As Mick Jagger once pointed out, there is a stark difference between what you want and what you need. I know there is no practical need in my life that justifies eating birthday cake, buying expensive shoes or reading Page Six. However, why is it that I so often find myself struggling in lustful moments of chocolate, sparkle and gossip-induced passion to separate these desires from necessities? Isn’t delayed satisfaction the definition of maturity? What is it about temptation that is so irresistible?
While hard to identify without the privilege of retrospect, it is an undeniable fact that sometimes what is satisfying does not always yield satisfaction. But how often do we, as students, somewhere between teenagers and twenty-somethings, find ourselves peering over our judgment to something deliciously tempting? We know our vegetables are good for us, but why not just skip to dessert?
The truth is rebellion is always fashionable, and indulgence is usually the perfect accent to an otherwise drab existence. Lately, however, I have noticed that sometimes what we want is being confused with what we need-so much so that the result is not a fashionable defiance, but rather, unfashionable conformity.
If you watched the Super Bowl in the last two years you know what I am talking about. The producers of last year’s halftime show decided they needed intrigue to boost ratings. While they did get intrigue and ratings, they also got Janet Jackson’s boob, and an unprecedented setback in the way of expanding the boundaries of network censorship.
In turn, this year’s halftime show was seamlessly constructed to ensure no surprises. It carefully featured Paul McCartney, a foreigner, performing during a characteristically American spectacle, in the network’s dull salute to asexual tunes and asexual pop stars. Why are we apologizing?
When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the “curse” was broken, Boston fans were ecstatic. But as the next morning’s hangover set in, how many were disappointed to admit that they no longer held the status of tortured fan? It is unfortunate to admit that sometimes the ‘wanting’ provides a fashionable distinction that, when satiated, leaves us uncommonly plain. If we were all satisfied wouldn’t life be rather boring?
Ironically, if we all agreed on a way to define fashion, we’d lose the entire notion of fashion. If there were no awkward up-and-down looks at the guy wearing the purple plaid overalls on the Metro there would be no reason to make the decisions you make in front of the mirror. For instance, one of the main reasons the ‘collar-pop’ caught on is because it brought a completely new question to the table. Pop culture (pun intended) jumped at the chance for partisanship by asking themselves “to pop, or not to pop?”
This is a prime example of relative fashion-‘anti-poppers’ wouldn’t exist if there weren’t ‘poppers.’ In other words, if we could all get what we want in universal dress, we’d lose the controversy we crave and the necessity to create our own style.
So, how do we stay unique and get what we want? I suggest we embrace our impulses and remember not to take ourselves too seriously. Wear your Eagles shirt as a nod to your newly established status as a tortured fan, or your Red Sox cap as a wink of pride that says, “Remember us?” Sport leg warmers and leggings as a throwback to the 80s, letting everyone know that you’re not apologizing for anything, let alone your fashion.
There is no reason why indulging your style now will have to be something to feel guilty about later. Recognize that fleeting fashion, like fleeting wants, can have a cathartic effect, and sometimes might just communicate you in your own moment in time better than anything else. Be yourself and don’t apologize, and, like Mick Jagger concludes, sometimes you may just stumble on something timeless, something you may just need.