Recently I put on a pair of odd socks by mistake. They’d accidentally been coupled together in the wash. I didn’t realise until it was too late, and they were on my feet and in my shoes.
I felt uncomfortable.
Not physically. Psychologically.
Perhaps it’s a streak of OCD. Maybe it’s social conditioning. But I couldn’t stop thinking about my mismatching socks.
I was acutely aware that they looked odd.
And whereas some people wholeheartedly embrace regularly wearing odd socks (even deliberately buying them that way), I was experiencing inner turmoil.
So I took a philosophical approach.
Is There More To Odd Socks Than Meets The Eye?
Wearing odd socks is more than just having a quirky dress sense. It’s more than laziness, or losing items in the wash, or a nonchalant approach to footwear. It says a lot about you as a person.
It begins with a pejorative.
What’s Wrong With Being Odd?
“Haha! You’re the odd one out!”
“He’s a bit odd.”
It’s strange how “odd” is seen as a negative, almost derogatory, term.
What’s wrong with being odd? Apart from not being divisible by two?
Well, actually, that could be the likely source of the problem.
The Safety Of Symmetry
We love things that are even. Symmetry is comforting. Just look in the mirror.
Two eyes, ears, arms, legs, etc.
Same number of teeth, toes, fingers, ribs, nostrils, on each side.
And anything singular is bang in the middle. Nose, belly button, naughty bits.
The things we see, day in, day out, are what we guide ourselves by. Symmetry and even numbers represent safety and normality.
That’s why odd is considered unappealing.
It’s safer to conform and be part of the crowd than risk standing out.
After all, isn’t it better to have balance?
A world where people know their place — in line with everyone else.
Easier to control.
We can’t have hordes of freethinking, free-spirited individuals running wild in society now, can we?
That just wouldn’t do. It would be chaos.
Or would it?
Oddity Is Just Another Word For Unshackled Creativity
Take a look at a Picasso painting. Odd.
David Bowie. Odd.
Salvador Dalí. Very odd!
And yet, there’s little doubt that they were masters at their craft. Creative geniuses with a different world view.
It’s this distinctiveness that sets them apart from everyone else. That’s why they are memorable. Revered.
Because they’re not like everyone else.
They embraced being odd. It allowed creative freedom. And, as a result, it helped them stand out from the crowd and carve their own, unassailable, creative niche.
Stick Out Like A Sore Thumb
Negative idioms like this abound. Conformity is the message. Odd is not good.
Setting yourself apart IS a good thing.
Don’t be swayed by what other people think or say. It is merely an opinion.
It’s ok for people not to agree with you.
Don’t feel you have to shy away.
Be the odd one out.
Wear odd socks.
You’ll certainly get noticed.
And who knows where that might lead!
Main Image Courtesy of Michael Wright on Unsplash