I found out David Bowie passed away when I woke last Monday morning. I get push notifications from the New York Times, so it was front and center on my cell phone when I reached to snooze the delightful sounds of “Timba.” Turns out news like that does what alarms for the most part don’t do – I got right up.
I’m a fan of Bowie, and I do like his music a lot. I think “Hunky Dory” and “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars“merit consideration as Best Albums of All Time, and a great number of his songs, especially my favorites, “Life on Mars?,” “Oh! You Pretty Things,” and “Starman,” as Best Songs of all time. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Stardust,” too).
I can’t say for certain that Bowie was best known for Ziggy Stardust, but it was undeniable this character was very different. Ziggy was counter-cultural. His flamboyant actions and
outlandish dress exposed his anima for public consumption and scrutiny – ultimately, the naysayers saying nay.
He showed great courage by being genuine on the public stage. It could’ve been mistaken as an act to promote his brand but the reality was, Bowie walked the walk. This was who he was, and this was his style. And he did it without needing validation.
My daughter has her own style, too. She likes to dress smartly. And by smartly, I mean she likes to wear collared shirts (golf or button down), slacks, loafers, a vest and/or a sports jacket. And sometime last year, after she created a line of craft paper bowties for our arts and crafts creation, Mr. Isaac Nosey, she decided she wanted to wear a bow tie, too. Every day.
Her style also includes a pixie hair cut, which we encouraged her to get for the summer, and which she so adorably wears, and now won’t consider any other cut. In fact, I’d say anyone who knows my daughter probably can’t picture her any other way.
When she first started to dress this way, she told us it was because she wanted to “dress like a boy.” My wife and I are completely supportive of her fashion forward, unique style, but I wanted her to understand that she was not dressing like a boy. “You are dressing like you. And you happen to like wearing slacks, button downs, bow ties, etc.”
My wife and I quickly realized we had to support my daughter’s choice in clothing if we ever planned to emerge from our apartment. I joke, but what’s frustrating is that we’ll be relegated to shopping in the “Boys Section” and perpetuating stereotypes of what a girl should wear and what a boy should wear.
I pick my daughter up from school on a regular basis. I’m extremely fortunate my schedule permits it (for the experience but to also spare us an additional expense). I absolutely love the moment she recognizes me in the sea of parents. Easily the best part of my every day.
Last week, as she was rumbling towards me, her oversized backpack in tow, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a father standing next to me embracing his daughter. Except he was watching my daughter; he had noticed her bow tie. He asked his daughter my daughter’s name, and it was apparent to me he expected a boy’s name.
I don’t begrudge his surprise because it’s not too often you see a child in a bow tie, let alone a girl in a bow tie, but it was the couple of seconds after that annoyed me. I could tell he was looking her over in a shocked, almost disapproving way. I might be reading into this a little much, but I was just disappointed this man couldn’t simply smirk in a way to suggest “Right on, kid! Love the style!”
I love my daughter’s style. She looks really sharp. I won’t lie and suggest it wouldn’t be easier if she subscribed to the norm – my wife and I wouldn’t have to correct EVERYONE we run into that she’s our daughter, not our son – but as long as she loves her look, we do, too. World… it’s on!
Let the children lose it.
Let the children use it.
Let all the children boogie.