(sub)cultural dissonance

I love walking to work wearing this:

work outfit

vintage coach purse, equipment blouse, vince trousers, aldo shoes

While listening to this:



Because everyone around me is probably assuming that I’m listening to Taylor Swift or maybe The National, at best. In reality, no one in the financial district is looking at anyone else in their vicinity – they are the centre of their own universe. The tunnel vision that forms between themselves and their office buildings makes everything else around just a blur of off-black polyester.

I’m only projecting my habits, i suppose, because I love looking at other people on their own way to work, in their bespoke suits or torn jeans, ear buds in, and wondering what they are about. It’s a little game where the hands are never revealed and everyone has their poker face on. Actually, it works both ways. That I may dress like an adult entertainer, high on lean, outside of my work hours probably makes many acquaintances overlook my fondness for Baroque harpsichord music, for example.

Those acquaintances that see me in the same cut-off denim shorts ( complete with a hole in the crotch) every time they see me don’t even know what my ‘grown-up’ job is. When I explain it to them, they are usually shocked to find out I don’t actually live under a bridge, making a living collecting empty beer cans. While for the most part people do dress to whatever subculture they associate themselves with, can’t we also be multi-faceted? Can’t I be able to hold down a full-time job while also stomping cans in the park on the weekend?

I suppose all of this is why I’m also partial to tattoos that only those closest to you are likely to see. They are little secrets you can’t be judged on but maybe should be; little kernels of insight into your character, usually not that deeply representative but often interpreted as such.

Then, maybe the fact that someone would deliberately get a hidden tattoo speaks volumes about them. What it says may even be diametrically opposed to the stated intention. “Hey, you think I’m stuffy in my perfectly-starched white collared shirt, but guess what? I’m impulsive and unpredictable – see look at my stick-n-poke tattoo!”  may actually read as “I want to be seen as impulsive and unpredictable but I’m actually capricious and insecure so I got it over here where no one will ever see it! I can’t show you in public.”

Ah, the impending identity crisis that comes with living your life in half-truths; Which version of you is more you than the remainder of your youness? Even Dr. Seuss’ infinite wisdom does not serve as comfort. “There is no one alive who is youer than you”. But am I the me-est I can be? And am i really living for that matter? (Okay, maybe the latter question is best dealt with another time – let’s not get carried away). The reality is we are multi-faceted and self-doubt doesn’t diminish any part of you. The part of you that wants to be impulsive and unpredictable is just as true as the part of you that is responsible, tidy, and strict. What you choose to show people is your prerogative.

Now excuse me while I get back to streaming the new Defeater  album on my work-appointed laptop.