The way some people talk, you would think that being different from those around you was an inherently bad thing – particularly if the difference is externalized in the way you appear. Speaking from personal experience, this is at best a massive oversimplification, and at worst a covert attempt to enforce muffin-ness.
1) The Odd One Out is not easily mistaken for someone else. Ever been introduced under another’s name? Awkward for everyone. The only time I myself have ever been mistaken for someone else was the year I spent in uniform – school, not military. And speaking of the military, there are medals for conspicuous gallantry, so why not one for being gallantly conspicuous? This guy deserves one, for a start.
2) Conformists have to re-outfit themselves as often as the ‘in’ thing changes. The Odd One Out thus saves a packet on overpriced poor quality items and is still free to change their look whenever they please.
3) Ever played the game “I’ve Never”? It’s a party game – each player is issued with a limited number of tokens. Then each takes turns saying something they’ve never done. Anyone who has done that loses a token. “I’ve never owned a smartphone.” “I’ve never used a hair dryer.” “I’ve never owned a car.” Whatever it is that makes you the Odd One Out is now solid gold. Go forth and conquer.
4) Relative immunity from peer pressure. Peer pressure is basically just pressure to conform. The threat held over you is that you will be the Odd One Out if you don’t. You already are the Odd One Out, so what’s to lose by refusing to submit?
I am aware that ostracism can be a painful thing, but trust me, it isn’t friendship if you have to buy it at the cost of being yourself.
5) You’re outside the game. In Victorian times, the social code was so static it was published in books, which told you the correct thing to do in any given situation. But today, the codes and rules are not only unwritten but mostly unspoken – and unlike the Laws of the Medes and the Persians, they constantly change.
Frankly, I wouldn’t even play a game under those conditions (Mao is what they play in Purgatory), let alone live my life that way. Be yourself, be considerate, and if anyone mocks or scorns you, give thanks that you don’t have to dance to their contorted little tune – because you are the Odd One Out.
Agree? Disagree? None of the above? Your thoughts welcomed!