His t-shirt was purple and had the phrase ‘I (Heart) Haters’. I watched this slightly pudgy, unstylish oaf lumber towards me with this declarative statement plastered across his undefined chest, and I wondered; what about this person made him think that people would ‘hate’ or be jealous of him?
None of the typical adornments of money, success, or even general self-assuredness decorated his body; no gold watch, no $300 sneakers, no foreign manufactured automobile keys jingling in his hands, no beautiful woman hanging on his arm, no visible swagger in his step, no nothing. He was just some dude, proclaiming to the world his love for haters via his t-shirt.
It bothered me, that this man of no real distinction, had the nerve to think enough of himself that someone else would ‘hate’ him. The level of delusion it took to: 1) look at that t-shirt and think that it was cool 2) look at that t-shirt and think it applied to this person 3) look at that t-shirt and pay money for it 4) look at that t-shirt and wear it in public triggered a dull Pavlovian hate for some implied stupidity. It bothered me even further, that my reaction to this innocuous shirt, was to in fact ‘hate’ him. Furthermore, my hate towards him, made him (if I believed what his t-shirt said) actually love me.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; – Matthew 5:44
Who was this guy in a purple t-shirt spreading love to his enemies (this mysterious group of ‘haters’ that I found myself suddenly aligned with) in this post-millenial WWJD aesthetic? I wasn’t necessarily his enemy, but on the surface of things, literally the surface of his t-shirt, the sight of him in his self-centered delusional shirt, had put him in a place where we were not on the same team. I was indeed a hater, a hater of him, and because I was a hater of him, he loved me.
I felt tricked by this dude and his t-shirt. This dude totally flipped the negative energy I was sending his way, and turned it into a positive. I had been given a sermon on love in reverse, I was getting Diddy mindfucked right there in public and all I could do was take it. And despite whether or not this guy was intentionally or unintentionally teaching me something about judging books by their covers, or sending out negative energy, or that we should love everyone despite how they feel about us, I still hate that guy and his stupid shirt.