When I was fourteen, I was leafing through a magazine at the library and I saw an ad for hair dye. The girl in the ad had purple hair, and I thought it looked rad. I went home, got my mom's permission, bought the dye, and colored my hair purple. Naturally, I did it all wrong and it came out dark pink, which quickly faded to red, with further faded to light brown, and it took a couple haircuts before I could do anything beyond slick my hair back in a ponytail due to hair damage. I am never dying my hair ever again. I don't care if I go gray at twenty, hair dye is probably the root of all evil. Of course, I embrace Kool Aid dye and bleached ends with open arms. Just not during tournament season.
Yeah, good story.
Today I went to Boston with my family. After hitting up the aquarium and blissfully perusing the Quincy Market food court (I just had to casually through that out there - never have I seen so much good food in one place in my life, except maybe on the Food Network - so good! I had dhaba chicken from the Indian place and chicken teriyaki from the Japanese place, and some clam chowder samples, and hazelnut gelato. Twas wonderful!), I head for Urban Outfitters, much to my father's chagrin. We have only one Urban Outfitters in Rhode Island, otherwise I might be broke from repeatedly raiding that store. While there today the thought crossed my mind that, "I'd like a pair of those funky tights - oh wait, I could never pull those off." I was all wrong, of course. What I meant was I'd be laughed out of youth group for trying to dress like Lindsay. She has dibs on being the scene kid.
I think I have issues with not fitting into a stereotype. I am most comfortable when I am labeled. (You cannot begin to understand the relief I felt when I was dubbed "INFP.") I fell in love with FEE when I walked through their doors and discovered "libertarian" was the technical term for the motley political views I'd picked up as a tween. Ever since I was six years old I've loved telling people I'm "homeschooled." I am a "Rhode Islander" to the core. Labels dominate me . . . except in my style. As in, what social subculture are you? Nerd prep goth scene hipster jock vintage metalhead geek retro punk emo. The jury's come in, I'm not any of those. Shocker.
As silly as social subcultures are, truthfully I kind of want to be a hipster. Cos I like it. But the truth is, I don't really like wearing glasses like meekakitty does. They look awesome on her, but fake glasses would drive me even more insane than my real ones do. Sometimes I like wearing dresses and looking neat. Sometimes I like not caring what I'm wearing. Chelsea and I discussed a phenomenon we experienced: when I got yellow Chucks, I got accepted into a social sub-culture, and it was very strange. Are my yellow Chucks hipster? Do yellow Chucks say something about who I am? They say I like the color yellow. And that I like Converse tennis shoes. I was annoyed that wearing Chucks meant I got labeled. I was a poser for wearing something belonging to a subculture and yet not being part of that subculture. This was wrong, this was very wrong. Either I had to stop pretending to be part of subculture X, or I had to wholly devote myself to subculture X so as not to be a poser with my yellow Chucks. That's just silly.
Can't I just like what I like?
And other people, they like country music and bedazzled Razr phones and skinny jeans. I don't like those things, but they do, and that's chill. And yet we label. You wear Converses, you're cool. You listen to The Shins, you're cool. You use Macintosh operating systems, you're cool. Or maybe we just like it when people like what we like. Is that so bad? "Subculture" is solidarity. There are no posers where people unite over common interests, whether that be thick black eyeliner or Harry Potter books. When I was in Urban Outfitters part of me was like, "I don't belong here, I wear tee shirts and jeans, not plaid blouses and berets." And the other part of me was like, "Quit labeling yourself, fool. You like what you like, forget subculture consistency."
Dying my hair purple doesn't make me hardcore. Shopping at Urban Outfitters doesn't make me a poser. I just like what I like. Yup.