Sunday, 9 March 2014

Birds of a Feather, Flock Together




In your experience, do birds of a feather really flock together?

I ask, as I know in real life absolutely nobody who likes the vintage 'thing' other than the people I used to go to WWII events with and they don't exactly dress that way outside of events.



I do get a lot of compliments from strangers in passing and have many approaching me to remark on how I'm dressed, but despite their friendliness, they never turn into friends of mine and even people I have seen on a regular basis, like when I helped out at the village nursery, they have never seen me as anything more than 'the lady who helps out', I was never included in social things outside of the environment we found ourselves in.




I have also had someone remark as they eyed me up and down, 'You dress in an old fashioned way don't you'. It was a statement, clear and simple. She was nice enough, chatted to me of her own accord but she obviously saw me as very different from her. For the record she was one of the middle class mums I see in Waitrose who are shopping for organic milk, salmon and goji berries.




I don't have any friends in the town I live in. Not one. Andy thinks it's because of how I dress, that people are more inclined to flock with birds who share the same plumage, as they have more in common with one another. I was not so long ago described as 'a bit exotic for (insert name of town in which I live here) ...' and maybe that's the problem. I feel like a flamingo that just landed on the lake near the town and all of the other birds are side eying me.





What are your experiences?

Does your 'plumage' scare people off?

Or do people not care about how you present yourself and are they your friend regardless?

24 comments:

  1. That's an interesting post. I'm guessing it must get lonely not having a kindred spirit near by. Apart from my best friend, all of my other close friends don't dress in vintage. I don't feel excluded or outcast in any way, but my retro style is probably more of a cross over then the WW2 kind of thing. I get the eye over when I'm out doing mundane stuff, but if anything I tend not to notice really. Dressing in vintage here is often a conversation starter, it's like people find you more approachable somehow. But it's not so abnormal that peoples jaws hit the floor. Thank goodness that you can connect with other online, if not in your own town. Xx

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    1. It can get pretty lonely, yes. I haven't even seen anyone else in town who is even remotely dressed like me. I saw one woman in the village we lived in last who was dressed wonderfully, I smiled at her only for her to glare back which quite took the wind from my sails. I get stared at a lot but not in a horrible way, it's nearly always been positive other than the school kids I passed by the river who said I was 'dressed weird'. I do find people find me really approachable though, which is nice. And yes, at least there's the internet to close the gap xx

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  2. It's hard to know - other people might be put off by my clothes, or my personality! Thankfully, I have plenty of friends who cope perfectly well with both, so it doesn't much matter! None of my day-to-day non-blogging friends are particularly interested in vintage, neither do they dress in a flamboyant way, and they are amused by my wardrobe choices at times. But I like to think that what I wear has no bearing on our friendship, just as I don't object if they choose to wear jeans and a fleece! I don't rule people out or in based on clothes, so I don't expect anyone to do that to me. If they rule me out based on a vintage frock, they don't deserve me as their friend anyway! Surely how we present ourselves is so much more than clothing anyway; friendliness, smiling, being open and chatty and quick to laugh, asking questions and being interested, aren't these traits/behaviours more significant in terms how others regard us? xxx

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    1. I've never ruled people out based on their clothing, I was always of the mind even as a child, that every new person could be a friend ...rather a Pollyanna view on life I must admit, but others looking at me seem to immediately rule me out as anything other than 'that one who dresses in old fashioned clothes'. I am rather shy but I do try my best with others xxx

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  3. Melanie, I'd be honored to be your friend. If we lived closer, I'd take you out for tea and listen to you talk until you ran out of things to say.

    Those of us who are different in any way (and I'm different in multiple ways) often find it hard to find friends. But we need to be who we are. Dressing in vintage is a wonderful activity that needs no justification. In person, I'd find you as fun and charming as you are online.

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    1. Oh thank you Ally, that means a lot and that would be a wonderful visit to have xxx

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  4. 'To thine own self be true' may be over-quoted, but there's a lot of truth in it. I think it says more about other people if are unfriendly based on the fact that you dress differently, though maybe they are a bit in awe of someone who has the confidence to do so, and they feel they wouldn't be exciting enough to have you as a friend! I would love to be able to carry off the elegant and quirky clothes you do - don't change!
    x

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    1. Thank you Alix. I have always been true to myself as it is important to me, in fact it would have been far easier for me in life to conform but I was never one to take the easy path! I have had someone say the exact same thing as you before, so you never know x

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  5. Very, very good post and key point, sweet lady. I'm a natural born introvert, wildly shy, and have never been a social butterfly, couple that with the fact I'm the only (as far as I know) mid-century vintage wearer around my town and I don't have any other vintage friends or friends with a passion for vintage here either. I n fact, much like yourself, the bulk of my friends are online, not local.

    I do very much yearn for a fellow vintage fashion wearer here sometimes (ok, all the time :)), but having never had one anywhere I lived (though in the case of larger cities like Toronto, Ontario and Dublin, Ireland, there would have of course been others - I just didn't get the opportunity to meet or become friends with) and being so immersed in the online vintage scene, I don't feel completely like I'm marooned on a desert island. It is a shame though that so many of us find our selves as the lone vintage wolf, so to speak, in our respective corners of the world. If only we could all get together at least once a year somewhere and celebrate our mutual love of the past together.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you Jessica xxx
      You lived in Ireland, I didn't know that!
      I'm very shy too and have never had oodles of friends, usually just one at a time and I have had appalling luck with people I thought to be my friend in the past. Wouldn't it be lovely to have a social get together one day? That would be so much fun.

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  6. It's a really tricky one I think Melanie, and not one I have any answers to! We don't really socialise with anyone at all in our immediate area. My friends are scattered across the UK and whilst I have a few vintage-loving friends, not all of my friends embrace it. There isn't a vintage community where I live at all, and while some people I've met share the love of vintage with me, we have absolutely nothing else in common, so they don't necessarily become bosom friends. I suppose it just boils down to whether you care or not - are you happy as you are, do you long to meet more like-minded people, or would you just love to meet some new people regardless of whether they share your interests? P x

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    1. I've never seen anyone who looks like they might be into the vintage thing here, not one. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't like to meet someone who was like minded but really someone to meet up for a cuppa on a regular basis would be nice x

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  7. Hmmm, interesting point. I've always had an individual edge to me, including what I wear, but in the past, I was always persistent with friends/people and somehow, people I wanted to become friends became them. But in recent times, I've found it harder, I haven't pursued friendships so much and thus haven't really made any new ones. Hmm, not sure... x

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    1. I have never liked to be persistent in case people get annoyed with me!

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  8. I've found some 'vintage people' give off a real air of snootiness because they are all about real vintage and live and breathe it,and other people who don't do this are beneath them - and I think non-vintage people, if I can say that, pick up on this attitude and associate it with everyone who wears vintage to any extent, and so avoid them. This has been my experience anyway which is really a shame! At least there's always the online flock to join and flap your wings with :) xx

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    1. I've found some vintage types to be incredibly aloof too. I do feel there's a definite social ladder in the vintage community, which I most certainly am not on. And yes, thank goodness for the on-line flock xxx

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  9. I don't think my "plumage" is any less flamboyant than yours and the way I dress has certainly led to me making many new friendships which have started simply by a random compliment in the street.
    Maybe the way you react to the compliment you get need work. Do you simply say thank you or do you find something to ask or compliment the person upon? If their clothes aren't your kind of thing then there's always a great hair cut, an attractive nail polish they're wearing or a pretty eye shadow.
    I'm shy by nature and small talk does take some effort and practice but the rewards can pay dividends.
    Don't be afraid to approach strangers and compliment them, the worst that can happen is that they mutter "thank you" and move on. xxx

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    1. I am always sincerely grateful for compliments I receive and often end up chatting away to the person who paid me it in the first instance and will often bump into said person again. I do pay others compliments too but I don't think it's an easy thing for people to take a compliment from a stranger on the street xxx

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  10. I feel horrifically lonely at times. I tell myself it's better to have a few good friends than lots of shallow ones, but most of my good ones live a long way from me and there are times when I feel I have no-one to talk to. It is a horrible feeling. That said, Bath seems to have a reasonable vintage community and I'm not part of that. There are times when I get really upset and wonder why people don't want to spend time with me - but I think we introverts seem to outsiders to be very self-sufficient, and maybe people don't realise we'd value being included!

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    1. I'm sorry you have similar feelings to me Mim, it can be really horrible can't it. Andy has his cycling and his band that gives him somewhere to go and people to be with and I spend so much time by myself that I feel I'm going stir crazy. If I go into town by myself I know that I'll be there and back in no time as I won't see a soul that I know to stop and chat with, whereas if Andy goes into town he'll always bump into someone he knows and can be gone an absolute age, but then he's local and I used to live twenty miles away. I get upset too as I know I've always been a good friend to people in the past but no one wants anything to do with me and I don't know why, it's awful. Andy remarked that I'm not a sycophant, I don't lavish people with false praise 'just because', I give compliments when I genuinely mean them and am not one to gush endlessly just to curry favour with someone and it seems from where I stand on the outside looking in, that isn't how someone is expected to be. I think you sound like a lovely person to be friends with x

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  11. This was an interesting post Melanie, and made me think, though I don't dress in vintage so clothes aren't really a deciding factor in me meeting people. I have a few good friends but certainly not a large circle, and it took me time to get to know those friends. One thing I would say makes it easier to make friends is just seeing people regularly. When my oldest children started school I used to dread going up and down for them because we were new to the area and I felt really lonely for a long time standing among the locals, but I eventually got to know a lot of people up there. Also I worked in a nursing home and met a woman there who is now one of my best friends, and through her I have met other people who have become friends as we all have things in common. In both cases it took me a long time, that's just what seems to work best for me, getting to know people more slowly, I don't think I'm outgoing enough for people to immediately want to be my friend, but once we get to know each other we either click with each other, or we don't. Maybe you just didn't have enough time at the nursery to get to know people well? I think it is quite hard to strike up a friendship with a stranger, especially if you are shy. xx

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    1. Nice to see you again Joan :)
      Even people I have seen on a regular basis seem to have kept me at arms length or have just been plain nasty to me and for reasons I just can't comprehend. I was at the nursery a few times a week for almost a year and even lived on the same road as one of the people there.

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  12. Looking back, I think Kezzie's comment about being persistent with people if you really would like a friendship with them is true too, don't be afraid of being annoying Melanie! I can't imagine you being so in your face that you would annoy someone anyway, but I have had to make more of an effort with some friendships sometimes, and if the person really isn't interested, then it wasn't going to happen anyway, but at least you tried. xx

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    1. I have shocking self esteem so can't help but worry that I might be annoying someone xxx

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