The downside of leaving the big urban area. On bullying

Hi there,

this will be a bit longer, you have been warned!
My last post was about the north of the Netherlands and how we do not do it enough justice. Still true. But there was also a bit of a bitter feeling connected to this post. Because the very day I took the pictures of the city, I experienced being laughed at and discredited for how I looked. You may say that I should ignore that person and just move on, but here is the thing. It was more than one!
In fact, I got "bullied" by four (4!) different people within less than three hours. That to me is a very disturbing frequency. I got laughed at, stared at and had people talking behind my back in a way that I HAD TO hear their comments which translate as: "Look at the crazy woman. What the f..k is wrong with her."
So after a whole family bursted out into hard laughter the minute I passed them - and yes, I was the only one there with them - I gave up, went home and did not leave the appartment for the rest of the weekend. I was just too ashamed of myself. But why? Why was I the one that felt bad? Why was I the one that felt like I was wrong, a failure and a freak?
Maybe I should show you my outfit that obviously caused all this. So here is what I am wearing when I go to 50s festivals and feel save:

This is NOT what caused the trouble!!!!
THIS is what triggered the violent behaviour in people. A polkadot dress, cardigan and ballerina flats.

Yeah, I really look like a crazy freak here, right !????! ;)

Honestly, I still do not get it. Maybe I should also mention that this was not the first time I got negative reactions on my outfit in Leeuwarden. I was also laughed at for wearing my 60's yellow coat with this outfit. Still, not really flamboyant I would say but enough to trigger something in other people.
I do know that Dutch people are very keen on wearing the latest trends. But why is it adequate for everybody to look alike? Its like an army of clone warriors coming at me every time I go into the city. Why does noone take people aside that look ridiculous in the latest fashion (of which we have heaps) and tells them how to choose clothes that fit their figure instead of  buying whatever the mags tell them is in now and therefore mandatory to wear?
What annoys me most is the fact that the Dutch are priding themselves with being so open minded. Which is true... if you stay in the Amsterdam area. The bigger cities in the west see so many people from so many different cultural backgrounds that being different does not bother anyone anymore. But the minute you leave that urban areas you are stepping back fifty years in time it seems. Now I am not saying that this is specifically Dutch. It just happened to me here and I have to find a way how to cope with it. Because like it or not, I will move to Leeuwarden in less than a year and the idea of running the gauntlet every time we hit the city scares me a lot.
Please let me know how you deal with situations like these. Do you confront people? Do you just ignore it and move on?

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