I remember one day in 6th grade our teacher asked us each to tell the class our favorite song, and he wrote our answers on the board. I don’t remember what the point was – probably something about opinions and diversity. It was 1988 – Big Hair bands were huge – but I was mostly listening to Buddy Holly, Dolly Parton, and Randy Travis. When my turn came, I didn’t want to look like a dork, which I somehow thought I would if I mentioned one of the songs I really liked. So instead I said “Guns N Roses.” Yep. That’s a great way to not look like a dork. Of course everyone giggled, and the teacher asked me which of their songs I liked. Oh crap – Guns N Roses is a band, not a song?
Around the same time, I loved going to yard sales with my family, and there was even a little hole in the wall thrift store where we would rummage around for treasures on weekends. But I would never in a million years have admitted to anyone that my clothes were used. If people asked where I got something I was wearing, I would usually say that I couldn’t remember.
Today, I was wearing an awesome pair of black capris. Originally from Banana Republic, I found them last year at the thrift store by our house. A friend mentioned how great they were, and I was happy to tell her where I found them. I’m not as much of a clothes horse as I used to be, but I do still enjoy putting together great outfits, and invariably they come from one of the two thrift stores in our neighborhood. Everyone who knows me knows where I shop. I’m proud of my frugality, and I’m completely open about buying used stuff, driving old cars, and making do with what we have. Even my bike that I use to get around town is old. My parents bought it for me 20 years ago, and I think it was an antique then.
It’s a lot more fun to not care too much about what people think. Of course that’s easier said than done when you’re in 6th grade, but at least I figured it out eventually. I do still care somewhat – I don’t wander around town unshowered in a pair of sweatpants (well, I have a four month old, so maybe I do, but not often). But keeping up with the Joneses isn’t even an issue for our family, because for the most part, we don’t notice what the Joneses have, and if we do, we can usually figure out a cheaper way to do it.
And just for the record, November Rain is my favorite Guns N Roses songs.