I’ve spent the last few self-defining years of my life telling myself that I need to indulge in my quirky side. The self-conscious, bandwagoning days of high school and college are over. It’s time to let loose and be unapologetically me, even if I’m weird, gross, and at times moderately unattractive, and this unadulterated confidence will in turn make me irresistible to all around me. Guys like girls that burp, right? The fanny pack is endearing. Speak every controversial thought on your mind, he’ll love it!
But as I rode my shiny new bike home from Whole Foods, I made two realizations. One: The breezy, 5 minute downhill ride to the store means a laborious, grocery-laden uphill trek home. I gave up and walked it part of the way, sorryboutit. Two: It’s entirely possible that my awkward, dorky appearance isn’t at all charming and in fact makes me unappealing to those around me, men in particular.
Suddenly I wasn’t so confident. I definitely could have overestimated the appeal of looking like a total idiot. The key, I then decided, is that there has to be a reason for the idiocy, a genuine justification for trotting on the unbeaten path. You have to wear the fanny pack because it’s truly more convenient, not because you have a hipster’s desire to be different. You can’t be loud and outspoken for attention, but if you have something to say, say it! And most importantly, wear your bike helmet because it looks really, really cool. I mean…for safety!
Because while it would be nice to think that by my age, people have stopped doing things just to be cool and different, it isn’t true. Everyone is still looking over their shoulder, caring what the rest of the grocery store thinks about the outfit that they probably put at least a tiny bit of thought into before they left their house. We can’t help it. We’re destined to compare ourselves to our peer group, even in our twenties. I wish I could say I don’t care, but I do. But I think that’s ok.
I’m still going to wear my fanny pack.