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Advice for Holding onto Different Values When it’s Tough?

 
gardener
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I feel like part of living this lifestyle is breaking down current values and returning to or creating new ones. One example of this is turning lawns into food (valuing life, biodiversity, food, etc more than trends and aesthetics). Another might be going out of your way to produce something for yourself “the hard way” so you don’t have to buy it and contribute to an unethical production process.

I have faced near relentless criticism for living this way. I’ve received praise too, which is nice, but another subject. A lot of the criticism I’ve received has been about dressing (I dress comfortably and second hand) and other personal aesthetics. It’s hard. I don’t shave as often or neatly because of time and energy, I don’t care if clothes match, etc. Oftentimes I brush it off and continue about my business, but lately it’s been hard not to dwell on.

What are your strategies for coping with this? Do you turn to other permies and like minded folks when things get hard?
 
pollinator
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I have been extremely focused on getting things done on my new property, and wasn't much for dressing up even before that... I don't get much flack for wearing literal rags(I am still using tshirts with 6 inch holes, plural) and shaving a few times a year, given the company I keep. I wear this stuff into town on errand runs, covered in mud or grease... never hear a word about it.

The last time it came up, I laughed at the person, and told them I had better things to care about. I think I may have gently implied their life was meaningless and devoid of purpose if they were worried about something so trivial.

I am reminded of the saying 'Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind'. If someone I really cared about was giving me a hard time about it, I would take the time to explain my thoughts on the matter before telling them to stuff it. Otherwise, people are free to mind their own business.

 
pollinator
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I think we all tend to judge based on first impressions. When we stand out by looking or acting different, and those who love us are critical because of it, it is probably because they worry about how the world will perceive us/treat us, so maybe it is a form of love.  And yes, some of it is how they will be viewed if their brother/son/cousin looks and acts different, but if we think of it as coming mostly from a place of love, it is easier to give love back in response rather than being defensive.

People are tribal. We like people who think like we do, act like we do, share the same values. It’s hard to accept the “other”, hard to overcome the very human instinct to expect others to conform. I think that is where the criticism comes from.  
 
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The criticism given is their shortcoming, not yours.  I recently posted about this in another thread.  We have the decision to make it ours, or not.  We cannot control what others perceive no more than we can control the next thunderbolt, but we do have the power not to allow it to dig its claws into us once we realize this is not me.
 
master pollinator
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I think it depends on the setting. I have only known one person who seems to dress like a pirate. It was my daughters drama teacher. She was over the top in many ways, and we were accustomed to it. If I got on a jumbo jet and the pilot showed up in a pirate suit, this might give me pause.

I've had many situations where people showed up for work, in clothing that didn't make sense for safety reasons.
 
gardener & bricolagier
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James Landreth wrote:

What are your strategies for coping with this? Do you turn to other permies and like minded folks when things get hard?


The only other permies I have to turn to are here, on the net. And y'all don't see the looks I get, the snarky comments, the lectures about how I just need a good man, so I can act like a lady. Oh, and that I must be a lesbian because I look grubby, excuse me? What does what I do all day have to do with who I prefer in my bed? Men, or cats, thanks. WTF??   The best is there's one type of older Amish or Mennonite guy, they will NOT look at me in the hardware store etc. I'm invisible. I asked someone why, she told me "you are a woman doing a man's job, that makes you an abomination."  Cool! I have never been an abomination before!! :D
Basically I cope by laughing about it, because there's not really much else I can do.  I am who I am, I am doing what I am doing, I dress for the work I'm doing that day, half the town probably thinks I own no clothes that are not greasy. Oh well. I hope one of these days they will see what I have done and think it's neat. In the meantime, I do my own thing, and laugh about it.  

I told two of my exes that I was now an abomination, both assured me I always have been, I just didn't notice :D
I laugh at it. Keeps me sane.

 
gardener
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I sometimes find it hard to not take stuff like that personally, because I find that what I do is an expression of where I am right now (e.g. my current beliefs, my current geo-socioeconomic state, my current mental/physical health) and the strategies I'm using to move from where I am right now to where I want to be. I kinda find those little criticisms to be like little bitty attacks on this bigger wholeness of me.

In particular, sometimes I find this especially hard to hear from relatives or family members.

I could react in anger and tell everyone to "FUCK OFF!" but that doesn't make me feel good about myself. Nor do I feel good about just letting those criticisms just sink into me and eat away at me, as I think more and more about them.

I would like to maintain my relationships with friends, relatives, family, and acquaintances. I think having relationships with others is important, and I desire some level of bonding.

So, what I'm starting to get to a bit of a politeness thing. When I receive feedback, I try to keep to just saying "thank you" to let them know that they've been acknowledged and listen without saying anything until they've finished their talk. I think that doing this makes them feel better, because they're being heard. I don't have to act on anything they say, and so, I don't.

I think most people mean well and have good intentions, but they may not know the nicest or most polite ways of expressing their views and ways to help you. I think that conflict arises from differences in knowledge sets, so, I try to think about how they were raised, what was happening in their lives, and what all happened to make them who they are as a person.

Just what could have happened throughout their lives to make them believe that "such-and-such" would make my life better according to their belief of "what a good life is"?

Overall, I find this kind of feedback to be more of a reflection of these people's life experiences and not about me. I think it's just another way for me to learn about who these people are, what they value, and how they believe the world works (or they would like it work). It becomes a way for me to understand them, instead of just another "insult."
 
gardener
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We kinda live in the middle of a haven for misfits. There are people like us, all over the place, so we just come across as more of the same, in some ways. But, we've only been here full time, since February. Before that, we lived in the Chicago suburbs, where there was a mix of white collar workers and blue collar workers, but the mere concept of 'homesteading' was as foreign as a 6 headed dragon. Folks couldn't wrap their heads around why on earth anyone could possibly WANT to make their own soap, especially when there were so many great artisan ones available, at the local whole foods. They REALLY didn't get what buying our clothes from Goodwill had to do with bucking the big commercial clothing manufacturers, much less why anyone would want to do that. I was thrilled to find $4, 100% cotton men's jeans at resale shops, because of their durability, comfort, eventual compostability, and work-readiness, while they often bragged about the $500purse they just bought on 'clearance' for $475. Their priorities and mine didn't mesh. Don't get me wrong - I ride a Harley that hubs bought for me, and when I drop it - and yes - sometimes a biker drops their bike - I get only the repairs done that must be done, to keep it running. I'd like it to stay perfect, but the appeal isn't about the sparkle - it's the ride. I also like nice things, and we go on an annual cruise. But, my car is a 2004, my day to day wear must be comfortable and practical for working hard in rough, dirty, chores that I do because that's what I love. People often see me as a lot of contradictions. But, it's just me - living MY life.

When people make comments, I usually just remind them that their life is theirs, and they're welcome to it, but it's not for me - I don't want their life, anymore than they want mine. The one person who has made the most comments, is my mom. She'd get mad at me, tell me she thought she'd raised me differently, tell me that she didn't understand. I'd tell her she raised me to be a strong, independent, thinking woman, and she did well, and that it's ok - she doesn't have to understand. She just has to let me be, and trust me with my own life.
 
Dale Hodgins
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My choice to live at job sites in various vehicles has been the source of amusement for many. I find it amusing when I find out that someone who makes half as much money as I do, thinks that they are somehow accomplishing something, and fitting in, by paying to live in a building they don't own.

I realize that we have different priorities. I want to get the job done and not waste any of my time commuting. When the job's over I want to collect the money and put all of it toward things that I find important.
......
For a long time , many people would have listed me as someone with a bizarre lifestyle.
After a while they get used to it, and I'm already used to it.

Now I've given them something much more titillating to chatter about. I've married a woman who is younger than my children, and we are looking to buy land in the Philippines to start a plantation. Many within my family are shaking their heads. Why is Dale doing exactly what he wants to do? He's been doing this all his life, when will it stop?

Canada is well known for its socialized medicine, good education system and being a generally well-run place, when you compare it to the majority of countries. Some of my fellow Canadians seem to be taking it as a personal insult, that I have decided to leave them to it, and pursue a life on the other side of the globe. They bring up little tidbits they have heard in the news. Typhoons, landslides, Muslims (I don't think they mean the lady at the market where I buy mangoes and other fruit) the shooting of drug addicts, poisonous snakes and spiders, kidnappings, a ferry that went down 20 years ago, and other scary things... Then, sometimes they ask if the roads are paved, whether there is electricity and if the country is at war with anyone, and I realize that they haven't got even a slight clue, and all is well with the world.
 
gardener
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I bake,  sew and play with babies,  can I get an abomination badge too?

Paul's quip about overalls speaks peferctly  to this issue.


Just to show how messed up the world is,  my WIFE  gets grief from church family and her in-laws for "letting"
me dress in ragged clothes.
My church sister has even given me a really nice dashiki shirt to wear to services.
I wore it once, but it needs hand washing,  and ain't nobody got time for that.
Besides I don't really spend time in services, I go to church to volunteer and fellowship.

After work,  I change out of my uniform.
I do this,  because I have been called out for getting stains on my work clothes while working in the yard...

This summers  play clothes usually consist of a safety yellow mesh vest and ragged cargo shorts.
The vests are as close to naked that this fat old man feels socially acceptable, plus it has pockets.
The cargo shorts sometimes have holes in some rude places,  but nowhere anyone should be looking, and I wear a decent pair of boxers underneath.


I railed against the strictures of convention until my older sister explained suits, ties,  etc as disguises we could use to infiltrate the straight world.
I got the idea and then I ran with it, either subverting rules with polka-dot  ties/stripped shirts , or becoming more buttoned-down-than thou.
It was fun,  but playing those games is a distraction.
Now a days I have a suit jacket for the same reason I have a face shield- it's the right PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for some jobs.

 
Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
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William.  I have always pictured you as leaner than you have described.
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In many ways, being confronted with an "unkempt" person challenges the values of everybody else just the same. Its a two way street.  They comment because they are either self absorbed idiots looking to criticize anything they dont like (some are), or more likely just curious about your own values and how you are comfortable being yourself when it doesn't exactly mesh with "normies" .

I had a similar experience getting my MBA.  Going in, I wasnt looking to groom myself into some position at a company. From day one, the goal was self employment. This put me in the 1% of our class with very few peers.  Everyone else was looking for that "good job" and learning the ropes of ass kissing corporate. Collars, dresses, khakis, everyone else dressed the part of middle management.  I wore jeans and a tshirt. The more vocal students gave me grief, all the teachers warned me I wouldn't get an job, I literally got a 25% on a mock interview for my appearance in a nicely pressed suit- because I dared to have a 4" beard. Didn't care then about a bunch of squares talking square talk, dont care now.  I run a few companies and have 8 employees, everything worked out fine.

The point is, you have goals in life that most of these talkers aren't helping you achieve.  If your goal doesn't include fitting into their life and their ideal of normal, it's a waste of effort to dwell on it.  Maybe you can offer them some insight into why being a permie is cool though, if you are the talking type. It's always a good thing to try and educate others if they are open to it.
 
Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
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I have fun with it.  In a bank line up, I stood behind a skinny young fellow whose pants were far too big,  and falling down. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, in a loud whisper, "Hey, yer pants are falling down."

He's cultivating a look, and wants to be noticed. Smiles all around.
.....
On Friday, I met a man who was wearing shorts and long Argyle socks. He wants the world to see his socks, which are tattoos. He wears shorts, on chilly days when others have switched to warm pants. He can't wear socks on a  cold day without appearing conformist. That's commitment.

I often see scantily dressed Korean ESL  students,  waiting for the bus, in the cold. Warm clothes would ruin the look, apparently.  My daughters have figured out how to look attractive and smart. They also stay warm, which is the idea behind jackets and longjohns. Conformist sheep😂
 
pollinator
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I find it useful sometimes to be confronted with the value systems of others. It often confirms me in opinions I had held, unformed in my mind, but was too polite to incorporate fully.

Their opinions usually say more about them than me, I find. If someone has an issue with my torn-up camo cargo shorts that I like to wear doing less-than-pristine home and garden tasks, I can wear their dress slacks, no problem. I'm not going to wear mine, they cost money.

I have an issue where women, one in particular, take issue with my love of cargo pockets, at least in shorts (I don't own a single pair of cargo pants any longer; I wonder how that happened?), and in the same breath, will legitimately complain about the lack of functional pockets on women's jeans, and their lack on most dresses and skirts.

I think there are stickier sticking points to this issue than merely holding on to your frugality in the face of blatant consumerism. I feel for my friends who are still struggling with balance on the spirituality/secularism spectrum, for instance, or for people of specific political convictions, whatever they may be, in this time leading into the Canadian elections, and the other one happening in over a year from now.

Sometimes it's clear-cut, like the frugality issue. Sometimes it's a much thornier issue, such as could only be properly discussed in the Cider Press. In all cases, though, I find that it's an opportunity for self reassessment. Instead of feeling threatened by an opposing view, examine your own in light of that view. Why does the new view seem threatening? Are there any benefits to the new perspective? Are there any insights to be gained?

I think that challenges should be treated as such, as opportunities to review, and to change if necessary, depending on what, specifically, if being discussed.

-CK
 
Dale Hodgins
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In Kenya, a woman insisted that I tuck my shirt in, in order to not look like a bum.

In the Philippines, a woman insisted that I un-tuck my shirt, "because it's hot and you look like a crazy person."  I had tucked it in, to avoid conflict.

The Kenyan could not accept my practice of wearing damp clothing in the heat.

The Filipina sometimes dampened her long shirt before a motorcycle trip, and is now sold on the concept.  She also accepts my many other actions and opinions that put me clearly outside of the norm. We got married.

Like George Carlin, I have some pretty interesting opinions on who otta be killed.  George was joking, sometimes.  I don't need to dress up, to set myself apart. My mouth does that for me.
 
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James Landreth wrote:A lot of the criticism I’ve received has been about dressing (I dress comfortably and second hand) and other personal aesthetics. It’s hard. I don’t shave as often or neatly because of time and energy, I don’t care if clothes match, etc. Oftentimes I brush it off and continue about my business, but lately it’s been hard not to dwell on. What are your strategies for coping with this? Do you turn to other permies and like minded folks when things get hard?



Yes, can appreciate your concerns.

I’m employed in a typically conservative field that includes 50/50 office/site work. Regardless, I dress in a manner that suits those broad environments and climates: dressy steel cap boots that look like Timberland’s, beige cotton cargo pants, untucked microfiber shirt, and a black polar fleece zip front vest. The shirts are only in three colours: blue, green and grey. Sometimes I change the pants to navy blue, usually not.

The majority of office staff, even those with the same role as me, normally wear 100% office attire, so I look out of place by a country mile.

I even attend senior meetings with politicians and other officials in the same attire, sometime with a four day growth, but always clean. NEVER wear a tie.

As a consequence, when office newbies or members of the public meet me, they often have a quizzical look on their faces but, after discussions they realise I know my shit and from then on I could literally wear a dress and make-up and they wouldn’t care less!

Sure, over the years  I’ve been questioned about the dress style and fight the kneejerk urge to tell them to f-off, though have learnt to keep composed and ever-so-condescendingly advise people that:

1. Summer and Winter: it’s comfortable
2. Reduces decision-making: same style of clothes and colours most days
3. Acceptable in all work environments: particularly when meeting labourers, tradesmen, etc – surprising how ‘blue collar solidarity’ gets things done!
4. Requirements: Meets Work Health Safety
5. Cheap: tough cargo pants, polar fleece vest and socks from discount stores; very cheap bulk order tailor made shirts obtained from a relatives overseas holiday to Thailand; employer provides the boots each year. So money saved goes to more important interests like my veggie and fruit garden, home improvements, etc. (The money saved is SUBSTANTIAL)

(The clothes choice is so comfortable, street sensible and acceptable, I wear it out on the weekends too!)

It’s interesting psychology: in office meetings, the ‘suit & tie’ people tend to listen to the gruff underdressed person because there’s a belief they know the grassroots stuff - something they don’t because climbing the corporate ladder was more important to them than doing the hard yards in the field. Also, at site meetings, the underdressed person is accepted as one of the ‘workers’ and can usually get a LOT of ‘favours’ done whereas the ‘suit & tie’ people tend to get the run-around.

Many people feel threatened when others don’t conform to their perception of normal – herd mentality - this can be expressed benevolently or malevolently. Unfortunately, human history tends to favour the latter. However, if you know your stuff and can explain it eloquently without appearing self-conscious or getting fussed, then most (adult) people will accept you regardless of attire. The ones that aren’t accepting tend to be little more than sheep, like to pigeonhole people according to appearance, and generally have unresolved personal issues.

We're all individuals!

We're All Individuals!




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Don't Judge Me By My Appearance!
 
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Oddly I'm the appearance matters type. Though I wear very nice fitting clothes they aren't of the latest fashion. I do tend to buy solid wardrobe pieces and wear them until they are unwearable. Still, I always look quite nice. It takes no extra effort. In fact I am very low maintenance. When I do makeup it takes me no more than a few minutes to do. I don't fix my hair I simply brush it after showering and in the mornings. That's it. What I put on in the morning is what I wear all day, no matter what I get up to. That's meant tying up my skirts as I wade into the mucky pig pen but I'm ok with that. I get a lot of compliments. I guess for me, it's easy so why not.
 
pollinator
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I think turning to other permies and like minded folk is important. That does provide reassurance.
My wife was raised that you keep the yard mowed at 1" tall whether it need to be mowed or not. "If the neighbors are mowing, you'd better get out there and mow to lest they think poorly of you."
But we live down a gravel road way out in the country and I mow the yard, so there was some tension and stress this year when the yard went to hay.  I'm sure there were passive-aggressive comments by her parents, and offers to loan us their mower, etc. But I did it on purpose, with a plan, by design which was explained ahead of time. Now that the fruits of letting the outer yard go to hay, scything it, and hay mulching the gardens has been seen my wife has actually been telling others about it in a positive light! Not only did the gardens not get overrun with crabgrass in July, the lawn looks healthier, I'm getting good exercise, and I did the math last week and realized that I saved over $300 in fuel costs alone by not mowing with the riding mower this year. I have not started the string trimmer this year either.

It's been my experience over the years when challenged on my values that the challenge usually stems from insecurities in the other person. They see me doing something that causes them discomfort. They don't understand it, or more specifically they do not know why they do what they do. Rather than get defensive, I like to go passively offensive in asking why in a way that is asking for clarification and understanding rather than putting up a wall. Why do you feel I need to dress that way? Yes, but why? What purpose does that serve when I do this work? Yes, but I already own this, and I would have to go spend money on that. Money that I would have to earn doing something else. Now I'm working a job that requires I dress a certain way, to earn money to dress that way. Hmmm... I don't want to do that, I want to live this way.

Challenge what they believe in a way that causes them to think critically so they now have to confront their own insecurities. Best case scenario you make a convert, worst case they get mad and leave you alone.

I think one of the main strategies for this is "Know thyself". Be resolute in what you do. If someone can question you and cause you to begin questioning yourself they have gained a level of control/influence over you. You must not only know what you believe, but why you believe it to a point that it is a core value. Priorities change, values do not. If they do, it takes a great effort to bring about the change.
 
garden master
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So I just recently moved, from Nashville, to a rural farming community, outside of a tiny town. Citing clothes and appearance, I have according to how my parents raised me, “ruined” most of my clothes from building a house last year. Most of my shirts, shorts and jeans are torn, holey, and have spots and stains on them. I am finally getting over appearances and living out here helps because the people don’t think twice or look at me funny when I go into the bank or the diner for example, looking like I use my hands to make a living, which I do and most others out here do as well. I have found that the people here aren’t clothing themselves with worry of what others think about their appearance, and at lunchtime most of the people in the diner are dressed like me and dirty, having been outside or in a garage working all morning. When I go back to Nashville, I can get looks and I just about don’t give a shit anymore. My difficulty is I have never cared for nor wanted attention, preferring to live my life going unnoticed. My observation is the country folks here are more humble, friendlier, and don’t care how I look or what I drive, compared to my experiences having lived in and around Nashville for more than 40 years. It’s so refreshing and nice that no one out here seems to care about keeping up with the “Joneses”, or at least it appears that way.

 
William Bronson
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Dale Hodgins wrote:William.  I have always pictured you as leaner than you have described.



Dale,  you got a good point,  that picture is pretty much me in a nutshell!
Check it out,  twins!
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Terry? William? Im so confused!
 
master steward
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James Freyr wrote: My difficulty is I have never cared for nor wanted attention, preferring to live my life going unnoticed.



This is one of my main reasons why I try to maintain a more "normal" appearance. I don't want to be noticed just for what I'm wearing. I want to be nondescript as a baseline--that way I can come out of the shadows when I feel up to it. I generally wear dark jeans or khakis and a basic plaid button up shirt.

I try not to be seen in holes or dirty clothes, not just because I don't want to be noticed, but also because I have kids. Every so often one hears the horror stories of parents loosing their kids to CPS because someone decided they were poor and unable to care for their kids. Most kids around here are in preschool at young ages--they don't get holes in their pants. I don't see kids in dirty or torn clothing. The kids either don't have opportunities to ruin their clothes, or their parents buy new clothes all the time. So, going around with patched pants or holes might signify to someone that I "can't take care of my kids." And, if I dress in torn clothing, it sends the same sort of message--they I don't have enough money to provide. We do have enough money, and we do provide for our kids, but I also don't want to spend insane amounts of money--and the world's resources--buying new clothes all the time. So my kids have their play clothes, and the clothes they wear to the store and school, etc.

I never try to dress fashionably. Most of that clothing looks uncomfortable, and I'd never get the fashion right anyway. I just aim for looking clean, nondescript, and non-holey.
 
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James

First, please make sure you're definitely understanding not only what people say, the words, but to your very best, where it's coming from. Always check before getting bent or deciding, much less acting. How do I know this is good advice? Oh, please don't ask. Many ways. <g>

IAC. Who is bugging you? Why is it getting to you? Would it be different if it were a really pretty girl? (For example.) Or your little brother and his friends that you know is an idiot anyway? So, say it's some of the town people. I guess that means the town people are important to you, since what they say bothers you. But your personal dress habits are _more_ important to you, I gather. Understandable. Soooo. What's happening here? How many people are on your case? Makes a difference. One or two walking PITA's, mostly we can deal with that, no problem. But it sounds like maybe there's a bunch involved here. Do you think it's a plot, or are they voicing there individual peeves? Are they all women? All men? They all say the same things? Actually, what _do_ they say? I've occasionally pointed out somebody had their fly open, or mentioned a lady's scarf was trailing on the ground, but mostly I don't intrude and really nobody else I know does either. But it's a big city here and people don't feel any ownership of other's dress habits.

Do you think you're making any actual problem in the space you're in when this happens?  Scaring customers away? Causing any disturbance? Leaving muddy footprints? What sets them off, exactly? Has it changed over recent time?

Anyway. Just pointing out thinking points. Nichole doesn't say in as many words, but what she describes looks to me like taking into account your social environment as something that needs dealing with just as much as the biological environment. That makes sense. Although you mention you really prefer living/working alone, there's definitely other aspects to your situation and I'm not sure any of us could ever live w/out recourse to some civilization on regular occasion. So town really is part of your environment. And it has wildlife (two legged).

Cheers,
Rufus


 
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I travelled back to the UK a few years ago to deal with the probate stuff for my uncle, who I'd spent years nursing round the clock, on no pay.  I was close to broke, and stayed with an old friend, who invited me out with her to her monthly lunch-club with friends.  I was dressed in clean, comfortable clothes, but as I was living out of a small backpack and didn't possess any going-out-to-dinner-with-english-ladies clothes, they weren't really a good match for what the other women were wearing.

One of the women waited til no-one else was within earshot, leaned over to me and quietly said in a very snarky tone 'I see you haven't dressed up for the occasion.'

I happily responded, not very quietly, that these were the only clothes I had as I was currently living out of a backpack having spent three years virtually penniless nursing a bedridden relative in a country where I wasn't entitled to any sort of financial benefits as he'd been thrown out of three care-homes and no other relatives would take him in and that I was only in the UK to put his affairs in order.  Then looked her straight in the eye and added 'Perhaps my priorities in life are a little different from yours?'

By this time the other women were fully back in earshot, and quietly grinning to themselves.

I always was a bit of a shit-stirrer...
 
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My wife and I love dressing up when we go out, and really play it up for all it is worth.

Part of it is that we are farmers, and being a mess just comes with farming, so when we do go to town, we often are the best dressed people in the store or restaurant. We have had so much fun, like one time a waiter was making fun of farmers, assuming by the way we were dressed, we were anything but. He was choking down some pretty good crow when we informed him we were sheep farmers. And another time Katie wore her Little Red Dress and high heels into a feed store to get some sheep grain; the guys inside were not expecting that either. I guess people expect farmers to wear overalls and have a shock of wheat stuck between their teeth.

Myself, I know a person feels how they are dressed, and so for us, when we are forced to go to town and get a part for the tractor or something and have to be dirty and smelly, it is nice when we can to dress up and have a little class, and feel classy. I know when Katie got pregnant, she knew it would be awhile before she could get dressed up, so she put on a nice outfit, seamed stockings and went to a nice restauraunt, just because she felt sassy that night.

But even though we are dressed up even going out for groceries, we endure a lot of criticism. I am not sure if they suddenly feel guilty about dressing down, or assume we more highly then we should be, but for us we dress up for us, because we can, and like too. The other women are the worst, often making snide comments about Katie being in a dress and heels, but why exactly that is, we are not sure. But for sure, dressing up generates snide comments too.

This is Katie, and what she was wearing on the evening she got some bags of sheep grain. The guys getting the grain were pretty shocked she was a sheep farmer.



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A dog will always act like a dog.  A cat will act like a cat.  A human will act like a human.  We judge, we make assumptions, we all have prejudices and since we are tribal, we put people in groups.  Don't expect people to act like you 'think they should'.

When I taught school decades ago I occasionally wore a suit just to watch the kids and other teachers reactions.  People treat you different if you dress different.  I think I act a little differently also.  Each person is multifaceted.  Which facet shines depends on many things.  One oik s how you dress.

My wife and I figured out years ago that when dealing with officials, women are generally more willing to accommodate a man than another woman.  Men are generally more willing to accommodate a woman than another guy.  Once we figured that out we got along better when dealing with buerocracies.

I consciously take advantage occasionally of the social advantages of having white hair.

My daughter is homesteading near a russian old believer village in Alaska.  She noticed that the homesteading women often looked real rough, but the russian gals were always neat when they went into town.  After watching interactions between both groups with store clerks, and how others responded to them, my daughter told me she made a conscious decision to mind her appearance when she went into town.

You are free to dress as you wish.  Others are free to respond to you as they wish.  The only part you have any control of is how you dress and, to some degree, how you carry yourself.

I am not very attentive to my appearance, but I understand people to some degree.  If I go to church I conform to social expectations (maybe only the lower end, but within acceptable parameters).  Same when I go to work.   My clothes are generally from a thrift shop, but look pretty good.  I just started a new job with a different job title.  Dress standards are a little more upscale, so I dress a little better.  I am still me,  I'm just wearing my camos, blending in.

If you feel a need to tilt at windmills, go ahead.  The windmills won't care.  You don't need to conform completely.
Looking a little eccentric can work well, but think about what your saying in your appearance .  Blue collar has it's own rules and demands it's own form of respect.  

Looking like your homeless generally doesn't work to your advantage.  If your appearance says 'I don't respect myself', others will tend to not respect you either.  We used to have a dog in the neighborhood that I called 'the rock dog'.  Every time you looked at him he would shy away like he expected you to throw a rock at him.  I like animals, but I found myself wanting to throw a rock at him because of his behavior.  Make sure you are not being a rock dog!  There are always about 20 % of the people who are ready to throw rocks.
 
elle sagenev
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Mick Fisch wrote:My wife and I figured out years ago that when dealing with officials, women are generally more willing to accommodate a man than another woman.  Men are generally more willing to accommodate a woman than another guy.  Once we figured that out we got along better when dealing with buerocracies.



I've absolutely dressed spectacularly just to put someone back in their place. When I had a problem with the principal and needed to talk to the superintendent, you better believe I looked like I owned the school district. Though my husband not being white we find few advantages of sending him out to deal with bureaucrats so I do all of that. An attractive and well dressed white woman goes a long way in these parts.

Amusingly when I was kicked out of MOPS I wore a blood red dress and high heels just so I looked like the scarlet letter when they did it. LOL
 
Nicole Alderman
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elle sagenev wrote:

Amusingly when I was kicked out of MOPS I wore a blood red dress and high heels just so I looked like the scarlet letter when they did it. LOL



People can get kicked out of MOPS?! I've never been to Mothers Of Preschoolers before, but I wouldn't have expected that. I'm so sorry!
 
elle sagenev
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:Amusingly when I was kicked out of MOPS I wore a blood red dress and high heels just so I looked like the scarlet letter when they did it. LOL



People can get kicked out of MOPS?! I've never been to Mothers Of Preschoolers before, but I wouldn't have expected that. I'm so sorry!



Apparently it's not super unusual. The first year I was in it was really great. Then the church that was hosting it went a bit nuts and decided to make it 100% Christian based instead of just a mother's meeting group. Apparently it was decided I wasn't going to save any souls.

I've heard some atrocious things coming out of that group since I was kicked out so I'm glad they booted me first!
 
James Landreth
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Mick Fisch wrote:

Looking like your homeless generally doesn't work to your advantage.  If your appearance says 'I don't respect myself', others will tend to not respect you either.  



Woooahh everyone, I'm feeling a little attacked by a few posts on this thread. I said that I dress "second hand," not like a homeless person. My clothes are not stained, ripped, or holey. They are just from Goodwill.

I bathe every day and wash my clothes regularly, just so we're clear.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:I've absolutely dressed spectacularly just to put someone back in their place. When I had a problem with the principal and needed to talk to the superintendent, you better believe I looked like I owned the school district.


I did that when we lived in the US and there was a school issue. I went dressed in a suit and the school people were heard asking sotto voce who the lawyer was. LOL.

I live in a place where you have to dress up to go to the supermarket. I work in the field and sometimes want to go get ice cream, and it makes me look like the foreigner I am when I go in my farm clothes to go do something. We've also had problems buying a car when my husband went wearing his uniform (he owns the shop, but wears the same uniform as the guys). The one place that actually deigned to speak to him was the place we bought my car from (in cash), and you better believe we told every place we didn't buy from why we didn't choose their car/dealer. But changing that system is beyong my scope, I've got other fish to fry.

The original question, holding on to your values is easier when you can remember why you do it (and why you choose to not do other things). Maybe someone might perceive your joy and try your way, but more importantly, you are enjoying your journey.
For example, I get a lot of flak about leaving the US to move to a third world euphemism (from people on both sides). I live the way I want to, with not a single regret, and it makes me very happy. You can either be happy for/with me, or you can get out of my way, because i don't have time for any other opinion. And while misery may love company, there is strength in numbers. My soul feels good after reading about some other person doing the same crazy things I'm doing (gardens, bokashi, rabbits, fartichokes, etc), even if they are on the other side of the globe.
 
Dillon Nichols
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James Landreth wrote:

Mick Fisch wrote:

Looking like your homeless generally doesn't work to your advantage.  If your appearance says 'I don't respect myself', others will tend to not respect you either.  



Woooahh everyone, I'm feeling a little attacked by a few posts on this thread. I said that I dress "second hand," not like a homeless person. My clothes are not stained, ripped, or holey. They are just from Goodwill.

I bathe every day and wash my clothes regularly, just so we're clear.



Let's assume he meant me... my gear is generally in rougher shape than the homeless I see. as I mentioned earlier, damned near all my clothes are holey, ripped, and stained!

They say, "I am working on something dirty, why would I dress up for that?" Some people may misinterpret this. That's fine. I need nothing from them.

I have never had any trouble getting respect from people whose respect is worth anything to me.


If you do need something from the sort of person who is obsessed about appearances, you have some decisions to make. When I worked in IT, I was informed the min standard was dress shoes, collar shirt, khakis. Tie and such for meetings.

I wore this for my first week of work, then switched back to hiking boots with zip-off hiking pants in black or tan. I kept the collar shirts as they didn't bug me much, but never, ever wore a tie. My boss wasn't thrilled, but it was clear to both of us within a week that he needed me, more than I needed him. I got raises, people who wore a tie daily got fired..


I will admit to having 2 intact shirts with collars, that get worn if I am selling something in public or visiting a nice restaurant. These are occasions when I do need something from 'those people'..
 
Mick Fisch
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I am sorry if I was insensitive about looking homeless.  I meant nothing personal about it in any way.

I have worked a wide variety of jobs from commercial fishing, well servicing, Turkey farms, and engineering.
I understand the difference between 'dirty cause I'm working', 'dirty cause I've got no running water' and 'dirty cause I am crazy or high and have been for weeks'.
 
I've never met a person who doesn't form an opinion upon seeing a stranger (this is usually automatic and unconscious and happens in about 1/10 of a second) . Sometimes it's snobbert, sometimes it's reverse snobbery, 'look at that overdressed prat'.  Sometimes it's simply a threat assessment.  Hopefully we are open to reassessing as we learn more.  

My point was simply that we are pack animals, we have some need of each other, and it does no good to help others put up barriers between us.
 
elle sagenev
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James Landreth wrote:I bathe every day and wash my clothes regularly, just so we're clear.



I don't bathe every day. That would ruin my hair. LOL
 
Rufus Laggren
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I haven't bought a new piece of clothing for at least 35 years. Well, underwear, I guess. And shoes. At least where I have lived, it's no problem at all to dress with high function and neatness and even "good taste" from Goodwill, the Salvation Army and the occasional chi-chi resale store.

Good lord, why would anybody by new unless you just want people to see you drop money into trends? I guess that does describe most people under the age of 20 something, though.

Mick is dead on right. Never heard it laid plainer. It ain't rocket science.


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Travis Johnson
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I often get funny looks because I do a lot of industrial stuff, but I refuse to wear work boots. That was because when I retired I said I would never do two things again; work at a place where I would have to wear work boots, or have a cell phone. If the job required either of those things, I would not work there.

So I wear sneakers or muck boots, and as everyone on here knows, I do not have an electronic leash...I mean cell phone.

But my question is, how do you guys (and gals) get by without buying socks? I have a cousin that floods this house every year with socks for Christmas, a much appreciated gift, but they never last until the following Christmas. I get more holes in my socks then con artist's testimony. I do prefer thin socks, so maybe that is why, but there is no way I could get years out of my socks like I do with my jeans.
 
Carla Burke
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Travis, I think socks are a funny thing. I'm very easy on my socks, but hubs could go through a 10pack a month, I think. When I was wearing steel toed boots for work, and putting in my 12hr days, my cheap, low-quality socks lasted years. Hubs is my 3rd spouse, and of the 3, only the first one was not a rapid total sock destroyer. My personal observation is that foot care has played a huge role in the wear of socks. I'm nearly fanatical about trending to my feet. I keep them smooth, soft, and moisturized. No torn nails, no snagging callouses. I'm very tactile, so these things bug the snot out of me.
In my (freaking huge) family, this has born out, too. Those who have been more relaxed about their foot care have all gone through socks like locusts through a grain field. My mom's socks last forever, too.

Consequently, hubs won't buy himself nice socks, because he knows that after half a dozen wears, they'll be ready for the scrap cleaning cloths bin, burn barrel, or compost pile(depending on the fabric) - Yet, he doesn't think twice about buying high quality wool, silk, and bamboo socks, for me, because he sees them as an investment in my comfort and well being (I do have health issues that really mess with my already high sensitivity to tactile irritation).
 
Carla Burke
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Oh, yeh! My daily wear is based on comfort, utility, and protection. So, when we go for a ride, I'm in my Kevlar or biker leathers, depending on the weather. If I'm working in the gardens, animal containment, or constructing/ demolishing stuff, or out foraging, I'm dressed appropriately for that task, as well as the weather, too. And, since I'm usually doing something of the above, it doesn't make sense to me, to wear nice stuff, in my day - to - day life. However! I do have some very nice clothes, too, and we do enjoy dressing up, occasionally - and I'm told, I clean up quite nicely. But, the contrast is so marked, that people who have only seen me in my daily working - on - the - farm, or biker gear will often do a doubletake, and their eyes get rather big, with surprise. I can never help laughing at the reaction.
 
Travis Johnson
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Well Carla, we share a common trait: I am on my third marriage as well. I must be as hard on my wives as I am on my socks.

I do wonder if us hard-on-socks-people might be because we live in shoeless houses? I have always lived in a house where we kicked off our shoes at the door which might account for some extra wear as we are not protecting the socks via shoes. That would not account for one sock abuser in the same house, assuming both abide by the shoeless house rule. But I will admit I never put much thought into sock longevity based upon manly or girly feet. After reading what you wrote though, I am sure glad I am hard on socks so I can firmly retain my man-card...no girly feet for this guy!

As for socks quality, 90% of our socks are supplied by my cousin in Tennessee. We send her Red Sox merchandise and Moxie Soda, and she repays at Christmas with enough socks to swamp a battleship, so we typically get what we get...but with great appreciation.

For Katie, she could care less about sock quality, but does she ever love her shoes. At one time, she belonged to (3) shoe-of-the month clubs, and even I know better than to buy her a pair of shoes from Payless Shoe Store. She does not need Prada, but they had better be quality shoes! She has plenty to pick from, at last count she had something like 80 pair, but it might be over 100 now.
 
Mick Fisch
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Back to the original question.  I have some values that are very out of step with the majority of folks.  

Of course, I think I'm right, otherwise I would go with the flow.  I realize others sometimes think I'm half a bubble off of level.  That's ok.  I think the same of them, on the rare occasions I think about it.  

Mostly, I don't sweat it.  Everyone is a liitle crazy in some way.  When I see someone doing something I don't understand, I just tell myself "that is their crazy leaking out".  Sometimes as I learn more I find their actions made sense.  Sometimes my initial assessment is confirmed.

Don't expect too much from strangers and you won't be disappointed.

I do draw the line at blatantly rude or aggressive behavior.  It damages you to put up with such behavior.  Either address it quickly or get away from people acting like that.  It's like seeing a car weaving all over the river road.  You stay away from them, because when they cause an accident, you don't want to be part of it.

I go through life in a bit of a bubble.  Inside are 'my people'.  I interact and share my life with them.  Outside are the others and my interactions with them are more shallow, brief, guarded and formal.

One of the greatest traits a person can have is reliability.
When you find a person who you can rely on, treasure and cultivate them.  

There are a few people (like my wife and my parents) who I figure have earned the right to call me out when I'm being stupid.  That can be hard, especially if I suspect they might be right.  I have to consciously force myself to consider their opinion (it sometimes is very hard for me).  Sometimes we have to agree to disagree, but usually we can find common ground.  Disagreements within the inner circle are usually more disruptive than a little compromise.
 
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You can't live your life for everyone else.  Or for anyone else.

If you meet 5,000 people in a year, most of them won't even agree with each other, so how could you take the advice of all of them?

Most of the advice-givers only want to GIVE advice, they never want to TAKE advice -- odd, isn't it?  My youngest sister is a narcissistic sociopath.  She tells everyone what they should be doing, but if you should DARE to give her advice, she flies into a rage.

Many people love control, but it's only a one-way street.  Don't worry about what people think or say, as most of it's bad advice, anyway.

 
Power corrupts. Absolute power xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is kinda neat.
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