Editor’s Note: Dressing up to fit societies standards

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I know that I will probably piss a lot of angry old dudes off with this announcement but I wanted to jump aboard this train as early as possible: ties are stupid and so is telling people what to put on their bodies.

Full disclosure; the last time I wore a tie was at my beloved uncle’s funeral and the moment I entered the building the funeral director took me to a side room and fixed my tie.

Embarrassing, yes.

Whatever — the truth is out — I can’t tie a tie. Not even to save my life, probably.

I remember when I was 12, I dated this girl who was in the Air Cadets and she taught me how to tie a tie using the pink checkered shoelace that I had kept around my wrist as a bracelet. I took pride in that, for some reason.

But even then there was something so interesting about the dynamic of that relationship and more so, something I began to notice about myself that was a little… different.

While most of my peers were already on the path to traditional social-adherence, I was deep in my parents’ closet searching for weird shit to wear.

I had dyed my ever traditional colour and then opted to go for a Cruella De Vil look.

I remember this one girl once told me that everyone made fun of me because I wore my pants so high and tight, which — I am not going to lie — probably had a lot to do with the Ramones.

I can even remember the first time I had the chance to wear a tie; it was at that faux-graduation ceremony eighth-graders have before they are cast into the uncertain world of secondary-school.

I walked in to see all 12 of my peers looking relatively stunning.

To say the least, their parents probably insisted they dress nice. And now I know why I’m still the type of person to wear jeans to a wedding.

When I prepared for that night I sought out the most disgusting looking Hawaiian shirt I could find, a pair of off-white slacks and a bolo tie depicting a horse that my late grandfather had passed down. Obviously the outfit wouldn’t be complete without white, low top Chuck Taylors — still a staple to this day.

And my parents just kind of shrugged.

I don’t know what was different about their parenting style, but they encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. My mom bought me the clothes I was too embarrassed to buy; my dad, in his relative silence, provided the exact kind of encouragement you would expect from a dude whose son started wearing nail polish.

As a tall, white male with my own set of obvious privileges, I always felt comfortable enough to express myself via any means necessary. Art, music, fashion, or just being a general loudmouth.

I realize now that it was my sense of privilege and entitlement that allowed me to deviate from any traditional path with full confidence, but I hope that doesn’t negate any of the power in the sentiment I am trying to express.

If you saw me wearing some wild shit, you might think a variety of different things.

You might make fun of me, or laugh at me, or you might see me and think, “damn I wish I had the guts to pull off a Canadian tuxedo.”

And my advice to anyone thinking the latter would be the most positively cliché bullshit you could possibly imagine: do you.

Life is too short to adhere to all of societies expectations, especially in an age where traditions are constantly being deconstructed.

I understand the value in practicing tradition, but culture is a fluid and constantly evolving concept.

I am personally looking hopefully towards a future where women aren’t expected to wear dresses and make-up, where men don’t have to wear ties and hold back tears and where gender is recognized for what it is: a social construct.

One Comment

  1. 1) gender isn’t a social construct – but like how you managed to sneak this irrelevant quip into the piece. 2) Not sure what your problem with traditional dress is. Should the football team wear chucks and skinny jeans to their next home game?

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