Friday, May 28th, 2010

Just so you know the basis of some of my various viewpoints:

Firstly, respect [i.e. dressing nice to get respect in public; “general public respect”] has always been a hilarious concept to me. A system of respect based on the quality of someone’s clothes is simply a social more of formalized superficiality.

Until they come up with merit badges that say something like “Saved a kid from a house on fire”, I’m not going to ever know if someone is worth of ‘respect’ simply by looking at their clothes. All someone’s our clothes tell me about you is that you’re willing to spend money on nice clothes. [Which can be taken several ways.]

Jeans at an interview — different kind of situation. Professional is business; clothes are an investment. [You’re buying into their world. Unfortunately, you have to play by their rules.]

But outside of work? Pffffft. I’d *much* rather hang out with the person in sweat pants at Wal-Mart than the person in a suit & tie. [Why the fuck are you all dressed up in a tie to go to Wal Mart? Don’t you hate being choked every second?]

And see? The fuckers even have me doing it! I’m saying I’d rather hang out with the sweatpants person, even though that judgment is completley based on their clothes! ARRRRRGH!! I want no part of this system!! It’s a virus!!

I used to be so unware before professional life. 8th grade spirit week I talked to a friend at the bus stop for the entire wait — before noticing he was wearing pajamas [for spirit week]. Too bad we’re forced to notice — by the viral system of superficial competition for this elusive ‘respect’.

Respect by random strangers who only know what clothes you are wearing may feel good, but it means absolutely nothing. It is a hollow, meaningless feeling. Which, when I stop to think about it, is perfect for the general public. People love to be all sentimental and assign meaning where it isn’t — the prime example being religion. But even those who are spiritual and not religious looooove a good hollow statement. So I can see why people would love “general public respect”; it’s another meaningless easy feelgood mechanism.

I, of course, wouldn’t wear jeans to an interview–but only in the same way that I wouldn’t choose to walk through an all black city neighborhood at 2AM. It’s not that I’m racist and hate black people — I don’t. But I’m scared of black racists who hate white people, and more of them are going to be in an all black neighborhood. (Sorry if this seems crass. Race is such an awkward subject.) In a similar vein, I’m scared of superficial people who hate those who don’t meet their standards, because they’re takin’ all this “respect” I’m supposed to have. Therefore I have to be aware, even though I would rather be blind.

I see no reason to bathe or brush my hair or teeth if I’m going to taco bell… ’bout the only way i wouldn’t enter would be if i’d literally just rolled around in shit.

That, however, would be pretty damn funny.

And obviously — if you’re going out to try to impress people at a club, or hanging out with friends, you don’t want to be offensively unpleasant.

But do I need to buy more clothes to win my friends’ respect?

I sure as hell hope not.

And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “yeah, I should have just trusted my first vibe, I know right away if i like someone”. I cringe at how many people have based their decisions using clothes.

It’s not like I’m unaffected. It’s not like I haven’t been swayed. But it certainly isn’t going to be how *nice* your clothes are. In fact, if you have a $500 fucking handbag, I am going to think worse of you than someone who appears to be an actual homeless person.

Have you ever heard a conversation sort of like this:  “wah wah i don’t want photos of me drunk online” / “why?” / “some employer may see it and my chances are narrowed” / “Well, do you really want to work for that kind employer in the first place?” And I pretty much agree with that.

Well, do you really want the respect of someone who truly thinks like that in the first place?

I’ve also heard that we are simply doing the rational thing to maximize our opportunity based on peoples’ first impression. Sorry, I can’t just reduce the idealism out of the equation and only think of it in practical terms. That argument is akin to “don’t hate the playa, hate the game”. But you can’t have this game without a bunch of people conspiring to play it together.

And yes, it’s a game. People are wearing costumes to make other people feel certain ways. There is no real substance to these interactions.

Remember that kid who did extra credit and messed up the curve? That is exactly what every impeccable dresser does to society. They mess up the curve. They raise the bar — unnecessarily – for the rest of us. They become the “Joneses” that we all must keep up with. They make us look that much worse in comparison. They cause us to keep less of our wages, as we now have to pay for dry cleaning, pressing, ironing boards, and other things to keep up with their fastidious superficial obsession. They ruin everyone.

In closing, the idea that the general public owes us something for how we dress, or that we owe them something for how they dress — is, to me, just a dangerous dishonest superficial control virus. (more…)