Saturday, September 26, 2009

When an irresistible force such as you, meets an old implacable object such as jeans

Actually, I didn't have that many insights on the publishing process; I just watched a designer move things around on a page, testing all sorts of layouts. But she did it really fast. Right align! Left align! Up at the top of the page! Down at the bottom! When I move things around on a page, I am not nearly so efficient.

But while we're on the topic of work, let me talk about an interesting subject that's kind of related to the dynamics of big companies. It has to do with Casual Friday. Now, I've always been under the impression that if you have Casual Friday in your workplace, you are allowed to wear anything that you'd wear to, say, a casual dining restaurant. You know, something that's clean and won't make the other diners lose their appetite. But in the last place I worked, on Friday, you were allowed to wear "jeans" - that was the only article of clothing that was expressly permitted - as long as you kept up a "professional" appearance. I took this to mean that nothing in my large collection of peasant skirts and sundresses would be appropriate. Nor would any of the cute and clean-cut but rather fun T-shirts that I like to wear on occasion. I decided that on Casual Friday, you had to wear basically the same thing on top that you always wear, but you were allowed to wear jeans on the bottom.

Jeans! How is that a privilege? It took me fourteen years of life before I would willingly put on jeans, and then it was only because I was tired of being the pariah who wore stretch pants and T-shirts. When I work at the grocery store, spending my day climbing into the back of the truck, or dragging around big tubs of moldy cheese awash in rancid milk, I wear jeans! Jeans are what you wear when you need durability (and, sometimes, social acceptance)--not relaxation! They are only comfortable if you are standing up. When you sit down (which you do a lot in an office) jeans become tight in all sorts of uncomfortable places. Whenever I get home from a day at the store or an outing on which I wore jeans, the first thing I do is take them off. If it's late, I switch to pajama pants. If the day is still young, I change into a skirt--the exact same thing that I would wear on a non-casual day!

Bah. I reject the tyranny of this so-called Casual Friday! How fortunate that no more temporary jobs have yet turned up and I've got a bit of freelance work to keep me busy for a while--I can spend all day working in my pajamas!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I totally agree. The only pair of jeans I ever had that was quasi-comfortable was about 4 sizes too big for me. Which doesn't seem to be how most people wear them. (more like 4 sizes too small).

I never got where the phrase "comfortable pair of jeans" came from. Yeah I would wear them for cleaning stalls, but when it comes to comfort, sweat pants, pajama pants, or a long skirt are really above comparison. I think you should take any chance you get to encourage folks to embrace diversity on casual Fridays ... and wear something - anything - other than jeans.

rayhoy said...

I wonder why jeans are considered uncomfortable? I last about 5 minutes after arriving home from work until I change into jeans. To me, they are the most comfortable pants except for shorts, which I can't wear year-round like jeans. I look forward to dress-down Friday precisely because I can wear jeans. Oh well. To each his or her own...