Thursday, October 30, 2008

The experiment is this

The cliched No-Shave November is approaching.

Cliches are no fun, so I figured I'd up the ante to No-Change November. Now, I'm not really going to wear only one pair of clothes, but I do plan on wearing the same outfit--I'll just have multiples. To mollify some people, I'm thinking of making some of the shirts in different colors so that it's at least evident that I'm maintaining hygiene. Call it a social experiment; call it ease; call it what you will.

The reasons for this blatant ploy for attention?
  1. It saves time. What would it be like to not have to pick out what you're going to wear every day? It's a foray into the world of the civillian uniform.
  2. How will people react? Will the response be negative because of our adopted social requirement for diverse dress? Why do we have that, and what's the big deal?
  3. I've always wondered what life would be like with the unvarying wardrobe of a cartoon character.
At first it seemed narcissistic to draw attention to myself in this way, but then I thought, "Isn't it more narcissistic to spend so much time picking out clothes so that you can impress people?" Besides, it was Norman Mailer who wrote, "I think we keep ourselves writing by allowing the core of our vanity never to be scratched if we can help it."

This summer I developed a slight interest in fashion and dressing with taste, and now I think it's time that I explored the opposite end of the compass. Sometimes I subject myself to seemingly meaningless experiments because it gives me something to write about.

And it turns out that I'm not the only one. A.J. Jacobs, editor at large at Esquire, makes his living doing this kind of thing. A few years ago, he read the entire Encylopaedia Britannica and chronicled the experience in his book "The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World." Another time, he was completely honest with everyone for a month, and what's more, he said whatever he was thinking--no filter. The month of honesty, I'm certain, was more detrimental than what I'm undertaking. After that, he spent a year trying to live as biblically as possible (e.g. not trimming the sides of his beard and stoning adulterers). That experience is now a book called "The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible."

Coincidentally, as if to validate my experiment, today I just heard him in a podcast from The Moth talking about the time he outsourced his personal life to India in 2005. My biggest concern is that I'll run into an unforeseen event that will create serious problems for the integrity of this experiment. But then I think, "What would A.J. do?" Then I think, "Yeah, but he's getting paid."

1 comment:

absolutelyape said...

You'll probably find it's harder to maintain the same outfit - isn't it easier to pick from a bigger collection of clothes? You'll be doing a lot of laundry... haha. PS - Chris read "The Year of Living Biblically" - it's pretty good. Sam has it, you should borrow it if you have time!
Good luck w/ said experiment...