I couldn’t remember where I heard that quote from so I googled it. Apparently, it’s from Mark Twain. “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” This is why I try to be careful in what I wear. There is always some impression that I want to make or leave or not leave, and one of the easiest ways to do it is by the way that I carry myself and my choice of clothes. This is not a testament to the large and wonderful wardrobe that I have, because I don’t have a large and wonderful wardrobe. Rather, it is about communicating something, a feeling without me having to verbalize it.
There have been times on the street when someone would ask if I was in the military because of the way I held myself and the close haircut. Other times when I used to have to wear a suit to work, we went casual about 5 years ago, people would ask if I was a lawyer. Although, I could never tell if that was an insult or not because most of the lawyers I’ve met are drunks or cocaine fiends. One time at the gym, a woman asked me once if I was a ballet dancer. Again, I’m sure if it was because of my muscular and graceful bearing while I was stretching, or if it was the Lycra spandex thing I was in. Suffice to say, that article of clothing went into the garbage can at the end of the day.
This Saturday, I have a funeral to go to. The youngest sister of a co-worker passed away a few days ago from complications from cancer. As a friend, I have to go. I don’t want to go, but it’s not all about me so I’ll be there. The only thing is though, I’m not sure what I should wear. Trivial, I know but sometimes it’s the smallest things that count. Should I wear a suit? The ones that I have I got when I was about 10 pounds lighter. In fact about 4 years ago when I father died I wore one and halfway through the ceremony, I realized I was the only who was wearing a decent suit. My half-brother had some dingy colored thing that looked like he had just pulled it out the Salvation Army box. I couldn’t say anything of course since he’s older and we hadn’t spoken in about 10 years. Don’t ask, we’re not close. Other people wore shorts and even one had on a Tee shirt with a tie painted on it. King Tut was dead, this was what he was called behind his back and this was how they honored him.
Well I felt like an idiot looking more like a funeral director than a member of the family and I don’t want to feel like an idiot this weekend. It’s supposed to be 92 degrees and last thing I need to do is sweat like a pig in a sports jacket or collapse from heat stroke in the middle of the service. Like I said, it’s not about me and I don’t do heat well.
Hopefully the temperature should drop by 8pm when they show The Wizard of Oz in the open air at Penn’s Landing. That might be another clothing issue that I am going to think about. I have never been to one of these things, but from what I understand the audience usually entirely white, dresses up as movie characters and people sing along and cheer at the right places like they used to do when The Rocky Horror Picture Show used to be the cult film that everyone went to. I asked Larry for ideas for what costume I could wear and he said I could just dress normally and go as one of the flying monkeys….I’m a fuck him up next time I see him.
Anyway, just as Wizard warns us not to pay attention to the man behind the curtain, I really hope that day that no one pays any attention to me as I do what I do best, sweat and worry over nothing and just let the clothes make the man.