Social armour

When I’m watching people, I like to remind myself once in a while of what
they might look like underneath.

How noble, imagining people naked, you say.

It’s not quite like that.

Every so often I’ll catch sight of un-tattooed, un-augmented, un-tanned,
un-clothed skin, maybe a few strands of hair on an arm, or a bare ankle,
poking out beneath the fashion uniform of the day. It reminds me that there
is a actually a whole live person under all that make-up and apparel, under
all the piercings and ambiguous Chinese symbols and Palestinian-style
neck-scarves and Castro caps and Capri pants. I’m usually too perplexed
and confused by the barrage of fashion paraphernalia to see any of the
person underneath, so when I do get a glimpse it’s refreshing.

Someone told me that it seems to matter a great deal to me how I am
perceived by others. I think there’s some truth in that, certainly. But
when I see what appears to be the general populace ‘expressing themselves’
visually, traipsing around the perpetual catwalk that is the city streets,
I can clearly see that a lot of thought has been invested into creating
just the right image, and the subsequent manufactured and arguably false
perception of what they want other people to think of them. It seems a lot
of people care about what other people think of them, else they wouldn’t
work so hard to look elicit such specific reactions.

I think it would be fascinating to take away those uniforms, remove the
‘social armor’ so to speak, and then see how people would live and
interact.
Would one still be ‘emo’ if one removed the dark clothing and cut ones
hair, or remain a neo-hippy if Gap stopped carrying flowery dresses?
Would one still walk around Modern Art galleries looking at collections of
cat litter and dead dogs if you didn’t have a woolen fedora? Or does one go
around modern art galleries looking at collections of cat litter because
that’s what woolen fedora-wearing people are supposed to enjoy?

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