I frequently get asked a question by new friends and old friends once they realize it.
“Why don’t you wear any jewelry or even a watch?”
I’ve got this idea in my head that jewelry, watches, hair, clothes and tattoos don’t add anything to “me” that I want added to me. Like shaving my head… hair adds a dimension I don’t need to deal with. Nothing positive comes out of having a head of hair. It pulls my attention toward something that doesn’t make a bit of difference in my life – strands of shiny protein growing like wild weeds on my head. Could I keep them tamed down enough to fit into American society? Sure I could. But, is there a point to that?
As I mentioned in a previous article, “Cheating on Your Spouse? Consider this…” one of the major cravings in life is sex. If you look good to others in society you’re going to have a hell of a time ignoring this subject while you’re married. It’s essential to ignore it while you’re married though. If you’re devastatingly good looking like a Brad Pitt – having looks, cash, and free time you’re doomed. Cutting off the hair on your head – as a man or woman is a great start. People will treat you differently – more objectively. Not based on your looks. The rest of my appearance sort of adheres to that same idea. There’s no need to impress anyone with what I’m wearing.
Shaving my head and not having jewelry is not a reaction to society. I’m not rebelling. Years ago I looked at the watch I had on my wrist and wondered why it was there. What is it doing for me? Aren’t I surrounded by clocks? There was a clock in my car, in my office, at various points all over the company I worked at. There was a clock in my phone and on my notebook and desktop computers. There was a clock on everyone else’s wrist. Why did I need one? Though my watch was a gift – I put it in a drawer and haven’t put it on since.
Wearing necklaces stopped as I entered the Air Force years ago – I’d lost many over the years and always replaced them. The last one I lost at 18 years old and never replaced it.
Bracelets – I’ve never worn a bracelet until recently here in Thailand. Let me explain… as part of going to the temple there are these Buddhist nuns that sit inside the temple and wait for foreigners to come in so they can put these braided brown bracelets on their wrist and get them to sign the guest book. Now – I don’t care personally about wearing one of these, but on the other hand – when someone wants to put it on me because it means something to them – I don’t want to be rude by refusing. Thais’ have this concept of ‘face’ that’s hard for westerners to understand but I’ve got a pretty good handle on it now. To refuse anything offered causes the other person to lose face.
So – I keep the bracelet on as long as it remains neither positive or negative consequence. It’s when it starts to smell that I take it off.
I don’t wear a ring – even when I am married. To me, the idea of putting a ring on as a symbol of marriage is simply ridiculous. The symbol of my marriage is what I do with my wife every day. How I treat her. How I show her that I love her. The ring is an external symbol to others that I can afford a gold ring and a diamond and gold ring for my wife. It’s also a comment on my relationship status which is not anyone’s business but mine. Some women pay more attention to guys with wedding rings. Why is that? I don’t need that kind of woman around me when I’m married. When I’m single – hell yes. But I’m not going to wear a wedding ring when I’m single either. When married – no point. I don’t get wedding rings. I don’t wear them.
I haven’t needed glasses so far – so that’s a non-issue. I’m not sure if I’d choose to wear glasses or contacts. The choice would be made entirely on what felt best and made the most sense… do contacts feel good? Is the experience better than glasses? If yes, I’d wear them. If I couldn’t get used to the routine of sticking them in my eyes every day and if I often lost them in my eye socket I’d wear glasses. Would I wear some cool style of glasses that cost me $300+. Nah. My glasses would be the most basic glasses that exist. If I could find frames for $15, I’d buy those.
My clothes are unremarkable. I’m lucky enough to live where I don’t need a lot of clothes. I’ve got 3 pair of shorts and about 9 shirts. My shoes are sports sandals – almost 3 years old. They don’t smell and they’re very comfortable. Nobody would call them fashionable by any stretch, but they are “Nike” brand. I do a lot physically and Nike sports sandals have served me very well for 8 years, I’ll buy another pair when these wear out. Not because they’re Nikes, but because they are built very well and so far have taken the torture of climbing up and down more than 692,000 steps at a local mountain temple over the past 10 months. That’s a tough shoe!
I’ve one pair of pants and some thin nylon sweatpants.
The nicest shirt I have cost $9 USD at the store, new. Most of my clothes are used as I can buy them for $2-3. You might think it’s easy to dress down living in Thailand and blogging for a living. It is. However, if I moved back to the USA – to Hawaii most likely, I wouldn’t change what I wore with the exception of probably needing to buy some pants to keep up with the company dress code. As much as I’d like to continue blogging as my only income maker – in Hawaii I’d need to get another job as well. In the states, I think it’d be easy to get by on $15 jeans or other cotton casual dress pants and a $10 shirt.
My choice of clothes is somewhat of a reaction to society and the crazy ideal that people in business try to adhere to. There was a time when I bought expensive pants, shirts and shoes. Why? I thought I had to fit in. I was in management at a resort firm in Hawaii. I was the marketing manager. I thought I had to dress with $100+ silk aloha shirts and Polo pants every day. I spent a hell of a lot on clothes. When I think back to that time – I ask myself – who was I impressing? Other people at my job? Those that I saw at our hotels and timeshares every day? What would have happened if I didn’t dress like that? Nothing. It was in my mind. Probably it’s in your mind too.
I don’t have tattoos or piercings. I don’t want anyone to look at me because I have a design on my arm that is similar to hundreds of others people have already seen. The nicest tattoo I’ve ever seen was on my friend Justin, a teacher from Canada (see pic). It was amazing, great color – really great picture. The thing is – I don’t believe our skin was made for pictures. As good as it was I’ll bet I could find 1000 pieces of artwork of the same scene that I like better than the image on his arm. I just don’t ‘get’ tattoos. I don’t understand. I don’t believe I’d have more self-esteem with a tattoo. Probably I’d feel less – like I was silly enough to get a picture on my arm like everyone else because I’m not confident enough in myself to go against what my friends are doing.
I think there are so few people in this world that are following their own ideas. We want to do what others in a subculture are doing because it makes us feel like we’re rebelling against mainstream society. It’s also to become accepted in the new subculture. We want to go against the grain – but just a little bit. Rarely does someone want to really rebel against society. If he did he might pierce part of a metal door through the skin of his scalp and carry around the door all day. You don’t see that too often. You don’t see someone tattoo polka dots the size of a quarter all over their body either. Or stars. Snowflakes. That’d be different. Why doesn’t anyone do that?
So, for me – I think that the less someone is looking at my clothes, my jewelry, and my tattoos – the better. I’m more interesting than that. I’m more approachable than someone looking like a magazine ad for Polo. Interact with ME, not what I’m wearing. Not what you see. Interact with what’s in my head -not on the outside of my head.
So, that’s why I don’t wear jewelry… and a lot more!
Best of Life!