Every weekday morning, I think to myself, “Today will be the day I revolt.” Inevitably, however, my attempted coup is violently put down by society’s authoritarian rule. Even the thought of maintaining a shred of freedom and autonomy is wiped away. Once the polo shirt falls down over my shoulders, or the last button of my dress shirt is cinched, the final act of my appareled betrayal is complete. In short, I am tucked in to the expectations of society.
And just in case I get an idea to make one last stand, the belt arrives. The belt, once a beacon of seamless transition, is now revealed to be nothing but a brutal enforcer of rules, a true destroyer of individuality.
Early on in my career, I tried fighting the unwritten dress code. I’d wear a long sweater to conceal the fact that I was walking around at work untucked, knowing full well that capture would lead to something heinous. Without fail, the contoured bottom of the buttoned down shirt would slide past the sweater’s end and my mutiny would be revealed.
Just last week, our supervisor sent my idealistic coworker to the restroom, demanding that he perform an emergency re-tuck. My coworker and I exchanged glances after the fiasco and in his face I saw fear. It was as if the light in his eyes was extinguished.
Places of education dedicate themselves to preparing the youth of today for the jobs of tomorrow, while they allow the youth of today to wear whatever the hell they want. This does not prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. If you really want to prepare young men for the injustices of adulthood, make them tuck in their shirts all day at an early age.
Some of you reading this may be rolling your eyes at my hyperbole. Maybe you are women, who have no expectation of tucking in shirts. Perhaps you are that old guy at work who no longer cares and will loudly speak his mind, without fear of reprisal. Maybe you are a UPS delivery person, and the monotone brown uniform makes it impossible to determine if the shirt is tucked in or not. Most of us aren’t women, old men, or UPS drivers though. We therefore have no option but to tuck it in and like it.
Hot summer days are the worst. One humid and hazy July day last summer, I had to walk across the street for a meeting. As the humidity and belt of broken dreams conspired to generate the worst waist sweat imaginable, I almost did something drastic. In fact, if it hadn’t been for that gust of slightly refreshing wind that blew in from the north at exactly the right time, I would’ve been seen running down the street pant-less, yelling, “I don’t care anymore!”
By the time the weekend arrives, the damage of five straight days of wearing tucked in shirts is almost too much to overcome. As I go into my closet on a Saturday morning to select a non-tucked in shirt to wear, the tucked in shirts mock me with brutal trash talk. The Oxford buttoned down shirt is simply the worst, with his biting, sarcastic British humor.
The struggle is certainly real. Some might call it a first world problem. I can respect that, but no one should judge another person until they have to walk a mile in their tucked in shirt.