November 26, 2008 by The Constant Complainer
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I will be the first to admit that I am not the best dresser. My wife would probably tell you that I don’t have any fashion sense. But I try. And at the end of the day, whether it is for work or play, my clothes match, they look descent, I update my wardrobe and try to fit in as best as possible. Clearly, in high profile cities like New York or Chicago, I would not fit in.
Anyway, aside from my own fashion deficiencies, more often than not, I find myself obsessing out in public about other people’s inappropriate attire. Normally that situation involves me questioning if what they’re wearing is appropriate (in general) or if it’s appropriate to be wearing at that time.
Now before you say it – it isn’t that these people are dressing appropriately and I just don’t realize it…
Here’s an example. I just attended a seminar. It was a two-day event in Ohio. The first day I was seated at a table with three ladies. This was a professional seminar; some people had suits on, some wore business casual, etc. The woman sitting directly across from me at our table had one of the lowest cut blouses I have ever seen. Not to be graphic, but to illustrate my point, she was almost falling out of her blouse (if you know what I mean). She knew this too. I say that because she kept glancing down at herself, adjusting her top, putting her coat on, taking her coat off and looking at me. It seemed like she was looking at me to see if I was looking at her blouse. I started to feel very awkward.
Now, I wasn’t staring at her blouse or even in her direction – I made sure of that. But the point is that some people, given my situation, would probably just look at her blouse and not worry too much about it. But in my case, I wasn’t looking. However, I found myself constantly worried about it. Meaning, it is a mind game. I wouldn’t look, but even if I wasn’t looking, I felt it would be problematic if she thought I was looking. Does that make sense? So I found myself purposefully sitting and facing a different direction, so much so, that my neck hurt. Of course, I had to sit at the exact same table, and she wore another scantily clad outfit the second day as well.
So here’s my problem. Why would this lady spend the majority of her 16 hours in this seminar worrying about her outfit? She was fidgety, kept looking down at her blouse and adjusting her blouse. I equate this to the other side of the coin – punks I see at the mall wearing a completely different type of attire. I just want to ask each of them one thing – why are you wearing that?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but in my mind, there is a clear distinction between dressing nicely and dressing inappropriately. Is it a self esteem thing? It is a “do I look hot” thing? I don’t know. And I do think there are more examples than the woman’s low-cut blouse scenario I mentioned. I’m a gentleman and not a pig, so I would sooner inconvenience myself than have had the lady at that seminar give me dirty looks all day (for even glancing in her direction). But I don’t think I should have to be that accommodating.