I can never tell whether or not I’m a victim of fashion. Last week, I went to a 70’s themed house party, and wore my flare jeans, silver heels and roller girl t-shirt because it had “Since 1970” scrawled across the front of it. I already owned and regularly wear all of these things. My hair is long and straight and parted down the middle every day. Does that make me cool? I don’t know.
And I don’t really care, but recently that almost changed. I have been living in Melbourne for nearly five months now, and I had no idea that I was a walking victim of fashion.
It began as I was happily trawling through facebook status updates when I was notified of a comment a New Zealand “friend” of mine had posted on one of my recent pictures.
It wasn’t actually a comment. It was a barrage of accusations and outrage and horror of me having committed the SNEAN crime.
I was completely clueless. What’s a SNEAN? I posted back. I added a ha ha ha, but it was a nervously added ha ha ha; like someone laughing at a joke they don’t get.
Minutes later another frenzy of SNEAN accusations were posted from the Kiwi, with comments even more reactionary this time because not only had I SNEANED, I was also unaware that I had SNEANED.
Turns out, in New Zealand and Australia, jeans and sneakers worn together are the worst ever fashion crime. Jeans + Sneakers = SNEANS.
What the heck, man? They’re jeans and sneakers! What else am I supposed to wear? I replied to the comments on my SNEAN picture that I still didn’t really get why that was bad.
Ha ha ha I added to my posted reply. (Nervous, frowny face in real life, waiting for the next comment on my picture.)
Next thing I knew, the offended Kiwi had enlisted an army of fellow Kiwis and Aussies who, within minutes, all took their turn laughing and scoffing and commenting all over my SNEAN picture. It was horrible. I was a SNEAN offender being circled and attacked, and I still didn’t really understand why.
The Kiwis were the worst. Their comments were mostly in capital letters, and they were clearly in hysterics, screeching and laughing like spoiled bully schoolgirls.
FINE. Whatever, man.
I logged off and went about my day. Later that afternoon, the unfriendly episode forgotten, I was walking to the grocery store. I was thinking of yummy food to buy. I was probably humming along to my iPod.
Then suddenly, as I crossed the street, I looked down, and noticed what I was wearing. SNEANS.
For the first time ever, I felt shame in my shoes. It was a very bad feeling. Like a little kid who is getting scolded for doing something they didn’t know was wrong.
I looked around quickly. I was still in the middle of the street, and cars had stopped at the red light so that this SNEANED pedestrian could cross. I felt like they were laughing at me. If my head hadn’t then been hung in shame, I am sure I would have seen them pointing while they laughed at my SNEANS.
This has bothered me ever since. I feel like SNEANS are just a normal part of everyday wear, but now, thanks to that unkind incident, I feel really foolish and awkward. I don’t like those feelings. I like my jeans and sneakers.
But yesterday, I finally found redemption for my SNEANS in the form of a used, half-crumbled newspaper that commuters get free at train stations. Chris had left it lying on the kitchen table.
Plastered across page 17 was none other than the “Back to the Future” cast, and MJF’s face smiling up at me.
He SNEANED his way through the past, the future, and the wild, Wild West. He saved the day and the town and his girlfriend. He must have five generations of fans by now.
And he did it all in SNEANS.
This is why Americans fail to see a problem with SNEANS. It’s in our culture. And it’s cool.
Marty McFly made SNEANS cool. Forever. Therefore, I am cool in SNEANS.
The Kiwis and Aussies can eat their hearts out.