November 10, 2004

"I Suggest You Put On A Tie!"*

Taki roundly damns and blasts inappropriate casual dress and unwelcomed familiarity, two of my biggest bugaboos. I'm too tired this morning to go into the sociology of it all in any great detail, but rants like this make me smile.

As far as clothes go, one of my guiding principles is that it is always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. To this end, I have fought for years against casual dress policies at the office. I always wear a coat and tie whilst traveling. And, although we don't dress for dinner regularly, we at least do so for special days such as birthdays and holidays.

Mark you, the trouble with taking this stance is that people automatically assume I believe there is no place for casual clothes. Of course, this is utter nonsense. Why, when I'm gardening, I'll even go so far as to loosen my tie and wear pennyloafers instead of dress shoes. Once this summer, I even took off my jacket! Seriously, tho, the point is that there is a time for formality (e.g., Church, my law practice, special occassions) and a time for lack of it (e.g., ball games, pub crawls, sex). Some people believe that we benefit by blurring this distinction. I believe just the opposite.

As for the familiarity bit, I loathe being addressed by my first name by strangers in a non-social setting. A few years back, Safeway instituted a policy of trying to get its cashiers to be more "friendly" with the customers. One of the steps was to have the cashier read your name off your check or credit card and start chatting you up with it. On more than one occassion, the following conversation took place:

Cashier (reading check): "Robert Llama." Do you prefer "Bob" or "Rob"?
Self (with narrowed eyes and pleasant smile): I prefer "Mr. Llama."
[Sounds of gasping in check-out line.]

Safeway actually dropped this practice pretty quickly. Evidently, there had been a number of complaints. So perhaps I'm not alone in my distaste after all.

Yips! to the impeccable Enoch Soames, Esq.

*As always, special Llama bonus points for identifying the movie quote.

UPDATE: The Misspent One has been engaged in the delightful exercise of tracking the genesis of Mr. Soames' post. (I agree that such tracking is great fun.) Nip on over and check out the pedigree.

UPDATE DEUX: Kathy the Cake Eater, whose notice and opinion are always worth getting, kindly links and adds some thoughts of her own. I fully recognize her point about the times being what they are and the futility of my position. But since I harbor enough futile causes to equip a full-sized French Army battalion, it doesn't really bug me anymore.

One other thing that Kathy mentions is the whole Ms./Miss/Mrs. dispute. (You can take a wild guess about where I stand on that one.) I have found a way around this in my dealings with the world by relying on my Texas upbringing. Many, many people in the South slur the pronunciation of these three words in such a way as to make them almost indistinguishable, especially to Blue State ears. A calculated "Miyezz" will cover the spread, leaving both speaker and hearer quite content.

Posted by Robert at November 10, 2004 08:45 AM | TrackBack

When I worked in an office setting downtown, I only didn't wear a shirt and tie once, when asked to come in on a holiday. My boss was shocked because she assumed I didn't *own* any jeans.

Next job (same task, different workplace) was in a warehouse. For years I wore nothing but jeans and polo's or t-shirts, and the boss was shocked (and alarmed) on the few occasions when I dressed up (thought I was going to a job interview).

This job, back to the shirt and tie every day. I've already heard more than once that I can chill with the dress clothes. Not gonna happen.

Posted by: Ted at November 10, 2004 11:06 AM

There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

Posted by: 3 credit free report score at November 22, 2004 03:37 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?