From the start, there are two things present in this post that were not present in my previous post about haircut anxieties. First, this post wasn’t influenced by anyone else’s post about a similar subject, I didn’t need any for this one. Second and most important, there is a definitely link here to my book “He Was Weird.”
In the story in “He Was Weird,” Mark has a problem with clothes, which triggers bullying against him and gives him loads of anxiety issues over it. At the age of eleven, Mark starts a growth spurt and outgrows his clothes fairly rapidly. This causes a big problem in the trouser department for him. His trousers were often too short and resulted him being constantly teased for wearing “flood pants.” It gets to the point where every morning was filled with total anxiety as to whether or not Mark’s trousers are long enough. Of course, bullies being bullies, they would change the rules and say he was wearing flood pants even when he was originally confident there were okay. The bullies thought it was really amusing when he would get upset arguing that he wasn’t wearing flood pants so they would use it to wind him up the more. Although, I don’t say it in the book, someone in the town would have put it down as one of Mark’s reasons for shooting up the school.
This part of the story is one where I can certainly say that it happened to me. Like Mark, my growth spurt came at the same ages. Plus, my grandmother had a flair for sewing hems in my trousers and too slow (in my mind) about letting them out. Therefore, I suffered the same teasing and anxieties that Mark did. Another part that was definitely the same was mother’s reaction to it. Both Mark’s and mine mothers would say things like “Don’t let it get to you” or “Well, I’m at least ready when it comes.” What neither of us could say was that if we did say the latter, we feared a backlash of violence. Such is always the case with bullying.
Six of the final nine months I was in the marines, I was stationed on Okinawa. What was great about that place was that you could get good clothes cheap. I bought a really nice suit when I was there. On the other hand, there was a shoe shop which sold Native American style moccasin boots. When I saw these on display, I had to have them so I did. I didn’t care what else anyone thought, besides, like with my hair, I had spent four years dressing like everyone else to the finite details so I earned the right to stand out a little. Unfortunately, like with the hair, 80s Regan America wasn’t tolerant of such crimes against fashion. Therefore, in the eyes of many, I was weird simply on the grounds that I wore the above boots.
The strange thing was that the boots still didn’t land me in as much crap as did the hair. True story, I actually cut my hair after two years and one day at college, I walked past a group of girls, still wearing the boots and I heard one of them comment: “At least he cut his hair.”
I know for the fact that I am not the only person in the world who has suffered bullying and great anxieties over clothes. Some of the service users at one of the homes I work at suffer these anxieties. Take first instance Ernie, (that’s not his real name). He worries so much about getting arrested for torn trousers that he has to buy loads and loads of them. He has also stated that this anxiety came as a result of bullies. So my final thought is directed to those fashion fascists who only recognise people who wear certain clothes or worse, certain brand names. Not everyone has to dress like you and there may be real reasons for the way the do dress, so back off! Your comments can cause real distress if directed at the wrong person.
Next post: Asperger’s and the Need to Fit In
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424109385&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird