As I was striding down the street yesterday, cigarette in hand, headphones blaring their usual, I saw a very similar lady to the one in the image above. A similar cigarette, a similar situation - I presumed she was a student as well - and I cringed. She seemed garish. Worse than that, she seemed happy in her orange skin. She babbled cheerily away on her Iphone and gave me a hint of eye contact, a little smile; polite. As I passed her, the scent of cheap perfume hit me like a slap in the face from a spectacularly bad date. Inwardly I shook my head, multiple times, then adjusted my hands in my big Denim jacket, shifted my skinny jeans, and resumed listening to a Jazz band no normal person has probably ever listened to. Then I stopped. (In my head of course, it would have been strange if, at the moment of epiphany, I cartoonishly stopped and shouted Eureka, besides, I would have earned the moniker of the strangest child in Cardiff) Why was she any more worthy than me to be judged negatively on her appearance? Was I so close-minded to not realise that she was just trying to fit in, like me, with my strange music and faux-mod attempt? And so I made my way to my lecture, a little more slowly, a little more thoughtfully.
This strange middle class judging is everywhere, I'm sure of it. Social media is full of condemnation of people for the way they dress, for the style their hair takes. In conversation with a group of friends, I mentioned the top knot - If you are unaware of the 'top knot', it is a male hair style, revolving around a small bun on the top of the head - this mention brought scathing remarks for the indie kids who are often seen sporting them. One friend mentioned a certain celebrity and how "If you don't have the facial structure of a God, you look like a twat". I laughed, then thought. Everyone on the planet deserves to dress the way they wish, with whatever accessories they wish, and to not be mocked for doing so. And that is the crux of this post. I learnt an important lesson yesterday, not to be a judgemental dick was pretty high up, but also that people dress as they do because they are trying, just as hard as I am, to fit in. The old adage of "never judge a book by its cover" is infinitely true, even if the cover is sporting a trendy top knot, or six tattoos, or a pair of Ugg boots.