Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Bandana Chronicles

Last night, I went out to dinner with my friends. (I staunchly refuse to call yesterday Singles Awareness Day.) I wore a apple green bandana that my friends told me made me look like a chemo patient. I disagreed, especially since my hair was long, down, and very visible.
At the restaurant, the waiter stared more than was really necessary, giving me the what are you? look. The look isn't uncommon when people see something they can't quite label -- anyone even vaguely iconoclastic can recognize it. Now, I wouldn't label myself an iconoclast by standard, nor an Original or an Incomparable, but even I could tell what that look meant. The waiter, and other people, were running through the mental check-list of what I could be "trying to say" by wearing a bandana. They want to know what my "message" is.
-Cancer patient? Somehow, and I don't know how, the bandana became to international symbol for I've got cancer and now everyone wearing a bandana gets the elevator eyes. News flash -- you can't see cancer, so staring at me isn't going to help.
Failing proof of cancer, they proceed down their list.
- Conservative religious person? Some have said I look like an Orthodox Jew in my bandana. I guess I can see where they're coming from with that guess, but if that's where they landed, they missed by a couple miles. What happened to everyone telling kids you can't guess ethic groups on sight? These people all seem to be trying.
Lacking conclusive proof (yeah, my pizza really wasn't kosher) of religious motivation, everyone seems to proceed to the final choice.
-Lesbian? Apparently, in people's minds, chicks in bandana are chicks who like chicks. Frankly, I've never noticed a strong correlation, but that seemed to be where most people's minds went. You could practically feel it in some people's elevator eyes. I actually pity the poor confused waiter -- we were all girls at the table -- and his is she or isn't she confusion. But that wasn't my fault.
I don't think anyone managed to guess right.
-Girl who likes bandanas.

When did it change that a bandana had to be a message of some form distance from the norm? When did a head cover become a subliminal message? I don't know. But, I'd really like to find out.

Bandana trivia : The work bandana comes from the Hindi word bandhana meaning "to tie".

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