The Hate for Tie Dye in Monochrome San Francisco

Hola a todos. Man, has this City changed. For the worse. These days, San Francisco often feels like a City of Assholes. I’m serious. The opposite of how The City felt during the former Gay Mecca days. In those days, San Francisco was a very laid-back Bohemian City where the unusual, rad and unique were appreciated and celebrated. Not today. Hell no! As bougi, pretentious, shallow and superficial status-obsessed millionaire and billionaire assholes have moved in and ruined San Francisco, they brought other trash with them. The City by The Bay is quite snotty, snooty, unfriendly, less safe — our crime rate is up; vehicle break-in are soaring — and San Francisco has become quite a conservative city. It wasn’t like this when “The City was owned by gay guys,” (so to speak and I’m referring to the Gay Mecca decades). No, this is what happens to a City when breeders/the straights take over. The “Anything goes in San Francisco” and “Live and Let Live” attitude of the former “Liberal San Francisco” Old City of past decades has unfortunately been replaced with a City that looks like it comes with a conservative dress code and one most appropriate for a traditional funeral: “Conform! Obey! Wear Black and Grey!” so that one looks like one is part of a large cult where the mandatory dress code is monochrome all-black or black and gray, no exceptions.

I said all of the above to preface this article that is really about Tie Dye shirts and people’s reactions to them in today’s San Francisco. Talking with mi amigo/my friend, I wanted his opinion. So I asked him: In your opinion, is it The City (San Francisco) that can’t stand Tie Dye, or is it just The Castro neighbourhood? He paused, then said: “As you well know, San Francisco is such a different city now. It’s become so conservative. If you’re not wearing all black or black and gray you’re considered ‘weird’ because you’re not wearing what the majority of people are wearing. It seems that many (most?) people today can’t stand the era of the 1960s for some reason, and they associate Tie Dye with the 60s. Therein lies the problem. To answer your question: It’s The City, not just The Castro. But I also get nasty looks over in Marin when I wear my Tie Dye shirts, but less weird looks over there. (Marin County is north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge). I got some smiles when I was shopping over there with my mother recently and a couple of people have said to me, “what a pretty shirt!,” but outside of shopping I got some weird looks. But as you know, I wear what I want. People can give me all the weird looks they wants; I don’t allow public opinion to determine what I wear. I don’t care what the monochrome cultists think.”

Me either. They can fuck off as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have the patience for them.

I can think of many clothing styles older than that of the 60s and I suspect if some people wore some of those, they would not be subjected to the same nasty, disapproving looks and under-the-breath trolls-style comments one can get when wearing Tie Dye.

The reader may be asking: So a person can’t wear Tie Dye in San Francisco? One can wear Tie Dye, but be prepared for hate. One can wear Tie Dye but not with the same comfort-level that one wears anything else, such as the Millennial-conformist black and gray “uniform.”

It’s ironic that San Francisco was the home of Tie Dye back in the Haight-Ashbury days. Apparently some people continue to make that connection with Tie Dye shirts — while others are ignorant of our history with Tie Dye — and seem repulsed when they think back on the 1960s, even though that era was a very positive time regarding progress made with human/civil rights. Have they forgotten that? Perhaps it’s not on their phones.

I think another reason for this hate of Tie Dye is because it was part of the Old City and this new lobotomised, culture-less and conservative San Francisco has tried its best to erase/sanitise the decades of history of the Old City from our history, as if it never existed. This new conservative city — including what’s left of the conservative Queer community here — seems very ashamed of and wants nothing to do with our radical past, which would make sense, because the conservatives have hated San Francisco for decades. So when someone sees Tie Dye, out come the claws: “Is Tie Dye coming back?” is a question mi amigo heard two guys snidely asked each other — clearly in disapproval — when they saw his Tie Dye shirt. He ignored them of course. Didn’t even look at them. He felt as though he was being bullied but he ignored the street trolls, as I would too. I do not respond to any hate or negative comments on the streets from assholes because I know where that can lead.

Piss off.

Also, most people today seem very afraid of beautiful bright colours — what’s up with that? who programmed that into the sheeple? — even when it’s a solid colour such as naranja/orange or lime green. And with so many nasty, judgmental troll-like people these days who take it upon themselves to be concerned with what somebody else is wearing, one can expect a snarl, weird looks or even, again, some quick snide words of hate directed at one when wearing colour.

I was wearing a Tie Dye shirt a few weeks ago on Market Street near Castro. I was standing waiting for the light to change. Here comes this guy who looks like he wants to walk right into me, and almost did deliberately so. He couldn’t see my eyes to see where I was looking because of my sunglasses, but I could see him. He gave me this nasty look and came within 1/4″ of brushing right up against me — it was a form of bullying — as he snarled looking down at my shirt and then rolling his eyes. He wanted me to know that he disapproved of mi camisa/my shirt. Apparently he lives under the illusion that I care what he thinks about me.

If I see something I don’t like or care to see, I look elsewhere rather than covertly or overtly hate on someone. But it seems that the street bullies/trolls don’t have the intelligence or maturity to do that. I often look elsewhere when I see the black and gray “uniform.” It’s just that no matter where I look, I still see it because that’s what most people are wearing.

As I was completing this article, mi amigo told me about an experience he had while shopping in a local store: He overheard two Millennials say, “Looks like Tie Dye is still ‘in’ here.” Just out of nowhere he heard that remark and the comment was made in a snide, pejorative manner. As I said: A City of Assholes. That’s how it often feels here these days. So mi amigo slowly and covertly looked around to see who was wearing Tie Dye. No one was wearing Tie Dye, including him. So what were these Millennials talking about? There were three people in the store. Mi amigo was wearing a bright orange t-shirt, and two other people were in the perfunctory and ubiquitous all-black funeral attire (the Cult-look, as I call it). Apparently these stupid-is-in Millennials don’t know what Tie Dye is. Pssssssst: Tie Dye is not a solid bright orange-coloured t-shirt, you judgmental Millennial basura. Why don’t you basura fuck off and go back where you came from, assholes — nobody invited you here anywhere — since you seem to prefer to live in a homogeneous city where everyone looks the same and is the same. Ugh. People! Ugh. Chau.—el barrio rosa

5 comments on “The Hate for Tie Dye in Monochrome San Francisco

  1. strangetimes

    not surprised to read about your experience wearing tie dye in sf today. i’m feeling very annoyed right now after reading an article about sf from the uk guardian. the writer who lives here in sf referred to “notoriously liberal san francisco.” how can a writer who lives here be so clueless? probably many sf residents think the city is still “notoriously liberal” because they live in their little cocoon world and haven’t paid attention. i thought of e-mailing her but then thought “why bother? why waste my time? would she even read it?” where does one begin to educate someone like that who lives here that this city is no longer “notoriously liberal?” it’s not my job to educate her. i guess one place to start would be that if this city were “notoriously liberal” you and others wouldn’t be getting hate for wearing your tie dye. a “notoriously liberal” city wouldn’t have elected lee twice or “scott penis” (as you’ve referred to him) for state senate or enacted the many anti-homeless laws or giving corporate welfare to tech companies, wouldn’t have allowed the eviction of “notorious liberals” to Oakland who’d lived here for decades, nor would a “notorious liberal” city want the gay mecca gone and sanitize the castro and turn it into breeder central. the writer of the article is asian and I’ve found many asians to be very conservative so maybe she’s never liked “notoriously liberal” san francisco and thought she’s slam it. it’s just that many people will read that and remain as ignorant about sf as she is.


  2. District Resident

    Amazing. Sounds like SF has changed so much to the point that it’s unrecognizable from its past. But that’s the goal isn’t it! A similar thing has happened here in DC. You’ve written about some of it so I won’t bore you, such as luxury condos down in SE where you used to go to one of the gay bars. Who would have ever thought they’d build luxury condos down there? DC used to be known as Chocolate City and now the Black population is less than 50% of the District’s population. It’s happened here too, but may be more extreme out there. We’ll welcome you back anytime you want to come and give you full rights as a District resident (except for representation in congress of course that none of us have — “taxation without representation”) if that’s any consolation. :-)

    1. el barrio rosa Post author

      Hola District Resident, gracias for the kind invite. Appreciate it. A guy in my apartment building was back visiting the District a year or so ago and he told me, “it’s nothing like it was.” Last week I was reading about this million dollar-plus condo building that just opened near Dupont Circle. The same type of sterile-looking, cheaply-built and overpriced shit they’ve built here for suckers with no taste and are continuing to build (with all the cranes we see). It was advertised as being “one-half mile from the Dupont Circle Metro station.” I thought: Would people with that much dinero/money to throw away typically walk a half-mile to get to the Metro? Maybe so, but I would think they would be using some other more expensive and exclusive means of transportation, Dahling. The good news is that at least The Orange Man won’t be going to the Kennedy Center Honours in November because of a fear of a boycott from those being honoured. Norman Lear had already said he wasn’t going to the event where the artists were supposed to “rub shoulders” with the insane basura in la casa blanca. BTW, I saw a comment from one of his disciples who told someone to go back to the country of Europe. Good to hear from you again and gracias for the nice comments.

  3. E in Sunnyvale

    Tie-dye is of course associated with hippie culture, 60′s, etc… From everything I’ve seen, yuppies see hippies as public enemy number one. Well, I think you hit the nail right on the head again. The yuppies purchased SF and see anyone wearing tie-dye as a symbol of something they hate: hippies, freedom, leftist ideals, environmentalism, art, free culture, etc… A direct threat to the yuppie’s acquisition of wealth and status, uncontrolled capitalism, police state, conformism. Hence the main reason for the hate.

Fin. The End.