Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

The previous time I was in New York, I was visiting Bruce for his birthday.  I was also detoxing from a relationship, picking up the pieces of my life scattered all over the Northern and Southern California.  My life had changed a lot since the breakup: I found a new job, a new group of friends, and I was looking for a way to reclaim the identity that was more or less being compromised while trying to make someone happy that I wasn’t designed to make happy.  I wasn’t necessarily looking to find that identity in New York, but more or less it found me.

I wasn’t planning ont doing a whole lot of shopping in New York but Bruce really wanted to take me out to some shops that he thought I’d really like.  So we made our way to SoHo and we made our way into the Kid Robot and Bathing Ape stores, and I promptly dropped a large amount of cash on a t-shirt and a hoodie.  All the colors and the designs just jumped out at me and I was immediately addicted.  Even though I wasn’t known for having a lot of nice clothes at the time, I decided right than and there that I was going to start caring more about how I looked.  Not in an attempt to be vain, but in an attempt to showcase my sense of style.

I definitely feel like this move was spurred by the lack of self I was feeling after the breakup.  If I was in a better situation in my life, I probably wouldn’t have needed the void filled by something so flashy and expensive, but I don’t regret this part of my journey at all.  Besides, if I had never fallen in love with these threads, there would never be a Technicolor Wardrobe.  Of course, now that I’m in a better place and now that priorities have shifted, I’m at sort of a crossroads whether I want to sacrifice investing in my fashion sense for other pursuits in life.  Perhaps it’s time to stop wearing “children’s clothes” (friendly jab), and grow up with more practical clothing.

This decision has been aided by the close of the Bathing Ape store in Los Angeles.  I no longer have a store in a semi-convenient area and buying clothes through their website is limited and pricey.  This is why I needed to visit the Bathing Ape New York store on my most recent visit.  I needed one last look at the clothing line that had helped me rediscover my swagger and perhaps buy my last article of clothing from there.  I wanted to say “goodbye”, perhaps not forever, but at least for the time being.

I had only brought a few shirts for my trip, knowing that Bruce would take me shopping and I would probably buy shirts for the rest of my trip.  We hit up a couple of stores before making our inevitable and bittersweet stop at Bathing Ape.  I was wearing my Bathing Ape Kid Cudi t-shirt because it’s 1) one of my favorite t-shirts and 2) the most recent Bathing Ape t-shirt that I had purchased and I wanted to show it off to Bruce.  We walked in to the store, and before I could even start checking out the clothing selection, a man walked by me and told me that he really liked my shirt.  I told him “thanks”, and as he walked past me, a bunch of high school kids in the store started to get really excited.  I looked back at the man and realized that the man who had commented on my shirt was Kid Cudi himself.  I was wearing my Bathing Ape Kid Cudi shirt while standing in the Bathing Ape store with Kid Cudi.  It was a surreal experience to say the least.

As the workers at the store ushered everyone out, for some reason, Bruce and I were allowed to stay.  I looked around and eventually Bruce and I were able to take some photos with Kid Cudi, who was really nice to us.  I finally picked out a t-shirt for myself and a couple of small things for Allison and Charis for their “thank you” gifts for the upcoming show and headed out.  We went to a few stores after that, both of us dumbfounded by what had just happened.  We had no prior knowledge of Kid Cudi’s whereabouts that day and I didn’t wear that shirt with any expectation that I was going to meet him that day.  Everything had just lined up perfectly and we were obviously in high spirits because of it.

Whether or not this is the end of the Bathing Ape era for me, it has obviously ended on a high note.  I might look back on some of my shirts and wonder why I even liked some of them or I might wonder how I allowed myself to spend what I spent on them, but I will never regret this era in my life.  This was meant to happen and if it doesn’t have a major positive effect on my life, I feel that it at least help set up whatever that next stage is.  I won’t go as far as to say that meeting and shopping with Kid Cudi changed my life, but I do think that it did show me that I’m doing at least something right.

When I worked at certain retail store, I had this co-worker who drove a pick up truck, listened to metal, and never smiled.  He mainly worked in the back of the store and I had no problem with him, because he was a pretty nice and quite guy and also frankly, because I quit around the same time that he was getting hired.  Since I didn’t know him very well, I was surprised to find out later that he had started to garner a strange reputation at work.  Story has it, that during his 15 minute breaks, he would head over to the break room computer and spend the entire 15 minute break fixated at pictures on cuteoverload.com, a website that is devoted to adorable pictures of animals including, but not exclusive to, kittens.  Maybe since I never had the pleasure of getting to know the guy, I found this to be peculiar behavior, but perhaps he was just a cliché, ice cold exterior – total teddy bear interior type of guy.  If cute kittens make him happy, than who I am to judge?

I don’t have any hard statistics but I’m guessing that this guy is the exception opposed to the rule when it comes to cuteoverload’s demographics.  I’m pretty sure the target demographic for the website is my friend Susan, a girl who will occasionally blurt out phrases like  “that panda is so cuuuuuuute!” I introduced Susan to this website one day and she immediately thought it was the best thing ever.  While I typically don’t find myself in front of a computer staring at puppies for hours on end, I can see the appeal for others and how it can be considered therapeutic and uplifting.  I on the other hand derive pleasure over unaware humiliation.  I wouldn’t say that I’m completely mean spirited, but I admit that I like to laugh at people who look silly (or in harsher words, “like crap”), when it’s not out of irony.  Whether it be the girl at the farmer’s market with the fanny pack and Punky Brewster inspired wardrobe or those girls that have just walked out of the club taking pictures of themselves while more closely resembling the appearance of clowns than 20-something year old attractive girls, it’s all giggles to me.  Actually, it’s the latter case that has given me a golden idea for a brand new website: makeupoverload.com

Makeupoverload.com would be a site much like cuteoverload, where the content would be based on what people upload.  It could be of friends, family, (for legal reasons, I guess I shouldn’t encourage this) strangers  or even yourself if you’re willing to admit that you had a phase where you caked yourself out in far too much face paint.  The site could serve as a giant PSA telling women across the globe that “while makeup can make you look better, it can also make you look a lot worse.” or at the very least it could tell you “your friends think you look stupid.”, which is probably just as important.  I see girls walking down the streets of downtown Fullerton taking pictures of themselves all the time, so there’s definitely not a lack of photos being taken, we’d just need to entice people to upload them to our site.

Of course, now this is where we have to have some sort of flimsy business model.  How do we entice people to upload pictures?  How do we pay for the server space once this site gets going?  The most obvious answer is to sell ad space.  What kind of companies would want ad space on our website?  Ironically, makeup companies probably would.  This probably doesn’t sound like it makes any sense at first, but do you think any of these girls in these pictures, even if they found out that they were on the site, would think that “no more makeup” is the answer to their humiliation?  Of course not, they would probably think that better and more expensive makeup would be the cure to their problems, and perhaps we could get sponsored by a makeup company and give the most trashy looking picture of the week/month some sort of makeup kit as a prize to entice people to submit more pictures to our website.  While this could be construed as a form of ouroboros, what form of capitalism isn’t?

This site is still in the dream stage and is far from becoming a reality, but I hope that in due time, I will be able to see my dream come to fruition.  While Susan and my old work acquaintance can lose themselves in the bliss that is kitten wearing a beanie with a propellor on top, us bitter old kooks could use a site like mine.  Sure we have peopleofwalmart.com and lamebook.com, but I believe there is room for makeupoverload.com too.