was their choice of clothing. That’s the third stage.
The fourth stage is the revelation. At a certain point, because we’re not all a part of the social elite, we run out of money to spend. When I finally bothered to look at the receipt, and consider the value of one hundred dollars, I became wary of my constant purchases. I thought about MMO subscriptions. I thought about how much money these corporations were making off of dudes like me. I thought about my initial hatred towards consumerism and the “capitalist regime.”
The fifth stage is moderate indifference. Or moderate interest. Somewhere in between. Somewhere peaceful. Somewhere that you don’t have to worry about what other people think. It’s a place where you don’t judge. It’s a place where you recognize that you’re no better than anyone else because you chose to spend more money. It’s not a place where you can sit on top of your pedestal and laugh at the peasants.
It’s also not a place where you can take the rocks that the peasants throw at you. Be graceful – unless they’re really asking for it, yeah?
Talk shit, post fit.