I’ve always been one to mind my own business. I tend to keep my head down when I walk…perhaps occasionally staring at a beautiful woman, but never ever have I been one to go up to someone and start a conversation.
However, for some reason (I have my theories), I’m ALWAYS the person someone else comes up to and engages in a debate.
If I go alone to a movie, concert, sporting event or other function, I’m the one who people turn and look at. Even in shopping centers people turn at stare. My mom always asks me why they do that, and I always just say they must think I’m famous.
Sometimes its understandable, to a point, because I’m wearing a sports team’s shirt which is the universal ice breaker. Or perhaps its a unique tshirt that attracts someone’s attention. If that happens, I suck it up and without being rude, engage in a brief conversation with whomever makes the approach.
Today however, I had to deal with an incident that happens far too often in my life.
You see, for a lack of a better term, I tend to have a unique appearance. I always have. Even in high school there was always something that brought attention to me…such as my slicked back hair…which earned me a nickname from the geniuses in the year ahead of me of “Slick”.
Till this day, each and everyday I always have a different hairstyle. I used to have a different colour every few months too.
I always wear something unique. Whether it be a bandanna, a hat, a trenchcoat, my legendary pant, a see through shirt, a white suit, a fake snake skin shirt. Whatever suits my mood.
One of the things I hate about this country, and I truly do, is that there is very much a close mindedness about individuality.
You can really dress us and walk down the high street, or go to the mall, or just dress good for dressing good sake.
There is always someone who will judge you or make a comment, or compare you to someone trending.
Years ago when I had corn rows in my hair, I was constantly called Beckham. Cos you know, that one time he came to South Africa, he had it done.
I went through a phase where I wore eyeliner and a smart shirt and tie. I was called one of The Parlotones.
Now, because I have a loooong beard I am constantly called Amla. This, for my international readers, is a reference to a national cricket player named Hashim Amla, who happens to have a long beard too, because he is Muslim.
In the last 2 weeks, I think I have been called this at least 8 times.
Today was by 2 drunken Afrikaans guys in a shopping center. Who started insulting me further because I gave them an unimpressed stare. (To be fair, my p*ssed off look is legendary, and has been featured in many films).
It just saddens me that people always feel compelled to mock and ridicule someone just because they themselves are not an individual.
I do believe if I lived in New York or London, I wouldn’t stand out as much, which makes me want to be there even more, just so I can be left alone.
I’ve dealt with it all my life, because I’ve never thought twice about trying something different. Sometimes its a popular choice, other times not, but I’ve always felt I’ve that a good head on ones shoulders and a pair of balls will go a long way.
If this means putting up with drunken concert goers throwing beer on me because I won’t humour them, mean kids who try and impress their friend by insulting me when they walk past, parents who judge me, and colleagues who feel the need to insult me to appear witty, then so be it.
Live as The Burg. Die as The Burg.