Recently, I got a cool top hat that I like to wear whenever I go out. Church, grocery stores, the library; anywhere that could be a social occasion.
Now, I’ve become acquainted with a new feeling of people pointing, staring, laughing or even just giving a second glance. There are two responses I have to this self-conscious feeling. First, I wear the hat because it makes me feel happy. It’s cool and it looks good on me. It should be as natural a part of me as a plaid flannel shirt. Or a beard. Therefore, people should accept me with my hat as naturally as they would if it were a ballcap. The other idea that comes to mind is that clothes are to be looked at. Anything that you wear is a “fashion statement,” for lack of a better phrase. If you throw on whatever soiled clothing is on the top layer of your floor, you are making a unintentional statement just as surely as that one girl is making a statement with her wildly pink hair.
My top hat is a fashion that people are not accustomed to, so I should expect the looks and comments I receive. Therefore, my response is often a silly grin that acknowledges that I’m a little different and the occasional chat about how I look like Abraham Lincoln, an Amish, or the Riddler.
There’s another response that wells up inside me, based on the desire to be accepted and taken seriously. Irritation. Can’t these people just see how cool my hat is and not have to point, stare, laugh, or make comments? Just treat me like a normal person. Because, if you got past the hat, you’d realize that I’m just as normal as you are. Okay, that doesn’t say much, but maybe it gets the point across.
How do people with tattoos feel when I take a second glance? I mean, it’s a purposeful and permanent fashion statement and in my circles, the common comment is “He looks like that to purposely draw attention. If people gawk at his oddities, he has no one to blame but himself.” Some people seem to be perfectly at peace with their pins and pictographs; but the only ones I know of for sure also regret their tattoos, and are resigned to them. Also, I don’t know many people with tattoos.
The application that might be taken from this is that if you are looking for hope and acceptance and identity in external appearances, you will be disappointed. Look to Jesus for lasting hope.
I was also going to relate this to what I know of the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre (not much), but will allow you to do the research on that.
— March 14, 2016