bush goggles: noun
1. referring to a state of mind that occurs after one has been confined in the woods for a prolonged period of time with the same group of people
Bush goggles affect us in a few different ways: how we view ourselves, how we view others of the same sex, and how we view the opposite sex.
How We See Ourselves
There aren’t many mirrors in camp, so it is easy to forget what you look like. And since you can’t actually see what you look like it, it is easy to pretend that you look much better than you do in reality. This is one of the best things about bush goggles – you see how filthy and unkempt everyone else is while still maintaining that you yourself are quite well put together. You couldn’t possibly look as filthy and exhausted as everyone else, so you imagine yourself in a much more sympathetic light. What looks like a dirty bird’s nest to those around you is imagined as a sexy, voluminous mane in your own mind; a tired face made streaky from a mixture of dirt, sunscreen and sweat is believed to be fresh, youthful and glowing; and ripped, bleach-stained clothing is pictured as laid-back and cute.
How We See Others
Beauty is not something a girl can paint onto herself in the woods – she must earn it. A girl is not beautiful because of how polished she is; she is beautiful becauseof how unpolished she is – dirt and grime are marks of beauty that one can be proud to wear. If a girl spends time each morning putting on makeup, fixing her hair and creating her outfit before she ventures out onto the block, she is thought ridiculous by the other women in camp. On the other hand, if she crawls out of her sleeping bag into yesterday’s clothes and migrates to the breakfast table in a matter of minutes, she is highly regarded by the other members of her sex. In a sense, disheveled women love company much in the same way that misery loves company; the more ragged those around you become, the more ragged you yourself are allowed to be.
How We See the Opposite Sex
Despite knowing that the men look sun-wrecked, tired, and overly too hairy, most of the women in camp can’t help but feel that many of the men are attractive. Men aren’t restricted when bush goggles are present. It is somehow socially acceptable to look like a patchy criminal when in the woods. The men appear to unite in order to convince the women that a sketchy outward appearance is completely normal. Women begin accepting wild beards, unwashed bodies (for weeks on end) and terribly unflattering clothing as the norm. In fact, they soon start believing that these men are not only tolerable, but handsome! Rather than shunning men that one would literally run away from in the real world, one instead finds them to be surprisingly attractive. I can only describe this to be the result of careful acts performed by a mind-ninja (read: a veteran treeplanter).
One day I will write about what happens when a group of bush-goggle wearing planters emerge from the woodsun into a world of non-bush-goggle wearing individuals.