If you have been reading about my recent adventures, you will know I had a five day trip away with my Blogger Babe, Boo.
We visited all the sights, tried the food, drank the local beer and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. For most part.
Now, I am not unrealistic enough to think we wouldn’t get some “second glances”. As I have detailed before, I get stopped everywhere I go. I get comments from total strangers and have been asked to have my picture taken more times than I have had hot dinners.
I don’t say this in a bragging way. Just that it is not usual to see many people my size wearing vintage style clothes and accessories going about their daily lives. I dress this way whether I am off to an event, or off to Sainsburys (other supermarkets are available)
I have had questions as to where I buy my clothes, how I do my hair, and how long I have been dressing like this. I enjoy chatting with people and am never too busy to answer the questions they have. I have always been a “people person” and one of the greatest things that blogging and wearing vintage style has given me, is a wealth of new and amazing friends.
One of them is Boo. We wanted to get away for a few days and Budapest looked ideal. And it pretty much was.
On our first evening we met a gentleman who made a television programme looking at the people on the streets of Budapest. He loved the way we looked and took some photographs. Well, that was a lovely start to our break.
Then the negativity started.
Neither of us could work out whether it was because we were both wearing vintage style dresses. Or because we had tattoos. Or because we were fat. Or even a combination of it all.
But, no matter where we went, we got stared at, had people point at us with a look of disdain on their faces, and even outright laughed at us. We had the double-takes, the sly nudges and the sniggers.
And we couldn’t work out exactly why. Were people really that dumbstruck by us?
The first day was mildly unpleasant. But being body positive and plus size proud, we shrugged it off. We met a lovely girl in the center of Budapest who came up to tell us how amazing we looked and how unusual it was to see people dressing “differently”
The second day we received far more stares than the first. As happy as I am in my size and style, I started to feel really uncomfortable. As much as I was saying how it didn’t bother me, in reality it really was starting to chip away at my confidence.
That evening we went on a River Cruise and met the lovely Anna and Matt, a Hungarian lady and English man who had just got married. Anna complimented our styles and we sat with them, celebrating their marriage and having a few Hungarian Beers.
Anna brought up the topic of our style and went on to tell us that although Budapest was getting better, it had been under the Soviet Rule for so long that people all dressed the same, looked the same and thought the same. Individuality was frowned upon, or seen as rebellious and this may be why we were receiving looks and derision.
It explained so much to us, and we realised that our style, although accepted in some places, didn’t fit into others.
The worst was still to come. We went to a lovely restaurant on our last night, and then decided to find the most famous Ruin Bar in Budapest.
For those of you wondering, a Ruin Bar is basically a ramshackle derelict building that gets taken over and turned into a bar/club. We had been told that the best one was called “Bar Szimpla” and was an Aladdin’s cave of the weird and the wonderful.
Well, we clearly would blend in? We were slightly different and unusual and so allegedly was this bar.
We located it and walked in. Every surface, nook and cranny was filled with random items. Doll’s heads, children’s electronic rides, hookah pipes, headless statues and a never ending array of graffiti. There were several bar areas and an even an old Trabant car right in the middle.
Upstairs was a terrace. The rickety stairs were lit with tea light candles. Clearly Health and Safety wasn’t a big point. There were pedal cars and a wall filled with white masks. Literally the strangest place I have ever been in.
Now you would think we fitted right in there. In reality we did not. When we walked in the bar, you could see all the heads swivel in our direction. If there hadn’t been loud music playing, I swear you could have heard a pin drop.
As we walked up to the bar to get a drink (I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea) people literally stopped talking to stare at us. We decided to have a proper look around the place even though I felt really uncomfortable.
We decided to go upstairs and we both said how awful and out of place we felt. I was feeling more and more disconcerted the longer I stayed there.
In the freakiest place in Budapest, we were the biggest weirdest freaks. A two woman freakshow.
Now, I love my cocktails. I had purchased a Long Island Ice Tea, my favourite ever cocktail. But I didn’t want it. I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. We looked at each other and decided it was time to go.
I can honestly say I could not have been happier at getting out of that bar. The whole situation was so unpleasant I literally was struggling not to cry. I know that sounds a bit over dramatic but it had affected me in a massive way.
My confidence was shot and I couldn’t remember a time that I had felt so negative about myself since I started on my body positive journey. It made me question my style and whether I looked foolish. If I was just “kidding” myself that Vintage is what I should be wearing.
We returned back to the UK and no-one batted an eyelid to the clothing we were wearing. I sat back to reflect on the experience I had encountered in Budapest.
I still felt upset about the experience in the Ruin Bar and it did make me question a few things. Then I remembered a really important thing.
Dressing and looking the way I do makes ME happy. I am not on this planet to worry about making everyone else happy. We have responsibility not to hurt others, however I don’t need to worry about their happiness in relation to me.
I love what I choose to dress like, I cultivate an array of accessories, bags and shoes. I practice my hairstyles. It gives me great pleasure. It makes me “me”. And I am not stopping that for anyone.
Now of course I am not going to tar everyone in the City with the same brush. We met a couple of people who were amazing and so complimentary of our style. We had some amazing interactions with people and Budapest is a wonderful city.
Would I go back again? Yes I would. It is a stunning place, with amazing scenery, food, architecture and history.
Would I dress the same as I do now. Yes I would. I shouldn’t change myself for anyone.
I would just be a whole lot more prepared for the reactions and negativity next time. A whole Country shouldn’t be blacklisted because of the attitudes of some.