Contact Me Here
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « Band Aid | Main | Driving Holly & Mickey »

    Who Are You Wearing?

            A few weeks ago, I was at a club in Boston called Oliver’s, which is part of The Cask And Flagon, in Kenmore Square. I was there to catch a friend’s band. When I walked into the place at about 9 PM, the doorman took one look at me and said “Are you with the band?”. Well technically, no, I wasn’t. I knew the guys in the band, but I wasn’t in the band, or a part of it’s mechanics, like manager, sound man, groupie, or band plumber. But I instinctively said “Yes”, and he stamped my hand and pointed me towards the stage.
            It suddenly occurred to me how much information we convey non-verbally to people without realizing it. My overall package of jeans, T-shirt, long leather jacket, fingerless gloves, earrings, and black wool hat must have screamed “musician:rocker” to the guy at the door before I ever opened my mouth.
            I sat at the bar at The Cask And Flagon because I had some time to kill before the band went on. While there, I started to pay particularly close attention to what people were wearing, and what it might say about them. I was looking for clues about people in how they dressed and in how they carried themselves. I sort of played personality detective, using nothing more that dress and non-verbal cues to deduce certain things. I didn’t take it seriously. I treated it like a game.
            After a while of doing this, I reasoned that certain sides of people become more or less emphasized based on what they wear. For example, would you act a little differently in a club if you were dressed in a suit as opposed to a T-shirt and jeans? Probably. You would probably carry yourself differently as well.
            Then I took it a step further and asked why that would be. Maybe it isn’t that way for some people. And I guess that’s the point. Can the essence of who you are be expressed and shine through, no matter what you wear? If, for example, I were wearing something I didn’t like, somebody would probably be able to see that. I would most likely carry myself differently than I would if I thought I looked kick ass. Some of me would therefore probably get lost in the translation.
            I don’t think this has anything to do with how shallow or deep somebody is. It may, however, have something to do with vanity. I consider myself a very deep person, and anybody who knows me well would say the same thing. That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not concerned with shallow things like appearance. I make no bones about it: I want to look good. I want to be in great shape, and possess what most would consider a beautiful body. I want people to think I’m handsome, attractive, sexy, etc. So I put time and effort into taking care of myself.
            My standards for myself are much higher than they are for anybody else. Just because I want to look a certain way doesn’t mean I care about what people I love look like, because I don’t. I want them to be happy with themselves, whatever that means to them. I certainly don’t love anybody more or less depending on how they look.
            I am, however, more attracted to a woman who takes care of herself. Who works out and has, what I consider, a nice body. And a face can definitely launch a thousand of my ships. All in her direction.
            It would be a colossal mistake, however, to assume that I’m therefore shallow; that that’s all there is to me. It’s wrong to assume that there’s nothing else beneath the surface of me (or anybody else for that matter) just because I care a lot about what I look like. In some frank and honest discussions with friends, I’ve been told that some people who don’t know me assume that because of how dedicated I am to fitness, and the importance I place on how I look, that I must be a shallow, egotistical, rock-jock who doesn’t have a lot on the ball intellectually, and that I’m probably about as deep as a puddle.
            What’s fascinating to me is that I rarely make such sweeping assumptions about people based on how they look. So sometimes I have a hard time understanding why anybody else would. Like with the whole sparkly shirt thing, I ask “What’s the big deal?”. If a person is concerned with their appearance, that doesn’t necessarily say anything about what the rest of them is about. It’s just one piece of the very big, fantastic, intriguing puzzle of who they are. Maybe it’s a bigger piece for some people than for others, but you wouldn’t discover that until you got to know the person, would you?
            I do realize, however, where vanity can trip me up and cause me lots of problems. And I will readily admit that sometimes, I let it. If I don’t think I look good, it can screw with my head, my self image, and even my self worth. That’s not good. That’s me paying way too much attention to my ego. That’s me inhabiting the space of my lower self. My critical, judgmental, beat-the-crap-out-of-me self that I still struggle with.
            I believe that it’s possible for me to take care of myself the best I can, to look as good as I can, but not succumb to the pitfalls of vanity and ego. I can do it sometimes. I don’t believe it’s an all or nothing type of deal. I don’t buy that just because you’re so evolved and enlightened that you can look past appearance, it automatically means that you yourself don’t want to look killer. I want both. I want Enlightenment. AND a rockin’ bod.
            It comes down to the value I place on my own appearance. It comes down to self love. I can want to look a certain way. I can work at it and feel good about it. But I can love myself whether I look that way or not. I don’t have to hinge any sense of self worth based on what kind of shape I’m in.
            I don’t know how to do that yet. That doesn’t mean I’m shallow. It means I’m human. It means I’m flawed. It means I’ve got work to do.
            So I’m aware of this inner conflict. I’m conscious of the struggle, and I work on it. I work on myself; Body, Mind, Heart, Spirit, and the integration of those into a more whole self. I want to love myself the way I am, but always be growing. I want to be peaceful and content with myself, but always aspire to becoming more enlightened, more spiritual. Closer to my true self and closer to my higher power. I want to stay grounded, which is a lot harder for me than soaring. I can fly just fine. It’s keeping myself on the ground that I have have a hard time with.

    Taken from the daily quote at :

    "he who sees all beings in the self and the self in all beings, henceforth has no more distress."
    — Isha Upanishad

    - Clint

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and the appearance of Wrongs) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (2)

    Clint, good to see you the other day, and thanks so much for your words about class.

    I do find our 'uniforms' interesting, Even in the Yoga world where a sacred, and ancient
    word 'Prana' which is sanskrit for our precious lifeforce has been co-opted and trademarked
    by a clothing manufacturer.

    Lots of people get all dolled up for yoga practice when we're in theory focusing on purifying our inner selves.
    guess it all comes down to balance right? present your best self. wash, brush your teeth, but don't get too
    caught up in what others think. A great quote by someone... What you think of me is none of my business.

    take care guy,


    March 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjohn calabria

    John, thanx for your comment, and your class was a fantastic learning experience. I struggle with a sense of balance in my life, as I tend to drift to the extremes. I find that any type of spiritual practice, even ones as diverse as yoga or al-anon, help me very much with that sense of balance. Thanx again for sharing your gifts of wisdom, insight, peace, and compassion.


    March 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>