Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You can dress me up, but you can't take me out.

     How we dress tells a lot about us, doesn't it?  Do you iron your clothes before you put them on, or are you fine with your "cleanest dirty shirt" pulled off from a pile on your bedroom floor?  Which are you more comfortable in, a perfectly fitted suit or dress or a worn out pair of jeans that are frayed at the cuffs? Read a little about my tastes in this week's blog.

Junior Prom circa 1981
     The answer may surprise you, but there is a dichotomy in the way I feel about dressing.  I don't like to be told that I have to wear a suit and tie somewhere, but I like some functions that are very formal and am happy to dress the part.  I'd give up cold hard cash not to have to cinch a tie around my neck each morning, and luckily, my current job has no such requirement.  I don't wear jeans to work, a guy could get fired for that (yes, that's an inside joke and future blog), but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't feel more comfortable in them.  If I had to guess, I think my suit aversion goes back to my brother, the Sergeant-Major's wedding where I spilled candle wax down the right leg of my new navy blue suit and had to sit the wedding out.  I may have, at that point, permanently associated suits with lack of fun, or maybe it's simpler than that, I just
Wearing a yellow knit tie, wonder if I still have it....
don't like to be told what to wear, and no one ever tells you that you have to wear faded jeans and a flannel shirt (well maybe at lumberjack school they do), but to summarize, I don't like to be told what to wear.

     The second time I remember dressing up was my junior prom.  I dug up the picture above of the me and my date and you can't tell me that I didn't rock that white tux.  I'm not sure if I had a mustache or if the picture just got folded there, but that tux was great.  It was well worth the hours of slinging chicken wings that I had to put in, to afford it.  An interesting side note is, that around that same time, I took that girl to my brother Ace's wedding (I rocked a burgundy tux then) and my future wife actually hemmed the dress for this girl and we hadn't even met yet.  No, I didn't say, "Hey who hemmed your dress? I'd really like to meet her....", but in my fantasy world, my future wife sat home hemming the dress
Another early wedding, must have been winter
picturing that exact circumstance where she would meet the stud in the burgundy tux, but I digress.  When I did marry Char I went back to a white tux.  There were a series of weddings around then and my job didn't require me to wear a suit, but I picked up a couple of nice ones anyway, with the size of my family and circle of friends, it just made more sense economically.  The next food job I got at the John Sexton Company did require me to wear a suit so I was ready when that one came along.  We were even told to wear our suits on days when we would sit at home to call our customers.  My boss then told me that it made you more productive, when you dress correctly for your job, "Superman wouldn't go out without his cape, would he?" he would ask.  "Then a Sexton Man doesn't go out without his suit".  My old boss George would be surprised to learn, that in my current job, that I've had for 7 years, my time in a cape actually outnumbers the time I've spent in a suit, go figure. 

    In keeping with the theme, I should talk about my behavior in suits.  It's no better than in street clothes,
Not sure where this was.....
truly, you can dress me up, but you take your chances on taking me out.  Most weddings that I have gone to have ended with my coat strewn over a chair, my tie loosely hanging on my neck, my shirt drenched in sweat, and sometimes with me on stage with a microphone in hand. Suits do not temper my behaviors.  In my defense, a lot of these affairs come with free alcohol and I am a sucker for that, and I was asked on stage at least 1/4 of those times. I think my old boss George had a good point about dressing up to sell, and I think earlier on, it helped give me confidence in my ability to do something that was foreign to me at first.  Over time, however, the confidence came from the inside and I didn't have to wear a suit to project it.  I did have an instance, about 12 years ago,
Got the job even with the mustache
though where I felt a suit helped me secure a job, when I changed professions.  I had interviewed for several manufacturers jobs and wasn't hired, but on the very next interview, after buying a slick Italian made suit, I was hired.  In that case, the suit had definitely either made an impact or helped me to make a better impact, and was worth the money.  I still have that one although it's had its share of being taken in and out to compensate for my expanding or contracting waistline.  That's one of the things that I don't like about suits, they need to be taken to professionals to be altered.  My jeans, on the other hand, stretch a little to accommodate a few pounds of weight gain, and if they don't it's easy to buy a pair off from the rack that fits you right (well at least for me it is).  I'll digress a little and probably be redundant to other blogs I've written too, but I'm OK with actually putting the true waist sizes on my clothes, you don't really need to try and flatter me telling me that I wear a smaller size.  I don't know who started that practice, but it makes buying my clothes a lot harder when I have to take 2 pair of each one into the dressing room with me to see how they fit. 

     I should finish this blog with a story of a dress up event that I still attend on an annual basis.  The local
In the parking lot of a Gala. before the event
hospital invites me to their Gala each year for my family's work on the golf tournament.  I pass along the tickets every other year or so, but I do like the event, so I rationalize keeping them a lot too.  When it started it was a black tie and tails event but it eventually went to a more casual dress.  I never minded renting the tux for this one, as I don't have a lot of occasions to wear one, and it was nice to be at a party where everyone was that formally dressed.  I think Char liked having an event each year to buy a new dress for too.  The Who's Who of the Canandaigua NY community turned out for this, and in a tux I felt more like I belonged among them, though clearly, I didn't (Think uniforms in Catholic Schools making the playing field more even between the different economic classes).  The food at this was fantastic and the band would soon start up, and the alcohol would start flowing and soon enough, I'd probably feel too comfortable at the event, although I haven't ended up on stage at this one, much.  The point is, that this event is one of the ritziest events that I attend and my behavior at this eventually matches my behaviors at every wedding at any local firehouse that I have attended.  I don't remember one that I left early and in fact have closed down most of them.  They still invite me back each year, but I'm sure that there is a discussion each time before they do, and I wouldn't be surprised if the title of this blog isn't uttered by the committee at least once.  Can you blame them?
The end of the evening

1 comment:

Chris Yarger said...

Uncle Bill,

I find that you cant go wrong with black dickie pants and a black dickie button up double pocket shirt :) even I can make that look classy with a red belt and tie :) comfortable too