…Makes people uncomfortable.
My boyfriend was getting frustrated with his most recent haircut. He has super thick, dense hair that grows so fast his hairdressers envy him, but he wanted to reboot the whole look. Saturday morning, before we went to see the Mad Max movie, he asked me to buzz his head. He kept is big red beard, because he’s trying to go a full year without cutting it. I should also mention that his wardrobe is straight out of a cartoon. While he doesn’t wear the exact same black button-up shirt, he does have enough to last the week, so his clothes look the same every day. He’s also got a large tattoo on his forearm.
Last night, he needed to run to the store to pick up some drinks for work, and I waited in the truck. When he came out, he said people kept staring at him and some teenagers asked if he was in a gang. “Does my hair look that bad?” he asked. I didn’t know what to say. Then again, I hadn’t seen the news from this weekend.
Waco, Texas – Sunday afternoon at Twin Peaks restaurant, 9 people were killed and 165 were arrested after rival biker gangs got into a shootout with the police. News has just gone out that another gang is inbound with a KOS order for anyone in uniform.
So, in good ol’ Stephenville fashion, our Breaking News group on facebook has already posted alerts. Fan-f***ing-tastic. Waco is 90 miles away. Our cops had nothing to do with this shootout, so this incident will have nothing to do with whether a cop gets shot here.
But it is interesting to see the shoe on the other foot. In the way of profiling, I mean. I remember getting suspicious looks around the time of the Columbine shooting, because at the time I was expressing myself with a black trenchcoat, black makeup, black hair, and industrial band t-shirts. I even had boots with big metal spikes (Let’s be honest, I pulled my wardrobe straight out of Hot Topic). You can imagine how people felt about the little weird girl after the Trenchcoat Mafia went on their killing spree. Since then, I haven’t really faced that sort of profiling, and I’m thankful. It was barely a taste of what some folks have to deal with their entire life. I did get pulled over and asked to sit in a squad car while a cop issued me a warning for my plate light being out. He was very interested in whether I had a gun in my truck, so I think the plate light was just an excuse to stop me. There’s one other truck in town that looks like mine, and that guy drives like a maniac. Pretty sure the cop thought he was finally catching a pest, but turned out he was getting little old law-abiding me. My record is squeaky clean.
Appearance has been a big issue for me lately as I’m finding that I’ve judged people’s appearance out of self-defense. I’ve discriminated on the basis of “she’s too much of a Barbie doll” or “he’s just a meathead jock with a pretty face.” I didn’t want the beautiful people to hurt me, so I kept my distance. Lately, more and more, I’m finding myself giving everyone a chance to prove their personality. It’s not high school politics anymore. Hormones and social competition can make you do things you regret, and many of the people who seemed absolutely awful as teenagers have grown up into kind and wonderful adults.
It’s all part of the process. We’re still growing in the Garden of Misfits.