There is more to life...
Friday, 02 May 2008 19:00
Written by Shayne Stephens
Every issue for as long as I can remember I have tried to give you solid advice for looking good. I’ve talked about suits, bathing suits, T-shirts, jeans, underwear, dress shirts and shoes. I’ve warned you about stupid trends like wearing sunglasses in the bar (perpetrators should be shot on sight), explained moustache etiquette and offered ways to remove unwanted patches of hair. Essentially, I’ve taught you to be vain, to befriend the mirror,
if you will.
Tonight, my brethren, I want to make something clear: There is more to life than looking good. Sure, you may look better going about your daily routine sporting the latest True Religions, a pair of John Varvatos Converse and a white T-shirt, but the truth of the matter is that too many people use fashion not to accentuate who they are, but rather to differentiate themselves from the pack. They use clothing as a desperate attempt to fit in, to stand out. Sadly, we can get so caught up in how we want to be perceived that we actually lose ourselves in the process.
This came to light not long ago on a comfortably full Toronto subway car. As is the norm these days, most of the commuters were plugged in to their iPods, desperately avoiding eye contact with one another, but obviously checking everyone out when the opportunity presented itself. The majority that day were also surprisingly stylish. The suits fit well and colour schemes worked. In fact, I don’t remember there being a scuffed shoe in sight.
Nor was there a smile … or so I thought.
At the end of the car, a mentally-challenged teen sat playing a portable video game. His joy was palpable, his grin spanning from ear to ear. He kept laughing and looking over at his mother, who also was smiling, obviously getting a kick out of how much fun her son was deriving from the whole event. Approaching their stop, she carefully put his game in her bag, took his hand and the two of them walked slowly up the platform smiling and chatting, rounded the corner and disappeared.
To be honest, it never occurred to me to take note of what they were wearing. Why? Because in the grand scheme of things: it doesn’t matter. What does matter is whether you’re happy or not. And true happiness isn’t found in a name brand or hot new trend, as great as they are. Clothes merely drape a happy or unhappy you. They don’t make you. It’s a no-brainer, really.
Everyone on that train, including myself, had spent more than enough time putting an outfit together that would set us apart, that we would look good in, that would garner us the attention and approval of others. The only “different” person didn’t give a shit about the ample attention he received. And who was happier? Exactly.
That said, until next issue, when I tackle one of my favourite accessories: hats, I suggest making a donation in the amount (time or money) of an article of clothing you would have bought to the charitable organization of your choice. The wisest man I know once told me that happiness always eludes you when you chase it, but that in giving, it can be found. Oh, and let your guard down once in awhile. Sometimes it does you good.