As a jaded, bitter (joking) local and part of the social landscape, I see my fair share of visitors. I studied tourism in college and worked in Waikiki hotels and restaurants too. I’m no anthropologist but I write what I see, and I see some fvcked up things.
I will try to explain some of my observations below.
If you go to some of Honolulu’s malls and major tourist areas, and look around, you will see certain patterns.
For example you will always have a happy family, milling about in matching aloha attire, shirts and shorts, with tacky plastic lei’s. This is almost prototypical, and often the image conjured when someone mentions a Hawaiian vacation. These folks…
God Bless them as they do administer millions of tourist-bucks into the main vein of our travel heart, however it makes me wonder what they are thinking. I’m certain these people don’t dress like this at home, so what makes it okay here?
Okay maybe so the family is in a far-away land with the kids in tow 24/7 and they need a symbol of their family status. There are probably better ways to identify your family. I’m not heartless and cold; I also understand how happy people are on vacation and how easily your guard is down. To that I say yes have fun, drink your beer, smoke your weed, ride the damn annoying DINGALING open-air trolleys that take up too much space on the roads, get in the Hawaii Party Bus. Go for brunch at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider, do the overpriced frankly disingenuous luau. You can do all that, and not look like Miss Hibiscus Boy 2011, you know.
Now let’s say you are Asian White Hispanic or a boy or a girl and you say “Man hold the fvck on. I’m cool, my people/crew/group would never commit such heinous acts of Hawaiian defamation!” WRONG. This weird total adoption of a fruity Hawaiian aesthetic knows no bounds. It’s as if this book of cheese was translated into every language, with an emphasis on American English.
Local Tip: remember single men who dress like this are labeled pervert explorers and weird pedo rapists straight away.
And from a practical standpoint, it’s safer for you. In Hawaii you are not likely to be stabbed or raped. Honestly it is about the robbery, theft and breaking and entering. I asked everyone I know if property they own has been broken into and pretty much every here has said yes. Tweakers on ice are shy and nervous about caught in act.
Really, if you look like your top AND bottom escaped from the cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, then you end up being that much more of a target.
Now I am not saying not to rock Hawaiian print. It is actually part of business casual dress here in the islands and pretty much aloha shirt, SOLID pants/slacks, SOLID dress shoes is the standard. I think whether or not you tuck in your shirt pretty much signifies business or business casual.
Below are some edgy totally cool alt ways to rock Aloha that is NOT reminiscent of Sexual Tourist magazine.
Can’t forget Hunter S. Thompson and his signature print!
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