“New Year’s Resolution Number Six: Become a Sock-guy.”
When I set goals for the beginning of this year, that was one of the items on my list. A sock-guy. I’d always wanted to be a sock-guy.
A sock-guy is someone who can wear crazy socks and totally get away with it. Bright yellow socks with black umbrellas on them, socks that look like the wallpaper in his grandmother’s bathroom with brown and tan floral prints, black socks with white lettered Internet acronyms all over them like “GTFO!”, socks with lightning bolts running up and down each side, socks with cartoon faces of ducks staring at everyone who notices them.
And so I started buying cool socks, figuring I would collect a few pairs at a time. My personal trainer was the first to really notice, since he has me take my shoes off during workouts. “What are you wearing?!” he said with a laugh at my black and red checkered socks, which did not match my workout shorts and tank top at all. But that’s part of the charm of being a sock-guy, the socks not matching your clothing. I told him about my resolution, and over the next several workouts he started to look forward to seeing what socks I would be wearing next.
This morning, as I dressed, I opened up a box of new socks I just ordered online from a place called Happy Socks. Four pairs of comfortable and colorful pastel socks for the spring season. Without giving it much though, I grabbed a pair that is bright pink with embroidered palm trees on it and I slipped them on. I wore a blue checkered shirt and a pair of black jeans, then tied on my blue tennis shoes. Doing a self-check, I realized the entire outfit worked together pretty well, except for the pink palm tree socks. These are socks that will draw the eye, making people think “Why would he wear those socks with blue shoes?” My boyfriend noticed them with a small grimace. “Um, nice socks,” he said, hesitantly supportive. “They, uh, really go with your outfit.”
There is a large part of me that wants to be the guy that fits in, that wears tailored clothes, tight button-down lumberjack shirts with rolled up sleeves with form-fitting jeans that make my ass look great. But there is a larger part of me that would fit right in in Portland, with a Pac-Man hoodie and a pair of jean shorts. Part of me wants the nice new shoes, and a larger part of me is the guy who wears white socks with his flip flops… and goes out in public.
I’ve always had that internal battle, the desire to fit in counterbalanced by the larger desire to stand out, the need to be looked at and admired by modern standards of fashion and the need to be looked at and admired for my own sense of individuality and strength. In elementary school, when I was the kid picked last on the team, I always longed to be one of the cool kids, to be tall and good-looking and great at sports, but honestly I was okay with being picked last too because that meant no one else was picked last, and I didn’t really want to be like those other kids, I just wanted to be me.
And so being a sock-guy is really about being more of myself, being an individual, being someone who is strong and creative, who turns heads due to his bold and quirky choices, and who loves being in his own skin.
And if wearing a crazy pair of socks helps accomplish that for me, well, then I’m gonna a be a guy who wears crazy socks every day.