Friday, June 9, 2006

Being Self Conscious

I spilled some coffee on my shirt yesterday morning and my whole day was ruined. I kept looking down messing with the stain. I was in the restroom for about an hour trying to get the stain out of my shirt. Now, I have a big white spot from where I scrubbed too hard in the same spot. My entire day is ruined because my shirt has a stain issue. That leads me to the topic of this blog. I have never been comfortable in public when I think I don't look right. There have been times when I have went back home in the morning just to change a shirt that made my belly look too big. They must look good in the mirror before I walk out of the door. I iron every night and I still believe in creased pants. I shave my head every other day and I give myself facials. I want to grow one of those big rough, nappy beards like a reggae singer but I just can't deal with seeing myself in the mirror not groomed so I always end up shaving or at least trimming up the face. I don't want to say that I am vain. Some of my friends and a few of my ex's might say so. I would say that I care about how I present myself when I am outside the crib. When you are out in public you are representing you, your parents, your kids and everyone else. I can't speak for everyone else, but my mama took the rollers out of her hair just to walk down the block and I don't want anyone to see me looking all trifling and associate that with her. It's a respect thing.

Now, I ride around the city during the evening and there are times when I drive up on some young brothers and sisters and they all look like they just don't care. The guys have their pants hanging down by their knees. Their afros are not picked or shaped and they all smell just like blunt smoke. It always fascinates me that they don't seem to be bothered by that. I am even more fascinated by the fact that these same cats have girlfriends and get other girl's numbers too. This might be a generational thing but when I was coming up, you had to look decent. I can't even imagine stepping to a sister without a fresh fade and an even lining. You couldn’t even get her name if your sneakers weren’t clean. Words don't even describe some of the things I see the sisters wearing. Let's just say that every style wasn't meant for every body type no matter what size it comes in. Maybe people are just expressing themselves. Maybe I don't understand the latest styles and trends. Maybe, when it comes to fashion and how to dress I am stuck in 1992 when a brother could still wear slacks and not be square. Shouldn’t there be times when we all want to look good? What makes a brother show up to his sister’s wedding wearing or his grandmother’s funeral wearing a Fat Albert Fubu denim outfit? And don’t say that he can’t afford it because ghetto fashions cost more money than a pair of slacks from J.C Penny. You can’t get a job on an interview with a mini skirt and a tattoo on your neck, anywhere but the neck. Even on the plantation the folks got clean on a Sunday and danced a little bit. Even if you have an far out style that expresses who you are it should be neat right?

The question is........

Am I being too self-conscious or are some of my people not self-conscious enough?


Anonymous said...

I am with you on that one. Somewhere between 1992 and now the standard was lowered. Girls now do not demand that a man look his best by not looking their best themselves. Another reason maybe because parents are no longer policing their children. I couldn't leave the house unless I was dressed decently because as you said, at the time I represented everyone who lived in my house. Parents today sometimes just want the kids out of the house and out of their hair so they don't bother to monitor what Shenique and Lil Ray Ray are wearing.
As for me, I still love a brother who takes pride in his appearance. And I am like your mother. I don't even step outside to get the mail with rollers in my hair!

Another Conflict Theorist said...

Peace Cliff,

There's a cat, a brother, who lives directly across the street from me who regularly does things like check the mail, water the lawn, retrieve his morning paper, or just stand there drinking coffee - in his goddamned underwear. This is a G.A.M! (Grown Ass Man!) I can't understand it. Like you, I was taught that your appearance reflects how you feel about yourself, your folks, your community and your people. This, 'have a care' shit is for the birds, fam.

BTW, Happy Birthday. It's tomorrow, right?