ZOERSEL - He met the walking cliche image of the average lawyer. Blue-gray suit, hair neatly ironed backwards, expensive car. Ten years ago he threw that haunting mask of himself. "I wanted no place left to hide. With mohawk, piercings and tattoos I'm finally myself, "says Patrick Baert Brys (54).
With its distinct style, black leather pants and yellow legerbottines would expect Patrick Baert Brys strikes. Especially in combination with its stately, black gown. And yet hardly anyone turns the head, when he poses for our photographer on the steps of the Antwerp courthouse. As if the lawyer Zoersel fused with the furniture.
"In the beginning they thought I was sick. Now they have long been common. (Smiles) But opinions remain divided, of course. For one, the. For others, our profession requires neutrality. It is their right to find it, but neutral impression is not determined by a two-piece suit. However, by the effort you every day makes. "
Relationship on the rocks
Patrick was once different, he thought differently. "Twenty years ago I fitted perfectly into the picture. My body was not decorated. I had short hair, wore a classic suit and came with a thick Saab to court. Well used, but knew no cat. When my relationship broke up, I went through a deep valley. I had to get out there and operated a café in one year. I had big wings on my back tattoo. An erotic scene on my shoulder. Finally I could show my piercings. A true liberation. But while I got lessons in humility. Around our profession is an aura of aloofness, but ultimately we are only a lawyer. "
But Patrick knew that he could never really wean the legal profession. "I missed it. But for me that meant returning to the podium so long that I had stepped up to stop. Ten years ago I once again step into my trusty ivory tower. "
With trembling knees, though. "It's the hardest thing I ever did. Harder than play for my homosexual orientation. Imagine: a classic, stiff portly man to a straight punk, in just one year. With mohawk, piercings, chains and a polar bear striking claw around the neck. Yes, their mouths fell open. And the president wanted me - understandably - to-face talk. Because it is lived. "
Colleagues learned to live with them. Even his customers see no problem in its more distinct appearance. "My clientele consists of all kinds of people. They appreciate me for my expertise. The rest they find irrelevant. Maybe there is gossip behind my back, but that does not bother me. It sometimes happened that a judge told me he piercings really can not find the legal profession. I feared the worst for that judgment, but eventually he correctly judged. The judges do what they supposed to do: review the file to its legal content, not the outward appearance of the pleader. "
Regretted his metamorphosis has not Kempen outsider. "I'm really not to shock, I do this because I genuinely like. Appearance is not important for me also, I just want to be myself. And so abnormal it is now not. It would be nice were some of my colleagues follow suit. All I want to force anything. Little by little I try to pave the way. And we will get there. This gown can stay, but people need to dare to show you what underneath. The lawyers representing the whole society. Well, people hear when I'm with. "
54 is he now. And although you would not say, Patrick wanted his hair long then lost. "I come to rest in the woods, play classical music for hours on my piano and practice shamanism. I want to continue later. Now I enjoy my job but that discussion and you constantly have to get right, that's all very tiring. Then I think people also another way to help. Away from the hustle and bustle. Away from the theater. "
Whether he still will have a mohawk? "I'm not Nana Mouskouri," he jokes. "She will die with her long black hair and striking spectacle. I do not. That would be boring. "(Laughs)
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