Thursday, October 11, 2007

I ride horses! Everyone, I ride horses!

I ride horses! Everyone, I ride horses!

Last night my wife and I went to a hip restaurant called “Pure” in Alpharetta. As my wife aptly noted, it was full of teenagers that happened to be in their 40s. People with a hunger for attention that actually eclipsed mine, which is saying something.

In the midst of trophy wives and a parade of fake boobs, one guy in particular stood out. I saw him walking down the street a few blocks away from the restaurant and was instantly hypnotized.

He was wearing horse riding gear. Black shiny boots up to his knees with tight riding pants that seemed to be suffocating his legs. There’s a horse park a few blocks from the restaurant and obviously he had just finished riding. The thing that struck me is that he didn’t take 37 seconds and change his outfit. He didn’t keep a pair of jeans in the car and make a quick switch.

I thought that was awesome. Like someone wearing ski boots into a restaurant, he was clip clopping around in those heavy boots in the hopes everyone there would know that he rides horses. What did he want me or more importantly the ladies at the restaurant to think about him? Clearly, that he has money, because poor people don’t ride horses. In fact, I think most horses can smell poverty and will buck a poor person right off their back. “Go ride a donkey” is what they’d say if horses could annunciate.

It made me wonder, what do I project when I get dressed every morning. What are the deficits I hope my clothes will cover up? What do my pants say about me? Why do they need to say anything?

I think confident people don’t ask their clothes to broadcast who they are. I think whole people know that when the inside shines, the outside doesn’t need to. The most handsome person I’ve ever met taught me this accidentally. Heath was a model I knew in college. I was his assistant coach for the girl’s flag football program he coached. Like one of those remora fish that hangs on the bottom of sharks, my plan that semester was to just stay close enough to Heath in the hopes that pretty girls he rejected would think I was cool.

The thing that used to kill me about Heath was that when we would go out, he would never get dressed up. He always wear plain white men’s undershirts. I’m talking about the kind of thing you’re grandfather rocked when it was his day off and he was just lounging around the house. But it didn’t matter. Anywhere we went, girls flocked to him. He could have been clothed in burlap and the ladies would have been cool with that. Heath knew who he was and was comfortable in the idea that he didn’t need his clothes to validate that.

If the spectrum of self confidence runs from horse guy to Heath, I have to question where I am. Am I wearing tight horse pants in the hopes that strangers will think I’m rich or am I rocking the plain white t knowing my treasure is untouchable?

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