You know, my husband Phillip and I are on foot. We don’t own a car. And we live in Florida. So, you can imagine when we’re going somewhere, we tend to get a little sweaty. And usually Phillip is walking to work, where he goes from the extreme temps of a 95 degree sun glaring at him from above, to standing over a hot, gas grill as a line cook in a restaurant.
Bandanas are a highly used commodity in this house. We use them to wipe our brows while we’re walking around town tending to errands, and Phillip will douse his in ice cold water while he’s at work, then tie it around his neck to keep him cool.
Recently, we’ve taken this art of wearing a bandana to a new and beautiful degree. Of course, in our early days we always wore whatever we could find: usually, the classic red with white paisley bandana that looks just so right on me. I mean, you’ve seen the way I look. Classic Americana when I have my red bandana hanging from my back pocket. The only thing I’m missing is a gas pump in my hand.
So, Phillip and I started discussing how wild it would be to start wearing the most stylish, fun bandanas we could find. Just a little way of saying, “Alright, you may think you know the kind of guys we are just by glancing at our clothes….but, wait until we pull out our stylish bandanas. 🙂
Now, Hobby Lobby has a great selection of bandanas. The retail price is only $1.00, but if you have your coupon, they’re only 60 cents. So, we’ve been playing around with these new bandanas, because we think of it as something special; a small, quiet way to tell a story about ourselves if anyone should happen to pay attention.
For instance, Phillip has been sporting one with these stenciled elephant heads on them. I know my husband, I know exactly why he picked that particular one. He has a fondness for Ganesh. (He claims to be an atheist, but I’m working on him….) So, should he be stepping about town, or at work, people may look at him and see a cook. But, he’s telling a little something about himself that you may not have known unless you looked a second time, maybe to ask, “So, what’s up with the elephants?”
Phillip laughed when he saw my bandana. He said, “That reminds me of stories of your grandmother!” Oh, yes. Mine was this fine 70’s print, the sort they made entire curtains out of, hung over every window that was in an orange colored shag rug room! This print screamed of decals in the shape of daisies slapped on sliding glass doors. Giant amber ashtrays (as big as your head) crowding every surface of the house. Oh, THIS bandana told of a beloved memory. (Only my family will get this: my bandana print was reminiscent of a classic, joyous time for all of us on Ridgeway Road).
I think we get a little wrapped up in presentation. But, we do that for a reason, though. We want to dress ourselves in a broad, general way so that we can allow an idea of who we are to be seen. This is my culture, these are my favorite colors, this is who I am.
There is a reason we do this. We get to learn the basics about each other just by looking at each other’s clothes. We get to look quickly and see everything we need to know if this person is friend or foe.
But, we actually only get to make assumptions about other by the way someone is dressed. The nuances are lost, the details of our lives get lost.
I know when someone sees me they’re probably waiting for me to spit tobacco on the dirt before hoping into a pick up truck with a Confederate flag and a gun rack in the back window. Don’t be confused, I do it, too. Oh sure! Everytime I see a woman with purple hair I suddenly roll my eyes and wait for her to scream at me about guys that look like me are oppressive to women like her.
We can’t help it. We only get the chance to see people in swathing, rather than the incidental layers that make them unique and interesting. Maybe we just don’t have time to really see a stranger’s character. Maybe we’ve been programmed to only look at caricatures. Maybe it is our instinctual way of finding our tribes and finding safety.
We all want to hand an image of ourselves over to the world so that someone out there will see us in this huge sea of people and scream, “Hey! You’re one of us!” And you’ll probably get to meet new people, make friends, mesh and gel perfectly. Symbiosis!
There ain’t a thing wrong with that.
Here I am rambling on about bandanas, wanting to have people look at me at first glance and maybe take a second glance and think, “Interesting. He’s not at all what I thought he’d be like.”
Well, practice what you preach, right? The next time I see a purple haired woman coming at me with her aggressive talk of feminism and equality, oppression and resistance, I’m gonna tune her out for a second and look for something more personal about her. I’ll look for anything I can to see her as she really is as an individual, rather than a caricature I’ve been programmed to dismiss at first glance.
And I am so hoping that she’ll be looking at me doing the same. Sure, she’ll start the yelling with “Guys like you! (harumph!) Guys like you! (bah humbug),” while peeking with curiosity at my gorgeous, floral, 70’s inspired bandana.
She can’t resist how ODD it looks on me. Because she is programmed to berate me, to hate me, to destroy me, skin me, and wear my pelt like a badge of honor. (My tribe has been trained to do the same).
But, she can’t help but keep looking at my dandy of a handkerchief.
“Guys like you….,” she will hopefully say softly, and with something of an inquisitive smile. “Guys like you-”
“Guys like us wear stylish bandanas.” 😉
Now, I have a ton of bears in my shop that need homes. So, take a peek around and see if there’s one that you would love to hug for yourself, or gift to someone as an heirloom. And I really need to get them sold. Click here.
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