Friday, September 10, 2004

Fashion boners


o, no, no, not that kind of boner. A boner as in blunder or faux pas. SweetLilV posted an entry recently about seeing a woman with the price tag of her shoes still on the shoe as she wore them. It made me think of some of the fashion boners I have committed in my day.

I have always been aware of my looks. In my early years, I was often told that I was cute and adorable by the adults around me--my students may stop laughing now... In first grade, I remember once being chased by the girls. Of course, they were probably just trying to beat me up. However, in my formative years--oh, I guess from 4th to 9th grade--I had developed a complex. After a few well-timed comments by some of the "cool" kids in class, I was forever exiled into the dreaded margins of society, the one reserved for dorks. After being told how poorly I played basketball--Man, you suck. Why do you have to be on our team.--or how ugly I dressed, I was absolutely convinced that I was one of the dorkiest kids ever born.

I didn't help my own cause, either. One day I noticed the other kids glancing at me from the corner of their eyes, some of them pointing at me in that subtle-but-not-too-subtle way. As I wondered what they were thinking, I realized that I didn't have a shirt pocket. The private school I went to required uniforms: white short-sleeve shirt and salt-and-pepper corduroy pants. The navy bow tie was the cherry on top. We were not so rich and my mother made my shirts--although when I think about it now, it was quite a luxury to have custom-made shirts. Be that as it may, I was embarassed to realize I had no shirt pocket. No wonder they were snickering at me. How uncool to have a shirt that had no pocket. I went home upset ready to tell my mother about my horrendous day, of being singled out for a shirt SHE made. I stomped into my bedroom and unbuttoned the shirt I was going to show her, this pocketless piece of work. But as I took it off, I realized that the shirt DID have a pocket. It just happened to be on the inside of the shirt?!? Wait, the seams, the collar... Oh no! I screamed internally as I looked at myself in the mirror. I had been wearing my shirt inside-out the whole day! At that moment, I felt like the king of the dorks, the dorkiest dork, just call me Your Dorkness... Why didn't anyone tell me? Why didn't even the teacher tap me on the shoulder and tell me to redress myself? *sigh*

Well, my attention to fashion hasn't changed much over the years. Last year, on a cool spring day, I went to class. I taught bungo from 12:30, then headed to my next class, Advanced Japanese at 2:00. Upon entering the classroom, some of my students started laughing, asking me if I was trying to make a fashion statement. Huh? What are you talking about? I asked, puzzled at their remarks.

Why are you wearing your sweater inside out?

Memories of the pocketless shirt fiasco flooded back, filling me with embarrassment. I thought that I should say, Yeah, it's a fashion statement. But that would be too obvious an attempt to hide my faux pas. Instead, I should laugh it off, telling them I was testing them, seeing how fast they would catch on. But that would sound narcissistic and, truthfully, rather pathetic. So I resigned myself to the reality that it honesty is the best policy. These kids aren't stupid, and I shouldn't treat them as if they were. This train of thought, of course, occurs to me in about 1.5 seconds--isn't it amazing how fast the mind works when you're embarrassed?

Uh, *gulp* thanks for telling me. I'm such a dork.

I smile sheepishly, take off my sweater and turn it rightside-in, as they giggle and laugh at the sight of their sensei redressing himself. One student who was also in the bungo class said that he had noticed it in the other class, but wasn't sure if he should mention it... Great, the whole freakin' world knows I'm a dork, now. I thought I had left that behind me in grade school, but I guess once a dork always a dork.

And earlier today, a student, fuafuahamu, comes to my office and leafs through an old notebook of mine, one that I used when I was an undergraduate at UCLA. It was my bungo notes. I had rewritten the text and marked all the classical conjugations for each predicate. Fuafuahamu laughs as she peruses my work:

Sensei, your such a dork!

And the magic continues...

RBJ Tomodachi:
I haven't been going to RBJ that often these days, as I am busy enough as usual, but it's nice to know that some of the people over there come to visit me from time to time. Thanks to hyojin and the California College Kid for bookmarking me at the Rice Bowl Journals. I've added you guys to my RBJ Tomodachi List above on the comment page and on the left column of the main page..

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