I started wearing my belt upside down when I was still in high school. There’s not really a long saga to it – I just couldn’t believe the number of right-handed “only” belts that were out there. I myself am right handed, but felt this was some form of forced prejudice. The solution was easy: put my belt on upside down.
I was doing a lot of silly fashion choices at the time. I believe I’ve gone on about my love of wide-legged pants. I looked like I was wearing a denim dress. Honestly, if I had the patience now that I did then for wading through that much denim – the pants alone were twelve pounds a pair – I’d be wearing them all the time. I would try to be fashionable about it, though: ties, vests, tightly fitted oxfords, fancy hats, sport coats; I made skater-chic “cool.” In my own head, anyway.
I had this ideology at the time that was rather brilliant for a teenager. Conceptually, it was something to the effect of, “I may look like some teenage rebel, but you don’t know me; you don’t know the type of person under all of this,” and with that, I would continue to be the best person I could while dressing like a damn fool. I mean, I did bring back power clashing and all.
In my later years, I’ve found better ways of doing this with much less clothing. Don’t panic: I still leave the house fully clothed. Most of the time. I’ve begun to favor body art more – tattoos and such. Personalizes the skin I live in more than just dressing like a Mummer. The impression people have is surprisingly – for this day and age – the same as you would expect. Most likely think I’m some kind of violent anarchist or hellion. Then, I smile, we exchange pleasantries, and they can look me in the eye after that.
Part of me realizes this may be a real asshole thing to do. In essence, I am forcing people to confront their stereotypes and to challenge their preconceived notions of what someone of my aesthetic may be like. Or, maybe I’m just a nice guy that likes to wish everyone to have as great of a day as I usually feel like having. It really doesn’t matter to me: In my version of the world, everyone can smile.
That’s what this all boils down to. I have this notion that there is a time to cry, to be angry, melancholic, and anxious, but there are always gaps between these emotions. As we transition from one feeling to the next, there’s this blankness to someone’s face - such as the person in a grocery store parking lot. Maybe if someone could spare the three seconds to catch an eye, smile while exchanging pleasantries, what does that do?
Maybe the other person will hold the car door for their wife. Maybe they’ll leave a dollar instead of a quarter for Jerry’s kids. Maybe they’ll watch a comedy after dinner instead of something dark and depressing. Maybe they’ll give their pizza delivery guy five bucks on a twenty dollar delivery, instead of two. I mean, he is bringing your dinner to you, for pete’s sake; pay the kid properly for your laziness.
Maybe that’s the spark they needed to be a better person for the rest of their day. In a previous takeaway, I asked that you engage a stranger in a conversation. Today, try to get a couple of them to simply smile, and move along. Turn the world around - put your belt on upside-down – simply because you can.