An entry over at Writtenwyrdd's reminded me of my bad boy days. Or, at least, of days in which people seemed to think I was a bad boy.
First up, I was once denied entrance to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in NY's Chinatown. My three friends and I approached, and the restaurant owner took one look at me and refused to let us into the place, yelling and almost pushing so that I couldn't go in. Unfortunately, everything he said was in Cantonese, so I had no idea why. Later, back on the Upper East side where my friend lived, we went into a Tower Records and some security employee took me aside and started quizzing me on what I was doing there. He eventually explained the problem was my Doo-Rag. I had gotten it from a girl I liked and so was wearing it. It was a common thing for Ultimate Frisbee people to wear in 1989. Apparently, it marked me as a gangbanger. For one day in my life, I was a man people were afraid to have around.
I also used to get red-lined going through border crossings, particularly in my study abroad semester in China in '92. Oh, China was no problem, they just waved me through with a big huanying 'welcome'. But the U.S. routinely searched my bags. In Japan, they searched my bags and had me empty my pockets as well. It was bad enough that when I travelled with my mother and sister, we had a little routine to declare "family!" and let my mother do the talking when we hit the U.S. I finally asked some U.S. customs officer why I was being pulled over and over. Basically, I was college-age with a scraggly beard, and at that time carrying two guitars. I may have even had my Mao hat. It was clear I was a druggie. I always dress up for the border control now.