My Mom gave me that cautionary nugget way back when my accoutrement pretty much amounted to a Ponytail Barbie and her travel case. When a year later I was given her pink Corvette, well, I walked around with my head held up high, strutting all 3 1/2 feet of me. While this revealed my preference for heavy eye liner and a French stripe bandeau maillot, I was still able to maintain an air of mystery throughout the 2nd grade.
Today is a different story, sadly the Art of the Reveal is gone. We have so many ways to tell people about ourselves with accessories that we no longer have to even open our mouths. Let’s start with the basics.
Printed Tee Shirt:
1. Where I went on vacation/drinking/sports or music event
2. What I like to do/eat/listen to/watch on TV
3. My sexual preferences/innuendos “I Just Did It”
4. How stupid I am or all of you are
So now that you’ve introduced myself, let’s add some layers.
Ring Tone: Forgive me, but there are just some places where I don’t want to hear “Let’s Get It On”. The gynecologist’s waiting room comes to mind.
Smartphone Cases: In spite of all the technological breakthroughs that took us from a brick to a credit card-sized device, people seem to want to take a step backward and add a bedazzled case, or a purse with a strap or belt clip, a leather Harley Davidson pouch or a beer-themed case with a built-in bottle opener.
Pets: Animals provide a billboard for a whole other dimension to one’s personality. The type and breed are really secondary to its accessories. And their owners have a built-in “out”, they can disassociate themselves from the choices. “What?? They’re called doggles, he really loves wearing them.”
I could go on, but you get the point. With all this outward display, one has to wonder if these are reflections of an actual personality or just a private label version of a Kardashian.
I think it is time to pare down the visual and audible cues, to spend time developing and evolving from the inside out. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t wear short shorts while walking a Pomeranian, it just means that is all you’re giving up without a proper introduction. And at that point, as my Mom also advised me, “use your words”.
I think I just did.