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Everyone from my brother (who I considered my best friend) to the hostess at our favorite Italian restaurant (who sat us in the most hidden, secluded corner of the restaurant despite it being empty) tried their very best to steer clear of me. In the years since, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how harshly we judge others based on their fashion choices.We all do it to some extent or another, and I admit to being guilty of it myself — whether toward the cheerleaders at my high school who packed on the foundation or the wannabe hipsters of my university who pride themselves in their ability to recite Howl from start to finish (which, I'll admit, is pretty impressive).

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From Ok Cupid: To celebrate Beyoncé as well as accurately describe this look, I'm choosing to title the ensemble, "I woke up like this." Because I literally did.

I'm not wearing a single drop of makeup, and didn't bother to try to get my hair into a coherent form.

Black hair, black lips, red and black eye shadow, incredibly thick eyeliner, spiked chains and Hot Topic clothes (this was back when Hot Topic sold actual alternative-wear, mind you).

And what I found was the not-so-shocking realization that humans are pretty cruel. And an overall cattiness that left me emotionally drained after just one day.

It's been a while since I've totally revamped my wardrobe, so this experiment was fun for dress-up reasons as well as its more profound sociological implications.

Initially, my plan was to spend a full day dressed up in each look to note people's reactions in person, but I realized that the area of Britain in which I now live is extremely alternative and accepting — the total opposite of the highly Republican New Jersey town where I grew up.Seven years ago, I took an introduction to sociology course at my town's community college.We spent most of our time sitting around in a circle with our professor, talking about cultural stigmas and stereotypes as well as the clique dynamics within our individual cafeterias (at the time, I was convinced I was living in North Shore High School).I also made my profile open to both men and women.)Besides noting the reactions of random people online, I of course showed my partner and his parents each of the looks in person, and sent the photos to several friends via email.Because, you know, sometimes it's the people closest to you who have the strongest (and in some cases, most striking) reactions.That something so tragic and so heinous could happen based on someone's clothing really struck me and has stayed with me ever since.

539 Comments

  1. I’ve watched girls in coffee shops and bars, not only surveying man candy from afar but, like lionesses eyeing a fat antelope with a dodgy knee, zoning in and making their intentions known. American men, so I’m told, are more likely to offer to pay for dates and bat away a woman’s wallet.

  2. The main reason being, there is eye candy galore on this site. So far on POF I’ve had email conversations with several guys, a phone number virtually pushed in my face and I’ve got my own annoying little cyber stalker – not bad for 3.5 days work eh?

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