Friday, February 20, 2009

The Bandana Chronicles

Bandana Color: Red

So, I learned something interesting today. A bandana for one day is a stylistic move; a bandana for two days is a gang sign. At least, that's what I was informed of by no less than four people -- including a girl who also sometimes wears bandanas! I hadn't expected this at all. I'd thought that any gang related comments would be on the very first day and that by day two or later, the bandana would be treated like any other accessory or a new hair cut -- unworthy of further comment. Apparently, I thought wrong. I do wonder how long I shall have to continue sporting bandanas before they are no longer cause for comment, and I wonder if that common-placeness would extend to others in bandanas, too.
One crack that didn't surprise me in the least today was a pirate reference. Two people told me I looked like a pirate. I guess that makes me Grace O'Malley. I was trying a different style of bandana tying, one that apparently calls to mind the pirate much more than my usual method.
The interesting thing is that both of these responses to my bandana were references to the association people have with bandanas and renegades. Historically speaking, the bandana has been worn by pirates, gypsies, cowboys, and gang members, none of whom are really mainstream, socially accepted peoples. So, despite the fact that none of those people live in my area, and there haven't been bandana sporting pirates or cowboys in a long time -- the Roma still wear bandanas, but very far from where I live -- the connotation remains pervasive. I don't know what anyone can do to combat the image except try not to be the stereotype. Maybe, one day, people wearing bandanas won't have to be rebels. Still, if my recent foray into the world of the bandana is any evidence, that day is a long way off.

Bandana Trivia: Bandana is also the name of a city in Kentucky. (okay, that's not really related to headgear, but I just thought it was really interesting.)

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