As a photographer, and a motorcyclist, I've seen the "gear is everything" attitude at its extremes. I find people who are too wrapped up in gear to be very boring, at least in photography. Photographs are about stories, not cameras. But everyone is in it for different reasons. Sometimes, if you learn to listen, the gearheads can teach you some neat things. Get past the differences and see what you can learn from each other, then everyone goes on their way, in their own way.
On shiny vs. worn, for whatever reason I have a very specific preference for stuff that looks well used. I mean, I buy used to save money, and prefer that it looks quite shiny and almost-new when I pull it out of the box, but I know it won't stay that way after I've had a go with it, and I don't mind that at all. I think it's the George Lucas "Star Wars" mentality, where all the hardware looks more realistic if it's got some battle scars on it. I don't know, lol. But I have a saying, I can't use what I can't abuse.
I beat up on my gear, from cameras to outdoor wares to tools for my bike. I keep my camera as decent-looking as I can because of the need to upgrade digital bodies every few years, and the bike, though mostly unwashed, stays dent-free, but for most all else it almost feels like it's not mine until there's a mudstain on it, or a little gouge here and there. You know, something that gives it... a story. My own story.