I work in a warehouse, so we don't have too stringent a dress code. Requirements tend to be pretty loose; so long as one is wearing closed toe shoes, a top, and a bottom, it's fine. That is to say it was fine.
One of my coworkers is a fan of My Little Pony. Her love encompasses both the current Friendship is Magic and the original incarnation that I remember from growing up with a little sister. Not content to contain this love of MLP to her own wardrobe, she attempted to rally the owners of our company to her cause and institute "My Little Pony Monday", the gist of which is that everyone comes to work in an MLP t-shirt. There was grumbling. There were protestations. People swore it would never happen.
Long story short - I'm currently wearing one of my two My Little Pony t-shirts.
That is not where the story ends. Since this policy went into effect, there has been a series of somewhat subtle changes. When MLP Monday started, it was pretty begrudging. Often the guys, myself included, would make sure to have another layer to wear around, especially once we left the building. I know I was worried what other people might think, which is pretty stupid considering that, at 34, I am the youngest of the four men engaging in this behavior. I should really be beyond this kind of irrational fear, especially given that when asked what I was afraid "people" might think, I wouldn't have been able to come up with anything but stammering and looking at my shoes.
As time has gone on, I've come to embrace it. I often change the background on our work computers, and I go right along with the theme on Mondays. At first I put op Cthulu pony mods, or pictures of people sculpting the bone structure into half of one of the figures, but those searches wound up with us stumbling upon "brony" culture, which in turn pointed our collective attention at some really funny stuff. I really like the sense of humor this fandom has, especially when it is pointed back at themselves.
Now one of my more ardently anti-MLP coworkers is thinking of picking up a "Game of Ponies" t-shirt. It's funny, creative, and would complement his Dr. Who MLP mash up shirt nicely. We don't even think about it anymore, other than to remember to dress to code and think of fun things to pair with MLP on a google image search.
Which leads me to today. I was out picking up sushi at a nice local market, and the kid behind the counter complimented my shirt and asked where I got it. I looked down, remembered what I was wearing, and got a little flustered. This has now happened to every one of the men I work with - we've all been out in public when some young guy has commented that they think what we're doing is cool.
Not going to lie, I was a bit embarrassed. I don't watch the show, so I'm kind of a false fan. I told the kid my boss got it for me online, and the tag line should help him track it down (Keep Calm and Brony On). Now that I'm over my initial stammering, I'm pleased this happened. In all cases, when a kid has spoken up to me or my coworkers, that kid has been male. In every instance, this interaction has been exceedingly positive - these kids love running across an adult Brony.
And I think that's awesome.
My own chagrin at being "caught" in a shirt is really a vestige of when I grew up. Boys were not supposed to play with girl toys, or like girl shows. This was not something anyone ever told me, but I also knew what happened if one of us got too far into "different" territory. This was not how things were handled...in public. I mentioned my sister, with whom I played as a child. We had a lot of fun together, and were close her whole life. I played with her My Little Ponies, just like she played with my G.I. Joe stuff. Difference was, I would have probably stabbed someone before I would have admitted it.
It's nice to see that times change. I'd like to think that kids are feeling less pressure to only show excitement for what their parents or society deem "appropriate" for them. I wouldn't have been able to do it when I was a teenager.
The other side of this is helpful to see, too. While not being a fan of the show, I am pretty supportive of the fandom, but when I was asked by a stranger about it today, I balked. I still have a rather closed-minded, heavily gender-normed bias response. My first instinct was to deny that I liked my own t-shirt, because some part of me still thinks it's inappropriate. I'm going to work on that, as I'd like to be a positive role model.
Also, this is probably not the last time I'm going to spotted in Brony attire. At least it wasn't my Derpy shirt, but that's a story for another day.