Monday, November 03, 2008

Professional Attire

Last Friday, I spent my final day of a six-day business trip in Springfield.

The conferences had been done; the only thing on the day's agenda was to address a panel with three state political officials. I won't say which officials these were because:

(1) I don't think it's prudent to divulge employment details on a blog and

(2) I can't remember who they were.

One panel member was an actual state representative who had a title like "honorariously".

The other was the CEO of something like The Organization of Theoretical Preposterous Higher Education Endeavors;

The other panel member was my boss.

I'll admit that I was pretty intimidated about addressing a panel of these high-powered individuals. I was ready with my Big Impressive Phrases like “workforce diagrams” and “employee tangentials” and “jobs”.

After all, these were Big State Officials that knew a whole lot more about Officious State Things than I did.

But I have to admit that my initial concern was this . . . . . . . .What would my mom think of the clothes I was wearing?

You see, while growing up, my mom’s biggest horror is that one of her sons might be under-dressed for any occasion. (Which, she got that from her mom).

My brother and I were the dorky kids who showed up at friend’s birthday parties in leisure suits. If there was a wedding rehearsal dinner, we would be the teenage boys in rented tuxedos - - and we wouldn’t even be in the wedding party.

I remember being in the marching band in high school -- I forgot to bring this little silver breast-plate that went on my uniform. It was an “out of town” game.

But upon discovering my horrible, earth-shattering, forgetting-the-breast-plate catastrophe, my mom went screaming back seventy miles, 80 mph, in our 1976 Chevrolet Caprice to retrieve that silver breast-plate. And returned in time for the half-time show.

Do any of you remember that high-speed police escort to Parkland Hospital during the Kennedy Assassination?

Those guys had nothing on my mom during my high-school band breast-plate-retrieval of 1976.

Really. You should have seen it. . . . There was a high-speed acceleration. . . She zoomed under several triple-underpasses . . . She probably reported me to the Warren Commission. But, my Super-Mom returned with a pristine breast-plate. . . .

She still reminds me of that horrible moment to this day. (We laugh about it now)

So, all this past week, for five days of conferences in Peoria and Springfield, I wore my nicest, most professional clothing. I actually sport relatively little in the way of fashionable clothing. I think I might be a shame to "my people."

Really. I show up to PBS fundraising events and they say, "No. Umm. Really, I'm sorry. Those cargo pants with sneakers just won't do. Perhaps you'll feel better as a tour guide at the Lincoln Park Zoo. (whisper) Maybe in the Southern U.S. marsupiel exhibit. . ."

I’ve got black or navy slacks that I mix with various jackets. Those get paired with light blue or dark blue shirts. Ties with vibrant blue-or-grey themes get mixed in. I'm really big on vibrant blues.

I pretty much wear navy or black socks, all of which come from various Wal-Marts in Central Illinois. Those three-pack, heavy-duty navy socks for $3.97 just rock my world, let me tell you.

For more formal things, I do have a classic charcoal-grey suit that a very annoying but efficient Asian man tailored for me. It's nice to have on hand.

Seldom do I wear my classy suit with the white-shirt-and-red-tie like you see Barack Obama or Sarah Palin doing. I usually stick my more subdued blue and grey things.

Anyway, I had worn all these mix-and-match corporate-nice-clothes things all week long. I think I looked very nice and tastefully exemplified professional attire.

By Friday afternoon in Springfield, I was tired and ready to be done with it all. I'm not sure I even shaved that morning. I thought, “The hell with it,” so I donned some navy Dockers along with a light blue shirt with a cheap-looking Mike Huckabee red-white-n-blue tie.

And I'm not talking "nice" Dockers. No, I had those Nasty-Dockers goin' on! You know, the ones with the cuffs-n-pleats.

And there I was, up front, along with this state representative, a state board CEO, . . . and my boss.

Most of the entire audience were men.
Very nice suits.
Congressional, State capital, Springfield suits.

And I was totally under-dressed!

Mary Todd Lincoln would have SO run me out of Springfield.

I really should have called my mom and said, “Mom! I am totally under-dressed! Everyone is wearing suits. Except me!
But that would have been really cruel.

Actually, if I had done that, there would have been a knock on the door in my middle of the meeting and a delivery guy would have walked in with an Armani suit - - sent from my mother. . .

. .I don't know.

I suspect a lot of those guys wished they could have been wearing my Dockers.

Don’t they know about Casual Fridays?


At 10:46 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

*hee hee hee hee hee hee hee*

You're funny. :)

At 11:34 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

You really are a shame to your people. I swear, I don't think I've ever known a gay less concerned with his wardrobe.

But you always look cute, so there's that.

At 1:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you. The gays mock me because I don't iron my jeans. They're jeans, says me, and they shouldn't need to be ironed.

And yeah, my mom would have never gone back for the breast-plate.

At 12:12 PM , Blogger Elaine Wheat said...

I really didn't care if you wore your breast plate. I just didn't want any one to think that stupidity was a genentic fault passed down from me. Half way back, I decided that I could have blamed it on your dad. I will still do anything for you as you would for me and we will go on like that forever. Love and Prayers, Mom


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