Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's in my pants?

Some years ago, when I was working in fast food, I remember commenting to my dad at one point about how odd it was that it used to be khakis were Sunday-only pants, and jeans were for getting dirty in.  Now, as an adult, my job required getting dirty in khakis, and it was pretty rare that I was wearing jeans.  I'm not saying it's a huge switcheroo, but it's an irksome one, nonetheless. 

There used to be a symbolism behind the khakis (admittedly, a term being used somewhat loosely to include all pants that fall between denims/jeans and suitpants on the Scale Of Dressiness).  For me, they were church pants.  And it made sense.  Putting God first in your life meant giving Him your best, including your best attire for the times when your express purpose was to focus on Him and your relationship with Him.  However, I'm not lamenting the loss of the symbolism so much as there are atheists who shouldn't be denied the right to wear khakis just because they don't acknowledge a deity to get close to; nor does it deny the suitability of khakis for other dressy occasions, because they are dressy and can really do wonders to make a good impression in an interview or when meeting your girlfriend's parents for the first time, or whenever being dapper is a major asset.

The problem for me is that khakis are NOT the pants you should be wearing at work if you work a blue-collar job.  You should be working in denims.  Seriously, khakis fucking piss me off.  They're more expensive than denims and nowhere near as durable.  When you have to walk around or twist and turn while standing all day, your pant-legs are bound to rub together.  They wear thin from the abrasion and you get holes.  Okay, now part of it is indeed due to the fact that I'm overweight, but look among your fast-food workers or other blue-collar laborers whose jobs require khakis... I won't speak to percentages, but simple observation says that a good deal of them also are not athletic.  That's a lot of khakis getting ruined quickly.

And let's be real here... in these kind of jobs, you're gonna get dirty occasionally.  It is SUCH a pain in the ass to have to do a SPECIAL load of laundry for your work uniform because they CAN'T BE WASHED WITH ANYTHING ELSE!!!  Seriously people, (hard) WORK clothes should not be FUCKING GENTLE CYCLE WASH!!  Why is this so freakin' hard to comprehend?!??!!  It's just a waste of energy besides to have to do a separate load!  And realistically, anyone who's working blue-collar probably does NOT have a lot of gentle cycle clothes in their wardrobe besides the uniform. 

Now we come to the "uniformity" aspect.  Look, I get that there needs to be distinction between the employees and those who aren't employees.  That's why you have uniform shirts/blouses (again, which should NOT be gentle cycle wash, but sometimes are), and name tags.  And you can always mandate/allow black denim that don't have the ripped or faded effects to them.  They do look nice enough and maintain the uniformity concept.  But if you really want to get after uniformity, how about you get after those employees who are still wearing huge hoops in their ears, have painted press-on nails, and all those body piercings?  I guess nine earrings in the left ear and seven in the right looks professional, but don't wear black denim, as you value your life and job!

And speaking of professionalism... really?  Making the teenager who's spitting in my burger wear khakis is gonna somehow transmorgify him into an upstanding citizen of the American dream?  When he's accepting his honor as President of a Fortune 500 company, he's gonna start his speech with, "First, I'd like to thank Burger World, for making me wear khakis, so that I could be professional!"?  Let's be real.  You could wear a tuxedo, and you still wouldn't be considered professional because a) you're working in a socioeconomically laughable position for a company whose global reputation is only slightly higher than that of BP, b) you're making crude jokes and using profane language with your co-workers when your back is turned to me because apparently you think I can't hear you anytime we're not making eye contact, and c) you still spit in my damn burger in the first place!  Speak with proper grammar and with manners and show some social grace in your work, and maybe then I'll start considering you "professional."

Really folks... khakis should NOT be work pants!  It's completely impractical.  Khakis should be worn only in moderation... you know, for special occasions.  Let's start a movement to get black denim in the workplace.  It just makes much more sense.