Reena asks: Is it weird than more than 50% of my wardrobe is black? I’m not into black magic, I’m not evil, not depressed, not goth, not trying to hide my weight. I wear black, bcoz I love black. That’s it. But I’ve noticed how ppl stare at me and the looks on their faces. I mean, I don’t wear everything black all the time, I always do match it with other colours too, but they look at me like I’m some kind of a villain or something. Also, I’m from India, and ppl here are conservative. I hate being stared at, so how do I deal with the unwanted attention?
Hi Reena –
You might have heard the partial-truth that dogs don’t see color. Actually, we just don’t see hues; we see something like what you see in a black-and-white movie – so a similar shade of red and green look just the same to us. (I was very excited a while back to hear a movie was coming out called “Fifty Shades of Grey,” thinking this was something made for us pups, but Handsome explained to me that it was more like a very rough obedience class!)
So the fact is, we dogs see black in just the same way you people do. But the difference is that it doesn’t have the same meaning to us. After all, we dogs come in all sorts of colors, which don’t have anything to do with any choices we’ve made. Black Labrador Retrievers are a lot like Blonde Labrador Retrievers, you know? But we can develop prejudices of sorts. For example, I was attacked by a full-grown black dog when I was a puppy; years later, Handsome was walking me near a very large black Newfoundland, and I suddenly found myself on my back nervously submitting to her, although she was perfectly nice; I had learned as a puppy to be scared of black dogs that were that much bigger than me!
What I’m getting at is that black clothes are popular for many reasons – including the ones you mention (goth fashion, depression, making one look thinner) – but also because people think they often just look great. And you might have looks that particularly look great in black, and maybe not as great in certain other colors. But you’re dealing with the meanings that are in other people’s heads, not your own.
Or are you?
Is it possible that those people are looking at you because they find you pretty? Or maybe there’s something else that’s affecting them, besides your color choice? I find people are very good – too good – at coming up with ideas of what other people are thinking about them. Not always correctly!
But let’s say those people actually are bothered by your black clothes. Well, then I’d say your best way to avoid being stared at is to dress the way they do. Do they wear white? Bright colors? Denim? Brown?
Or, here’s my real advice: TRY dressing the way you see them dress. And see how they react. If you find there’s no more staring, then I’d say to make sure you have enough of those clothes to be able to wear them any time you especially want to not be looked at. And on other days, when you feel a bit more bold, then throw on those black clothes and flaunt your individuality!
And if my suspicion is right, and you still get looked at when you’re in those more conformist outfits, then we’ll have to look for other reasons.
I will throw in, though, one story about Handsome. When he was in college, he took a class with the oddest group of students he’d ever seen. His first day, he just stared around the room: there was the nerdiest guy he’d ever seen, there was a woman who looked deeply angry, there was a girl he thought was the prettiest girl at school but was deeply shy… and eventually he had a realization. That to anyone else, the weirdest-looking person in the room would have to be HIM, because he was the one staring at everyone in such shocked amazement!
So try those other clothes out, and let me know what happens. But whatever does, don’t let anything keep you from being yourself. And expressing it when it best serves you. Believe me, I’m not stopping barking for anyone!!!
All my best,