Today I drove past a store that sells guns and gold. A gun can be a lot of things, one of which is the most useful thing in the world,given the wrong situation. Gold is about survival, especially now. If the economy collapses further, as many economists predict, gold may be a safe place to keep your money.
The pairing makes sense like chicken and waffles does. Two totally different products that are both used by much of the same demographic.
Across the street was a billboard. I followed the rusty post up to the fresh advertisement at the top. "Niemann Marcus at The Domain! Manolo Blahnik! Gucci!". Against the pink background were giant car sized images of expensive stiletto heels.
My gut reaction was shock and a tinge of disgust. Who BUYS this stuff?
Well, me for one. Not anymore, but I used to go to Niemann Marcus every week. I'd spend an hour or two going through all of the new arrivals, particularly Cavalli. I would buy nearly anything made by Cavalli, sometimes even if it didn't fit me.
I was so into it.
That changed when Life Nomadic came into the picture. Even if I didn't change my mindset, I knew it didn't make sense to buy clothes I'd be leaving behind. I slowly tapered off buying new clothes.
My mindset changed when It was time to sell everything. I brought beautiful expensive clothes to the thrift store. They gave me pennies on the dollar. Shirts I had spent twenty minutes deliberating on were given a glance and thrown into a pile after being tacked with a "$5" tag.
And that's when I had my epiphany. This stuff is worthless.
I have only one pair of pants now. They are grey brushed nylon and they zip off at the knees to make shorts. Because I wore them as shorts in the sun so much,the pant legs are a bit darker than the shorts part.
I have three shirts, one plain black, one plain blue, and one plain red. They're identical other than the color.
When I told a long time friend this today his immediate response was, "Wait... you've been wearing the same pants all these times I've seen you in the past few months?"
Yup. Know why? Because IT DOESN'T MATTER and no one really even notices. People are way too busy evaluating whether or not they look okay to actually judge how you look.
Pop quiz,what was your best friend wearing yesterday? Can you remember what anyone was wearing yesterday?
I'm not saying fashion doesn't matter at all. It does, and I'm glad the industry exists. My shirts fit me well, and that makes me happy. I like that my pants are relatively slim. I think it's great to have clothes that you enjoy that look good on you. Having a unique style that reflects your personality is an excellent thing.
And I'd be lying if I told you that my pulse doesn't quicken just a hair when I see a girl who is dressed perfectly.
What bothers me is the pervasive attitude of caring SO MUCH about one's image. And of course I've been a sucker for this worse than 99% of the people. I just had to have a Mercedes and designer clothes and a Rolex and all that garbage. I was focused on it.
I see people now who are so obviously OBSESSED with what they look like and I feel this deep pity. I know that I could try to explain all this to them, but they wouldn't care. I wouldn't have cared either.
What I've learned is that people don't care who you LOOK LIKE, they care who you ARE. If your clothes give a hint about who you REALLY are, that's great. If they're pushing you as someone you're not, you've got a major problem on your hands.
Focus on what matters. Image is an easy way to feel like you're improving yourself without actually having to do it.
I think if you combine Kelsey's viewpoint and Tynan's you get a good overall look at what people think and what really matters.
Like Tynan says, people really care who you ARE, not what you LOOK like.
However, as Kelsey said, people still make judgments about who you ARE based on how you ACT and what you LOOK like.
Women tend to notice the details of what you are wearing a lot more than men, from my experience. But, men still make judgments of women (and men) based on what they wear.
Once you actually know who people ARE, that is what most people really care about (at least thats what I care about).
For example, if I see someone wearing skate shoes I will sometimes assume that they like to skate or bike... because I do not actually know them, I can only judge them based on what I see.
If I see a girl wearing FCUK clothing (some french designer, I think) or some other 'designer' clothing I will subconsciously make judgments about them... they like to shop and buy expensive clothing...maybe they are overly materialistic...etc.
It is human nature to make judgments about people, some people judge others more harshly that one people do. Some people pass judgments and think that those judgments are 100% true, and they don't give people a chance.
I make judgments about people I see, but I always give them the chance to show me who they really are..and that is what matters in my mind.
I could go on and in more detail, but I think the majority of you understand what I am saying.
Asia was wearing a black tank top from Urban Outfitters yesterday with a pair of regular wash jeans, and Rainbow flip flops. Carole was wearing a black tank top, black work out pants and black Guess shoes. Taylor was wearing Jesus sandals, light wash jeans, a striped v-neck t-shirt with a cream cardigan over.................but I notice these things......I think that looks matter because it's the first thing that people notice about you...they can't tell your personality by looking at you...unlessssss you portray it through your clothing!
Girls who look like the ones you see on "The Hills" and other MTV shows kind of disgust me. I can't take that "high fashion", celebrity look because it's a good sign that their inner self is ugly (i.e. shallow and materialistic). It's a generalization, sure, but it's consistently right on the money. Of all the impressive women I've met, none of them dress that way. This is not mere chance, there's something to this...
OK Tynan, you motivated me to fill up 2 garbage bags full of clothes that will either be thrown out or donated.
@Angell - I have a speedo that I wear when my pants are washing. They don't need to be washed often - maybe once a week unless I've run in them or they've gotten dirty somehow.
@John - I don't think there's anything wrong with dressing well as long as it's not an obsession or priority. It's possible to have a simple, well fitting, stylish wardrobe. I'm not sure I've ever met a man whose time would be best spent shopping, in terms of net attractiveness to women.
I think the point about the guns / gold store is that their customers may be of a certain mindset - that of an apocalyptic future - where society may degenerate to a state where man must show strength through guns and where gold is the then only accepted currency. Anyway, insightful point and the commentary on the clothes is equally insightful.
Here's my personal problem on this though, I agree that a materialistic outlook on life is a sure recipe for unhappiness, and I further agree that a man's inner self is his DEFINING characteristic to the world, but darn it...I LOVE the look of women who clearly are shoppers and who are meticulous with their clothing, shoes, etc. It presses an important button in my reptilian brain...so from that perspective I feel that I need to be dressed up (not necessarily in designer clothes, shopping at Neimans would break me), so I can appeal to the target market that I'm so attracted to. I'm not much into the (somewhat) common Austin female look of wearing sensible shoes etc. Ah well, great post though.
I have done my own experiment with down-sizing and have had similar experiences.
My effort has not been anywhere near as extreme as yours, but I'm slowly gravitating in that direction.
I've actually noticed that a huge benefit of having less stuff is that choices become much easier. No more deliberating over what to wear, what product to put in your hair, etc.
So Tynan, what is next on your list to down-size? Or do you think you've gotten things pared down as much as you care to?
Ravi in rainy Seattle, WA -USA
At the young age of 27, you have had an epiphany that some people never get - that what really matters is who you are. I'll take substance over style every time. However, there are many people who are still attached to appearances - not only how they look (as in what we wear) but how they make things appear - like at work when the boss does everything to give the impression that he or she "appears" to be on top of things when in reality they have no clue what they are doing.
My recent war that I've been waging has been against stuff. For a while (and by that I mean since 7th grade), I've produced my own income and spent most of it on things from the internet. I've talked about this before so I won't bore you with the laundry lists of my posessions.
Then when I sold my house in North Austin, I was faced with the prospect of moving all that stuff. My most financially productive years were while I lived there, so I bought a ton of stuff. During that period of collection it never occurred to me that I would eventually move. My garage as well as one of the bedrooms in the house because warehouses for my things.
When I moved, I took a pretty extreme approach. I went through every item in the house and made a decision - either I needed it or not. If it was worth more than $50 or so I sold it. If it was worth less than that I put it in a bedroom. If it was worth less than $5-10 I donated it or threw it away. I posted my address on craigslist and let people go into the bedroom and take all that they wanted. Within a few hours the bulk of my stuff was taken away.
I finally bought some clothes. At the beginning of the year I declared "In 2013 I'm not buying books or clothing."
The catalyst for this purchase was a gift certificate that accompanied a race packet from this past weekend. The certificate was disguised in an envelope which said that there were one of four prizes inside, but you had to make a purchase to open it. I headed to Dave's Running in Perrysburg to see what I had won and get some running shorts.
These shorts are nice. I had been running in normal athletic shorts, nothing special about them but also nothing wrong with them. I didn't feel like they added time or increased the effort, but they were nothing anything like these.
This new pair is light and smooth. They make the old pair feel like I was running in a heavy cotton dress more suited for raising barns and churning butter than logging miles.
But I bought something.