May 18, 2005

Observations From the Food Court!

I don’t usually sit and eat over at the food court in the AmSouth-Harbert building, mainly because when I do go, I’m not with anyone, and I never think to bring along any reading matter, and so I’m stuck with sitting alone and staring at people. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it’s just so…so obvious.

But, for some reason (I think it might have had something to do with making sure I was out of the office to avoid talking to someone) [UPDATE--just got interrupted while writing this. Had to meet with them anyway, because my supervisor and coworker have both bailed for the day. ::sigh::] ANYWAY, I decided to go sit and eat today.

Now then, first off, I realize I have no room to talk about anyone else when it comes to matters of dress and deportment. For instance, today I am dressed in my brown ensemble, which generally makes me look like a chubby, wingtip-shod gingerbread man. But, here’s the deal--I’m not really going for anything more than just being dressed enough to keep from getting arrested. I’m certain that I won’t be appearing on Access Hollywood tonight, and Snoop and Fitty never call (although I do wish that Paula Abdul woman would stop), but at least I KNOW I’m not out there on the cutting edge of fashion. So don’t feel as though you have to remind me of this--you don’t, I promise.

But there are some folks, folks who think they are REALLY out there pushing the outside of the envelope, and, well, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya: ‘You keep wearing those clothes. I do not think they look the way you think they look.’

So, to start--

First, due to the giant strides made in modern communication technology, it is impossible to tell crazy people who hear voices apart from people with a hidden earpiece and microphone talking to their broker. This is a bad thing. It used to be you knew whom to avoid or not stare at, but now, everyone’s running around talking to the air, and you just never know. I think I may take up screaming at people just to make sure they know I’m not one of the crazy ones.

Second, it is extremely difficult to remain a gentleman whilst using an escalator, most particularly when there is a woman several steps above you wearing a short flowing white skirt and a pair of long flowing tanned legs.

Third, and to the more weighty matters--those shoes you girls are wearing now--the ones with the stiletto toes? Those don’t look good. Yes, I know I have complained about the horrid ugly ‘70s retread clunky chunky shoes, but the needle-nose pliers look really isn’t the best correction.

Fourth, UPS summer uniforms look like crap. Some guys just shouldn’t wear shorts, and that’s all there is to it. Especially if you have knobby nappy legs like a Nigerian marathon runner. Even worse is when you wear giant Dr. Scholl’s shoes.

Fifth, I still say pedal pushers aren’t appropriate office attire, even when paired with an ugly, shapeless, matronly navy blue suit coat.

Sixth, this is much more prevalent amongst up-and-coming mailroom boys, but if you want anyone to ever take you seriously, DO NOT WALK AROUND CHEWING ON A SODA STRAW.

Seventh (yes, there’s a lot of these--just hold on), I saw two women sitting together wearing nearly identical get-ups--short denim jacket, flouncy party skirt, strappy party heels, gigantic purses, along with an assortment of fake melanin, fake hair, fake nails, and a real need to be noticed. (Which seems to have succeeded.) Anyway, I’m not sure of the look they were going for--probably something they saw Jennifer Aniston wearing in People--which is fine, I suppose, for people who are Jenn’s age; but dressing like that really doesn’t make you look ten years younger.

Eighth--YOU!--The dark and depressed-looking fellow carrying the purse. Yes, you. I know you think it looks manly since it’s disguised as some sort of rugged black all-activity sports/camera bag-looking thing, but trust me--other men know it’s a purse. How? Because you don’t have a gigantic ugly wad of a billfold in your back pocket like we real men have, that’s how! (As an aside, I have finally given myself that sciatic neuropathy stuff from sitting on my giant bulging wallet too much. I moved my wallet to the other pocket, and when that leg starts hurting, I suppose I’ll move it back. Why? Because I’m a moron.) ANYway--

Ninth, I am very tired of guys wearing dark purple shirts, white ties, and black suits. Move on, please.

Tenth, and blessedly last: hair gel for men is silly and foppish, but if you INSIST on using it, you might want to look in a mirror first. If you have thinning hair, and you think you really MUST part your hair in the middle and slick it back, don’t be surprised if people think you look like Alfalfa.

SO, there you go. And the chicken fingers were very tasty, thank you for asking.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at May 18, 2005 03:14 PM

I'm cracking up.

I thought highly of you before this, but now I worship you. How many men on this planet have the awareness to give such an eloquent fashion commentary such as yours? Excellent job. Now I want to meet you at the Harbert for lunch so I can have some more, please.

Posted by: sugarmama at May 18, 2005 03:28 PM

Okay--but, please--don't wear those weird pointy shoes.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 18, 2005 03:30 PM

Ummmm.... stiletto TOES? I've heard of stiletto HEELS but never stiletto TOES!

Posted by: Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady at May 18, 2005 03:45 PM

I suppose you would have an opinion about short rotund guys that wear loud hawaiian shirts to work on Wednesdays too.

Didja know Albertson's grocery has some really nice flowered shirts for just $10?

Posted by: Nate at May 18, 2005 03:51 PM

PS- Move the wallet to the front left pocket. Keys & pocket knife in the right pocket. No sciatia pain, no ugly lump on your butt for those that are looking back at you in the food court...

Posted by: Nate at May 18, 2005 03:53 PM

Can you get a picture of Sugarmama at lunch, in the short flouncy white skirt and stilleto heels? Hmm?

Posted by: Nate at May 18, 2005 03:54 PM

Francesca, this is the type of shoe I'm talking about.

NOW THEN--Nate. 1. Luau Wednesdays are just fine, as long as you realize you're wearing a Hawaiian shirt to work, and that it's something you bought at Albertson's for ten bucks. 2. I dare not move my giant bulging wallet to my front pocket for fear of causing the easily offended to swoon. It might better just to carry a purse in such instance. 3. Pictures of sugarmama are very difficult to procure, but in the interest of science I would be willing to make the attempt.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 18, 2005 03:58 PM

Jennifer Aniston isn't young enough to be wearing the things she wears either. She's older than I am by a good many years and I'm too old to wear clothes for the college set.

What about those of us who know we look slobby, but just happen to like going out with little makeup, overalls and Birkenstocks? I know there is no hope for me fashion-wise, but at least it is comfortable unlike the murderous shoes of torture up there.

Posted by: Jordana at May 18, 2005 04:22 PM

I can't beleive you expect me to give up my comb over.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at May 18, 2005 04:41 PM

Well, let's see, Jen's 36, which, as you say, is a bit on the mature side for something in the junior's department. But, I think she at least pretends well enough to be young enough, and can pull it off most of the time with the right lighting. However, it's much more difficult at 46, with food court lighting.

As for going out slobby, as long as you KNOW you're being slobby, and not trying to make everyone think that slobby is the new black, well, I say it's just fine. I go out wearing overalls and nasty ball caps, you know. (Well, in fairness, just to the hardware store, but I think it's still okay to be comfortable.)

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 18, 2005 04:45 PM

Oh, and Larry--it's nothing personal.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 18, 2005 04:46 PM

I was at the mall one day when I was looking around. And I saw white where I should not see white. A teanage girl with her boy friend wearing a short short skirt sitting normally.

I felt like getting up walking over there and telling her she needs to cross her legs when she wears a short skirt.

But alas, I just chuckled to myself and forced myself not to look anymore.

Posted by: James Stephenson at May 19, 2005 07:03 AM

James S.

Nothing has a stonger pull to the Dark Side for me than NOT seeing white where white should be.
I avoid malls as much as possible.

Posted by: Greg at May 19, 2005 07:19 AM

Sitting in the mall and nothing to say about wide loads in spandex, eh? You weren't really sitting in a mall, were you?

Around these parts another type commonly seen is the 'Rode hard, hung up wet look'. This would be the 40mumblesomething with shoe leather skin wearing her daughter's britney/christinaclone stuff. Just sad.

I also find amusing the 'don't hire me look' that most of the post high school guys affect. Yep, that's really going to help you get work and get laid by the quality babes. And then add the inevitable 'tude when they reap what they've been so busily sewing. Makes my job prospects so much brighter. ;)

Posted by: JSAllison at May 19, 2005 07:57 AM

You'd better wake up the backup munuvian hamsters, you've got an Instalanche incoming...

Posted by: skillzy at May 19, 2005 08:01 AM

You forgot to mention the wearing of anyhting lycra and stretchy (eg. stirrup pants, athletic shirts) in a size XXL or Women's 20. Honestly, you look like a giant bag of walnuts. Why even make those clothes in those sizes? They won't look good on anyone who would wear them.

Posted by: Sonny at May 19, 2005 08:03 AM

My friends and I have made people watching a sport. It's great fun!! We have even created our own club called, Dress the Skanks of America.

Posted by: Ryan at May 19, 2005 08:16 AM

I'm so glad that I'm too old to be criticized for what I choose to wear when shopping.
I figure once I hit 50, anything goes and people will just think I'm eccentric.

Posted by: Beth Donovan at May 19, 2005 08:23 AM

Oh, I'm that age, already--I don't really put that much thought into what I wear, but I KNOW I don't. I came to the realization a good while ago that no one will ever mistake me for one of the cool kids, and that it wouldn't be a good idea to try to dress like it.

Although, I do have this really nifty Members Only windbreaker....

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 19, 2005 08:30 AM

Every night when I say my prayers at bedtime, I always put in my special plea to the more stylish saints. "Please give people the insight to dress appropriately for their age and body type." As for those that insist on dressing in a "comfortable" style, I have two words for you: Ambush Makeover.

Posted by: Israel at May 19, 2005 08:32 AM

How about the idea that if anything hangs over your low-rider jeans, you really shouldn't be wearing them. Yes, even baby fat. Or post-baby fat. Either way, gross.

Posted by: Jema at May 19, 2005 08:36 AM

I think I still have my Huey Lewis & the News Satin Jacket somewhere, though I dunno where the Member's Only went.

Oh, and may I pick myself up off the floor. $625.00!!!!!! For three ounces of leather made by a sweatshop in Guatemala?

Jeez - you can get a whole cow for about $500 bucks.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 19, 2005 08:41 AM

Uggh, those shoes always look to me like somebody's being eaten foot-first by some kind of giant ugly-shoe-shaped insect.

Posted by: BriN at May 19, 2005 08:45 AM

But skinnydan, if you walked around wearing cows on your feet, people might point and laugh.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 19, 2005 08:50 AM

Amen on the cellphone earphone people - it's really, really unnerving to have the crazy person proximity alarm going off constantly. Don't think I won't buy that cell phone jammer if it keeps up.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at May 19, 2005 08:56 AM

As opposed to a 5'1", 195 lb. woman wearing low-rise jeans?

Besides, my way you get dinner too; steaks, burgers, you name it.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 19, 2005 09:11 AM

Check out Inappropriately Dressed for some really horrific looks. Next time you're in the food court, take along a camera (preferably small and well-hidden), and then you can illustrate your lunch hour! Malls are such a wonderful cross-section of America!

Posted by: BeckyJ at May 19, 2005 09:12 AM


Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 19, 2005 09:37 AM

RE: "stiletto toes" -- my wife and I refer to them as "wicked witch" shoes, otherwise known as "you could put an eye out with thst" shoes.

The most amazing look I've ever seen is a guy who rides my train who has a combover starting at the back of his head -- I mean straight line back from his ears -- and then comes atraight forward over the top of his head all the way to his forehead.

It's the most amazing thing that he doesn't realize how ridiculous he looks. Dude! You're completely bald on top -- get over it!

Posted by: Strider at May 19, 2005 10:29 AM

In our family we refer to those shoes as "cockroach stomping shoes" since the wearer can so easily use that shoe on or off their feet to stomp on a cockroach fleeing into a corner - making good use of those ridiculously pointy toes and heels. My daughter (8 years old) sniggers and jabs me in the side when we see people wearing them :-). We haven't actually tried cockroach stomping because I don't own any of those shoes.

Posted by: Cathy at May 19, 2005 10:35 AM

We have a weatherman here in town, who, although he has never affected a combover, has tenaciously clung to a tiny patch of hair in the dead center of his head, long after all the rest of the hair tide has gone out. He's a good-looking guy (which is not something I say a lot about other guys) and it would look so much better if he'd just go ahead and shave that last little island.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 19, 2005 10:39 AM

I can't help but imagine you as Michael with Stephanie, issuing fashion citations.

In other words, I LOVE it!

Posted by: Beth at May 19, 2005 10:49 AM

You forgot to mention the wearing of anyhting lycra and stretchy (eg. stirrup pants, athletic shirts) in a size XXL or Women's 20. Honestly, you look like a giant bag of walnuts.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! That's exactly what it looks like! And I'm allowed to say that because I'm a size 18 woman who knows better than to wear stirrup pants, tight shirts, or spandex. At least in public. :)

The first time I saw someone talking to the air, I really did think he was nuts, but the suit and tie confused my hindbrain. I still find that habit to be quite disturbing, and somewhat rude, because such people are usually talking much louder than they need to. Plus they look like complete idiots.

Seen the other day: a young woman of about 20 who was wearing a tight, strappy, ties-up-in-the-back-like-a-corset thing. Only she was about 15 lbs. too pudgy to be wearing something like that, and her otherwise-normal body fat was bulging out around the edges of the top.

Posted by: Anne Haight at May 19, 2005 11:35 AM

Beth--I am quite certain I would be the butt of Stephanie and Michael's barbs, as most of the time I look something like a cross between Larry, Darryl and Darryl.

And Anne (and others), as for the pudginess hanging out, as you all know, I do like women with some meat on their bones, but there's a good meaty and a bad meaty. Looking like something squeezing out of Play-Doh Fun Factory is not a good thing.

OH, and JSAllison, waaaaay back up there--no, this isn't a real mall. It's a small shopping and food court at an office building downtown. It's not one of your big destination shopping places, and mostly caters to the office workers in the building and in the surrounding blocks. Thus the heavy concentration of inappropriate office attire.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 19, 2005 11:47 AM

"Although, I do have this really nifty Members Only windbreaker...." That's so 20th Century! Now you know why they put Members Only on it, you're one of the out-of-stylers.

When will somebody design a hat to replace ugly baseball caps? Think "Velvit Teddybear" who looks more like a Velvit Moron.

Posted by: JimM at May 19, 2005 02:02 PM

Wait--you mean it's not cool to have a Members Only jacket!? Next you'll be telling me my Hang Ten swim trunks are out of style, too! ::sigh:: It's so hard living in this new century.

As for hats, I never have understood why these haven't caught on more.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 19, 2005 02:10 PM

I made a conscious decision many years ago, when I decided to become a computer programmer, to reduce my wardrobe to two things - tshirts (mostly black with computer logo stuff on them that I get from trade shows) and jeans. No one wearing a tshirt and jeans looks too weird, unless they are at the prom or something, and it simplifies my life no end. It sounds like some of your victims should make the same lifestyle choice.

Posted by: David Harr at May 19, 2005 09:28 PM

I'm convinced there is big money to be made in the mirror business, seeing as how so few homes have them.....

Posted by: Homer at May 20, 2005 01:53 AM

Live long enough and everything comes around again. When I was a kid shortly after the cooling of the earth's crust, cowboy boots with very pointy toes were known as winklepickers and were said to be useful for kickin' the eyes out of snakes and steppin' on spiders in corners.

Posted by: CJ at May 20, 2005 03:11 AM

Heh--"winklepickers"! I like that, and since I hadn't heard it before, figured it would be kinda obscure--16,200 references returned on Google!


And obviously, very useful for dispensing with deadly corner spiders.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 20, 2005 08:09 AM