As I was shopping last month at the hot new Japanese store (UNIQLO, in Tokyo), I came across singer Pharrell Williams’ new line of clothing. Emblazoned across his t-shirts is the slogan, “The same is lame.” The message struck a chord with my Japanese friend Yuca. There is so much pressure in Japanese culture to conform to the norm. Yuca is a female adult gamer. In Japan, video games are for kids. When adults do play games, it’s mostly men. Because Yuca doesn’t fit the mold of what a Japanese adult woman should be, she is looked down upon as she pulls out her Nintendo DS and plays it on the train.
“The same is lame” message is one the Japanese need to hear. Here in the United States, it’s ok to be different. We love being individuals.
Or so I thought.
Fast forward to New York City’s gay pride. Mr. Waste and I attended several of the pride parties — one on the rooftop of a five-story building and another on Pier 26. Here we were, in the city that never sleeps, the city that gave birth to Lady Gaga and Andy Warhol, but as I looked around each dance floor, I found myself surrounded by an army of gay clones.
Everyone had their shirts off. Everyone had muscles and more muscles. Everyone had shaved chests. Everyone was wearing shorts. Everyone looked just like everyone else. It was so … lame. I actually walked up to someone wearing a shirt and thanked him for dressing different. It was refreshing.
Why is it that so many gays in New York City feel the need to spend all their time weightlifting at the gym and shaving their happy trails? When I picked up a local bar guide, it was filled with more of the same … photos of shirtless men at clubs. At the pride parade, every float was filled with a gaggle of beefy, shirtless, hairless men.
Granted, buff bodies are hot, but when everyone looks the same, it’s oh-so-boring and dull. My libido went from stimulated to numb in no time flat.
On Broadway, Mr. Waste and I enjoyed the Tony-award winning musical “Kinky Boots.” In the show, one of the main characters (Lola) says, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Now there’s a message so many New York gays need to hear — and all of us, for that matter.
Why do we spend our lives trying to be somebody else? Each of us is a unique creation. There will never be another you in the history of the world. Embrace that you’re different from everyone else. Life is too short to be chasing after someone else’s dreams and ideas of what the perfect person is like.
Same is lame. Being different is where it’s at.