Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Week 10, belated, and two anecdotes about signaling

1.  I shocked someone last week by telling her my age.  I am assuming, from her reaction, that she thought I was much younger.  (How much, I didn't ask.)  I suppose that this is a sort of compliment, or at least I am supposed to take it as one, otherwise she would have hidden her shock.  And there is some truth to that.  Looking older means I have to acknowledge that I am older, which means that I have less time left, which is an unpleasant truth.  And I am not completely immune to the idea that younger=hotter.

But mostly what I got from that conversation was, this is what I'm talking about.  I haven't been signaling grown-up.  My clothes, my attitude, my behavior, everything about me said, responsibilities?  What?  I eat a lot of ramen, don't own any furniture, and stay up late most nights drinking.  And, to be honest, I own almost no furniture, nothing I couldn't abandon easily if I needed to, I eat food in cardboard boxes, and I still use my bedroom floor as a hamper.  Clean clothes are piled there, and dirty clothes are piled there.  But I don't want to look like I do.

I don't know if I've made enough of a change, really.  I still need to buy shoe stretchers so I can fit my mary janes, and my next set won't arrive until the middle of August at the earliest.  I still haven't given up the graphic tees.  And I'm not sure if I know how to do anything about the non-conscious signals I send, the posture, speech, all of the other markers we use to classify and categorize each other.

2. Planning an outfit in case I see HSB again today.  (I haven't spent the day moving shelving, so hopefully I'll be up for salsa.)  And aside from my usual criteria, like, a skirt that will twirl nicely, I am also specifically looking for something that will signal 'hipster'.  So I go through my list of skirts, and discard most of them for a lack of irony.  Eventually I decide to make a flouncy green polka dot skirt with the leftovers from the A line green polka dot skirt, because polka dots are kitchy and therefore hipster.  And I'm wearing my Iowa City, Conveniently Located shirt.  Because signaling is the thing I can do to separate me from the crowd.  I can't be the hottest or the best dancer, but I can be the girl wearing polka dots at a club, who doesn't fit in and doesn't care.

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