psy·chot·ic leop·ard sīˈkädik/ˈlepərd/ noun · anything that is funky, interesting, beautiful, niche, useful, and grabs one's attention

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Football Jerseys and Funkadelica: Fashion As A Bridge Between Strangers

Posted by Lisa Johnson on

I am dating the male equivalent of the soccer mom. He has two boys, who each play on four different sports teams, and he coaches so much that I can't keep track. For work, he runs a football gaming site he himself created, and is passionate about the sport. I had never been to a game in my life, not even homecoming in high school or college. 

He is the last type of person I ever thought I would be dating, and on top of the sports fanaticism, he is a former frat boy.  But somehow, we got together and it feels like the best match ever made.

To our first date at the Rye Bar & Grill (his choice), Chris wore an oxford button-up plaid shirt tucked into a pair of khakis, and looked down from CVS reading glasses at me. The judgmental part of me immediately dismissed him as a future mate; he seemed proper, professorial, and so utterly not my type.

But after sitting down to lunch and two and a half hours of wildly enthusiastic conversation later, all I could think was that I had met the male version of myself, in quite different clothing. For days before that first meeting, his writing had enchanted and amused me, and that personality came out in the restaurant.  

Two days later, we met again in a pub and he had dressed down, thankfully, sporting a faded sweatshirt from some college and a pair of gym shorts, even though it was chilly April. His sneakers were untied and I felt way more relaxed. Three hours and an electric first kiss later, I didn't care what he looked like or wore.

Chris confessed that the reason he had gone full prepster on our first date was because he thought that that was the type of guy I would be looking for, since my address was from one of the wealthier Connecticut towns.  Obviously a mistake, since his outfit choice had pretty much backfired. He said that he was shocked that a girl from Greenwich would sport criss-cross thigh high leather lace up boots and a skull shirt, since he had expected someone from the country club circuit. He hadn't thought I was his type either.

Once Chris let his guard down, he was able to relax into quite a different style identity.  In the months that followed, he allowed his gorgeous gray hair to grow longer, began donning tribal style leather bracelets (I think he now wears nine or so on each wrist) and collecting tag sale t-shirts.  He has changed into a mountain man / hipster type, in his khaki shorts worn year round, faded sweatshirts, and hiking boots, untied, of course.

Sure, Chris does have the preppie golfer in him, especially around his frat boy college buddies, but his real passion is football. I never paid attention to jocks in the past, but honestly find him most appealing in outfits which he wants to wear (unless they are ill fitting. :-), including Miami Dolphins football jerseys.  Why shouldn't he advertise his love of the team and the game? And why would it be any different or less respectable than my wearing floral Doc Martens combat boots or bird skull necklaces? Both of us can express our true natures, sending our unique stylistic energy out into the world.

One of the best things about fashion for me is that it creates a bridge between strangers. Every time I wear my button embellished jeans, hand sewn on by a friend's 13 year-old daughter, I get compliments, which lead to an opportunity to share how I acquired them, which branches into a conversation about my "swaptacular," a bartering party I started a few years ago.  I keep thinking how I should become a Jamberry representative as well, because my nails have never gotten so much positive attention, and I think I could make a killing on sales.  

In daily life, it is often difficult to find a conversation starter, but fashion presents one, for people willing to put themselves out there.  The other week, when we went out for bagels Chris, in his usual aqua and orange Miami Dolphins jersey, was approached by at least two people within ten minutes, who immediately started talking football with him.  It was awesome!

He and I have such different styles, and yet each of us, wearing what we love, is able to attract others with similar interests.  And look what I found to sport for the NFL season - some Jamberry Miami Dolphins football nail decals!  We can always tweak a bit of our style personalities!



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