It was in my first year of teaching and I was heading off to tackle my 8.30 drama class.
I grabbed my basket where I kept all my teaching supplies. Whiteboard markers, erasers, work sheets for my lessons and an ancient pencil tin that had Leonardo DiCaprio on it. I’d had it since I was 16 and it never occurred to me to replace it. It had a photo of Leo as Romeo in R+J. I loved that movie. I used to watch the fish tank scene on repeat to the point where my VHS tape would go all fuzzy at that part because I’d watched it so often. At some point my best mate had written Mrs Carly DiCaprio on the inside of the tin in white out. You know, so I could get used to the name before I married Leo and we had a billion babies.
I let the students into my classroom and we all sat down in a circle to start the lesson and one of my students said she needed a pen. I tossed her my pencil tin and continued on with the lesson. She grabbed the tin wide eyed and clapped her hand over her mouth, stifling a giggle. She covertly showed the tin to her friend, giddy with glee at discovering this supposedly shameful artefact.
‘Something funny?’ I asked her.
She laughed and said ‘Sorry miss, but you’re such a loser! Look at this!’ and she showed the class my mini Leonardo DiCaprio shrine. The class all started laughing.
I can’t remember what I said at the time, I would have laughed it off or told the student she was being rude or something like that. I really didn’t give a shit what a 17 year old thought of my pencil tin, or anyone else for that matter.
What fascinated me was that fandom seemed to be a shameful thing. It wasn’t the first time someone had shamed me over something I enjoyed and I’d witnessed countless other incidences where people were teased for liking the wrong thing. A daggy band, a childish TV show or even the wrong football team.
I’ve spent my life liking the ‘wrong’ stuff. Babysitters Club books, musical theatre, Matchbox 20, Archie Comics, Degrassi High, board games. I was alone in most of the things I liked in high school but I don’t know if that’s because I was truly the only person who liked those things or if I was the only person who was brave enough to admit it.
This happened to me again recently when I wore my Stay Out Of The Forest MFM singlet to the gym. Someone asked me about it and I said ‘Oh it’s a line from a murder podcast I listen to.’ The guy who asked me said ‘A murder podcast? About murder? Why would you listen to that???’
I went straight home that day and bought the Murderino dress I had my eye on because you know what? Being a fan is rad. When you love something so much, you literally want to wear it on your sleeve. There is not a shred of anything awful or shameful in fandom. Sports teams, bands, designers, celebrities, video games. It’s such a positive thing and it’s a dick move to shame people about the stuff they love.
I’ve never really been the kind of person who gave a shit what other people think of me but I know lots of other people do and they can’t really do much about it. I get really sad when I think about other people having their feelings hurt over someone teasing them for liking something. Isn’t that just a heart breaking thought? I figure the best thing to do is to proudly be a fan of the things I like and make fandom universally cool, no matter what it is that you’re a fan of.
Here’s how to wear a band tee like a boss
1. Get an oversized one and wear it as a dress
I once had a giant adult sized XXXL Madonna band tee with her face emblazoned across the front and it made for the best summer casual dress. If tees aren’t your thing, go oversized on that situation and make it a dress instead.
2. Have it tailored
I got lucky with dress as it fits perfectly but if it didn’t I fully intended on getting it tailored. I know getting a t-shirt tailored sounds bat shit crazy but if I can pay a tailor $20 to take it in at the sides and maybe widen the neckline a little it goes from being totally unwearable to totally awesome. If this didn’t fit the way it did, it would have been taken to the tailors immediately.
3. Layer it
I used to work with a woman who wore band tees tucked into work pants with high heels and she always looked amazing. It was her signature look. Sometimes she knew and loved the bands, sometimes she just liked the artwork but it was such a fab style. If you’re a regular pants wearer, give this a go, it looked ace.
This outfit was worn for a day of client work and a trip to Ikea to get moving boxes… we’ve been looking at moving for a while and got a house this week that we love. Stay tuned. There will be a house tour soon!
Thought for the day? Love the stuff you love and never apologise for it. Also don’t shame people for liking things because quite frankly, that’s just weird. And yes, I spent a good 20 minutes Googling Leonardo DiCaprio for this post. Good times.
So tell me…