This weekend I played in a co-ed mushball tournament – for those unfamiliar with the sport of mushball, it’s 3 pitch played with a big, squishy ball. It was a fun time. I even managed to earn myself a free breakfast (and title of game MVP) and the team won some money and t-shirts for being division champs. Sitting in the beer tent with a cold one, I glanced around at some of my fellow ball players and noted quite a few of the gals wearing pretty darn expensive clothes and sunglasses.
Obviously, they have never caught a ball with their face or slid into second. If the expensive clothes wasn’t telling enough, the ten pounds of foundation gave it away: lots of the girls were dressing for show. I can’t help but think they were trying to show off their financial status by wearing really expensive and flashy brand name clothes. I supposed it worked to some degree, as I did notice the clothes.
In most situations, I don’t notice the brand name of people’s clothing, unless it’s written in big ole letters across something. I think I noticed the designer clothes at mushball partly because a lot of them had the names splashed across them and to me, and partly because it seems like a really odd place to wear your really expensive clothes to. I was coated with dust and dirt after our first game, so it’s the last place I’d want to wear anything expensive too. Maybe that’s just me though.
This got me thinking: people use clothing, vehicles, houses, and all sorts of things to turn other peoples’ head and say ‘hey, look what I bought/can afford’. I think everyone would agree that people use material things to show affluence, social position, or portray a certain lifestyle. I could probably write a whole series of posts about the underlying drive behind that sort of behaviour, but hey, it’s hot and I’m not a sociologist. What I find more interesting, is how variable people’s perceptions of money-shows can be. Designer clothing at a mushball tournament made me react with disdain and scorn. Yet, I glanced admiringly at the people who drove in with nice, new trucks. I know perfectly well though, there were other women there who took notice of the designer clothes and didn’t notice the trucks. When people post pictures of their travels on facebook, I tend to be a little (or a lot – depending on where they went) envious that they have money to spend on travelling. New furniture, meh. A fancy new computer will turn my head, but a great big house just makes me wonder who’s going to clean all that house.
I know my reactions to money-shows have changed as I’ve aged and likely will continue to. I used to be so jealous of the girls who parents bought them cellphones when they were 14, because my parents said it was an unnecessary expense. Who knows, maybe one day when I’m sitting in the lounge of retirement home, I’ll be envious of the old girl with the shiny new scooter. What shows of money turn your head?