While my brother was in town we went on a swamp tour. On the boat with us was this guy, sitting a few people down from us. He had orange tipped hair, a moustache and goatee, a piercing on some other area of his ear besides his lobe, what looked like a flash tattoo on his shoulder and those chunky sandals that men wear these days.

When the tour was over, I commented that I didn't think that guy looked too bad, that he looked a little freaky, which I normally go for. My brother lamented that this guy was a pre packaged freak, having assembled his look from an array of predetermined options, ones that nowadays you can buy at any local mall. He wasn't a real freak like us.

I remember when Doc Martens were only available in catalogs. Now you can get them at almost any mall shoe store. Same for even cheaply made goth and raver apparel. Now this gravitation from the fringe to the center of popularity isn't what upsets me but that the association people put on those clothes doesn't change with it. It's hard for me to see kids as being "rebellious" or unique when they are merely buying what all the other kids are buying, at the malls where their parents let them consume.

The conclusion we all come to at some point that it isn't what we look like but how we carry ourselves that matters. But have you ever noticed that those who dress like everyone else often look for similar people when they're out in public, looking to confirm that their appearance is setting the social standard at that moment? And people who go against that preset standard may flex their confidence, almost intentionally, so as to put others at ease?