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Jordan Heron - The Vanity Card Series

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As I type this, I'm sitting on the commuter train between Toronto and Burlington. I do this a couple of times each week. It's 7 minutes after 5 PM, and the train is full of office workers. Some are dressed in suits; many of the men have ties. Others, like me, are in what we like to call "business casual". This is just an excuse not to wear a suit. The women are mostly in sharp blouses and pants or skirts.

And one freak.

I'm pretty sure it's a guy. It took a few sideways glances to be sure. (After all, I don't want to actually be caught looking at someone, least of all a freak...) But I'm pretty sure now. From what I can see, he has heavy eye make-up and black lipstick. What I know I can see are the equally heavy costume jewellery rings and large mis-matched earrings, the red patched pants, black shirt and matching choker, the yellow and black plaid jacket, and the rainbow-checked runners. It all goes with the slightly dark-dyed tousled hair. To top things off, he's sketching in a plain paper book, which means he's an "artist". (Oddly, from my point of view, he's not wearing nail polish.) As an understatement, the look sets the gentleman apart from the others here on the train.

I wonder why he looks the way he does. At home, does he fit in? Does his partner, or his housemates, or his peers, do they all look like this? Or a variation on this? Why does he choose to dress this way, when he must know he stands out? Does his image have meaning? Does it stand for something? And, looking at him, am I expected to guess what that might be? Or is this what he is, he's not on display, and am I expected to mind my own damn business?

To be fair, I used to be the freak. Ok, I never had this guy's fashion sense. But I liked medieval-ish clothes, and my hair was long. It still is long, by most corporate standards. I was never a goth (I'm too old for that fad) but most of my clothes are black, even now. I have a bunch of jewellery that I'll never wear at work, and don't wear at home either. Once, I played the part of the societal outcast. So, I should know where this guy's coming from.

But I don't.

How did that happen? Did I lose something? Did I lose a sense of the unconventional? Did I lose the ability to understand the reasons why you could be different from the rest of the world? Or did I realize that there never really was a reason? It was just because we could. Because I could...

There's no reason. It's just because I can...

I'm thinking of getting a haircut.

16 June 2010

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