GCSPrank Is Here

For people who spend the day saying and writing things that others accept, while thinking things that are infinitely more interesting.

Monday, February 28, 2005

My Uniform

For a guy who practically made a fetish of being different, who seemed to expend a great deal of energy in not conforming and who pretty much made sure to never be mistaken for being common, I dressed like a nobody.

Now I understand that college isn’t necessarily a fashion show and that the majority of students dress more for comfort than for style. Kudos to all. But what is irritating is to have someone settle—settle, I tell you—for a uniform instead of making a small effort and developing a style.

My clothing was almost always the same: T-shirt (never a polo shirt or anything with buttons), jeans, white athletic socks, tennis shoes and a jacket. The jacket was red (a bold choice, but not when repeated every day), with a dual white stripe running down the sleeves. Of a style popular during the 70s, when leisure clothing was a way of showing you were health-conscious and a slave to fashion, I wore it because it was at hand.

For fall and early spring, I would add a sweatshirt to the uniform and winter would see me cover the whole thing with a heavy leather jacket, one blessed with a flannel inner lining.

If you looked at my wardrobe, you’d see 10-11 pairs of jeans, 14-16 T-shirts, 19-20 pairs of white socks and a red jacket. (Boxers? Briefs? Ask me later.) Substitute the jeans for 13-14 pairs of shorts during the summer. Week after week, month after month, I pretty much wore the same clothes, in a monotonous litany that expressed nothing except maybe a disdain for shopping.

I did have moments when I wore a cap or stocking cap touting the Pittsburgh Steelers. I would get clothes for my birthday or Christmas, but unless they conformed to my uniform, they would languish in obscure corners of my closet. I grew an inch or two, added a bit of weight, changed my social style, but never got rid of my (foolish) consistency.

This is not an exercise in hindsight ranting. It is the pointing out of a glaring inconsistency. I was the guy who refused to get a haircut while taking AFROTC courses, to the extent that my hair was shoulder-length in a world of crewcuts. They called me “Custer” behind my back. Therefore if I wanted to stand out so damn much, why fade into the background with a uniform?

Or did I? I was so recognizable in my haute couture that Don used the jacket as the only article of clothing on GCSPrank. But he knew me well; saw me practically every day. Did the many others see me? Did I simply fade from view as someone who just couldn’t “catch the eye”? Was that the point, not catching anyone’s eye? Or was the uniform my way of creating an image that would stand out, that would brazenly make it obvious that I was not trying to fit in, to show that I didn’t care what fashion or peers were saying?

I don’t have an answer now. And that’s the problem: I didn’t then, either.


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