As the internet community celebrates the unique and interesting look of NASA’s Bobak Ferdowsi by created memes in his honor, we meet another professional who looks massively different to the majority of others who work in his profession.
Patrick Brysbaert is a lawyer, but with his Mohawk hairstyle, numerous facial piercings and preferred attire of leather pants, he might just be the most eccentric lawyer in the world.
When you look at Brysbaert, he looks more like he should work in a tattoo or piercing studio, or behind the bar in a punk music venue, not in the courthouse. But he feels that lawyers represent all members of society and therefore their appearance should correspond to this.
Brysbaert told Nieuwsblad that a few years ago, he had looked like every other suited and booted professional in the trade, but when he broke up with his partner he quit his job and started running a café in Antwerp, Belgium.
It was during this time of “true liberation” that Brysbert got a full back tattoo, a Mohawk hairstyle, pierced his face several times and dared to show the part of personality he had been repressing for so long.
Despite being happy with his self-expression, Brysbaert yearned to go back to the legal profession. So a decade ago he decided to get back into it, but to do it on his own terms. He said going back to his job as a lawyer with his new look was the hardest thing he had ever done, even harder than admitting he was gay.
However it was something he just had to do and eventually he became accustomed to the fact that some of his colleagues would discuss his appearance behind his back. He soon realized that his clients didn’t care what he looked like as long as he did his job properly.
During one case, a judge told him that piercings did not belong in the courthouse and he was worried that this opinion might influence his verdict on the case. However he was pleased to say that the judge did what he was there to do and reviewed the legal content that was presented to him – not judge him on his appearance.
Brysbaert says he doesn’t look the way he does for shock factor, he just wants to be himself and thinks that more people should be like this. He feels like he is showing people that it is ok to be yourself, regardless of your profession and helping others to follow suit.
As someone who has piercings, tattoos and the odd crazy hairdo, I am often judged by people who look “normal.” I have often thought of this as a kind of humanity filter, because more often than not, the kind of person who is going to judge someone because of their appearance is the kind of person that will have the kind of opinions and ideals that I’m not going to agree with anyway! Saves me a lot of hassle and bother getting to know people only to discover that they are small-minded, bigoted or backwards.
I think the world needs way more Bobak Ferdowsi’s and Patrick Brysbaert’s and really admire their individuality and honesty!