“J, what about this shirt?” I asked as I rummaged through his drawer to pack his bag for a sleepover.
“No, thank you. Not for their house. I’m not that guy, there. I’m more of a preppy smart guy to them.”
My prince has already learned the mechanics of society and the power of image. He’s perfected it at 10 years old. At that moment, I didn’t know whether to be proud or concerned. My first reaction was to be shocked, then proud, naturally. But as this idea marinated in my mind, it developed into a deep concern.
We all experiment with role play. We’re all actors. We all wake up and make a decision to be a certain person for the day. We’re conditioned to do it. We dress the part for the role we expect to play for the day.
You know you do it. You stand in your closet or lie in your bed and think, “I’m going to knock that presentation out the park today”; “I’m going to make a good impression on his or her parents today”; “I’m going to get this job today”; “I’m going to out-sell everyone on every team today”; “I’m going to turn some heads in the club tonight”; “I’m going to fit in as much as I can today so I do not draw any attention to myself.”
You think image doesn’t matter? You can prove yourself wrong, and probably have many times. Just walk into a store wearing sweatpants — not Juicy Couture cute ones — and notice the treatment you don’t receive from sales associates. Go back a few days later wearing your stylista flair. Tell me the treatment isn’t substantially different.
We are what we wear. This could get ugly.
I don’t mind him being image-conscious already. But I hope he doesn’t obsess about it. I hope he walks confident in just his skin. His beautiful honey brown skin.