Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Denim Demon

I have more thoughts to share regarding dress codes, so consider this part 2 in an unexpected series.

konagod's views on dress codes in the office date back to 1962.

I remember back when I was a preteen, and on into my teen years, when visiting New Orleans with my parents, we always went to a few restaurants which had one of those requirements for a jacket on men. I thought it was bullshit at an early age so imagine what I think about it now.

It's about a bunch of fucking well-to-do white men and women who don't want their dinner spoiled by someone wearing less than THEIR ideal attire. So, although I'm paying the same prices for SERVICE and the same food, I am required to rise to their "level" in order to preserve THEIR snobbishness. Even if I'm dining in a borrowed jacket. Yep, that's right folks. The restaurants maintained an extensive closet full of jackets of all sizes to make sure everyone conformed. Pardon my crude language, but fuck that shit. And fuck all those people who play the game, and fuck those restaurants. You want me to pay you to eat your food (Brennan’s) I'll wear what I fucking please.


Back when I used to work for another ad agency based in Iowa, I was fortunate in that I worked from home, but I still had to visit the Iowa office once a year or so. And of course I'd be in the email loop of all things going on internally.

The office was located in a small town in a building which could easily have been -- and probably was used as -- a warehouse at some point. The dress code was casual, except when a client would visit. An email would go out reminding employees to clean up their areas and to dress appropriately. "No denim of any color" was always part of the request.

Help me here. Since when did denim become demonized? I always wondered what would happen if the client had happened to be Levi Strauss. Don't you know some things would be worded differently?

Denim is 100% cotton. And it's comfortable. I guess Dockers are also 100% cotton, and of course there's various other pants available that are all cotton or some combination. Who are these fashion police and where do they get off dictating what's acceptable and what's not? Had I been in Iowa for those client visits, I could have chosen to defy orders and worn a nice new pair of denim jeans, or put on a faded and worn-out pair of Dockers. Which looks best?

I know I'm stirring up trouble here, and I do understand the point, however illogical and stupid I believe it to be. I'm a firm believer in being yourself -- and that includes how you choose to adorn yourself with cloth. If you enjoy wrapping a piece of cloth around your neck (which serves no purpose and the cost of which could probably feed a meal to a few families in poverty) and letting it dangle, and then topping it off with a dark jacket, even though it might be 106 degrees outside (41 for my friends in the rest of the world -- we're a little backwards here in the States), then go right ahead. Don't mind me if I laugh at you.

I simply don't like people who are happy about putting on a false facade with attire. Notice how I phrased that statement. I don't want anyone to get offended because you think I won't like you, or think less of you, because you wear dressy clothes. As one or two people made clear in comments, they may work in a place where they are required to dress a certain way. Most people probably need the job. That's fine. Do it and be unhappy with the attire. But challenge it when you have the opportunity. Just be aware that many of these employers can outsource your job to another country at the drop of a hat if they feel it will improve their profits and not jeopardize the company. Most of these corporate employers don't give a crap about YOU personally. You are there as a servant, presenting an image THEY want for THEIR company, and you are simply paid to comply. I often get the impression that job performance is an afterthought; your image is of paramount importance.

Similarly, if you truly enjoy wearing a suit and a tie, or you are more comfortable in "business casual" attire while on the job, more power to you. I won't think less of you if I know it's your choice. I may think you are nuts for wearing a suit in Austin in the summer, but I won't think less of you if you truly enjoy it, because that's you.

As for me, I just want to be who I am. I want to be recognized and judged by what I accomplish on the job. For someone to make an issue of my attire -- particularly in a wild & crazy creative environment such as the one I'm in, is rather insulting if I'm doing my job and achieving success for both the client and the agency.

Another of my all-time favorites is the church routine. Like Jesus cares whether you are wearing a suit and a tie and that's going to get you into heaven. Give me a break.

I hate to come across as crass, but civilization is fucked up.


Epilogue: txrad just told me to zip up my pants. I said "I don't zip them up because we're drinking so much beer and tequila I have to pee often. And I don't want to zip my pecker."

"Put on some underwear," he replied.

My retort was, "I don't want to wear underwear; I'm home, I should be able to relax."

He then went on to insinuate that I end up peeing on myself because I'm not wearing underpants.

"No I don't," I said. I use a piece of tissue to dry myself.

He thought that was strange. "Why is it more strange than allowing your underwear to act as a piss wick?" I replied. "Pissy underwear is OK, but pissy pants are not?"

All he could say was, "I'm telling your mother."

And I was thinking, "Go ahead; she knows I'm odd."

Crossposted at B3

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