Saturday, February 04, 2017

Dress Like Women

Melania Trump: dressed like a woman.
Donald Trump's latest ourtage against women, minorities, God, country, truth, justice and the American way: he allegedly requires his female staffers to "dress like women" at work.

You were waiting for the punch line?  That was it.

Believe it or not, dress codes are a staple of American life.  Schools have dress codes.  A lot of work places have dress codes, and not just the places where you have to wear a uniform.  Churches used to have dress codes, back before they started caring about being "relevant."  There are restaurants where they won't let you in if you're not wearing a tie.  There was a time, still within living memory, when people actually dressed up to fly on an airplane.  

I personally hate getting dressed up; but I have to admit, dress codes are a necessity.  Why?  Because an awful lot of people out there are lazy slobs, just like me.  The proof is all around us, especially in a casual state like the one I live in.  I see it at the courthouse every day.  You'd think that, of all places, a courthouse would be a bastion of solemnity and sobriety and formality, and maybe in some places, it is.  You'd think persons who are in trouble with the law would be, well, scared, and wanting to put their best foot forward to convince the judge not to send them to jail.  You'd think that, if you didn't happen to work in the system.  The reality is that many of the people who have business at the courthouse are there so often that they are as comfortable there as they are in their own living room -- or their friend's living room, if they happen to be couch-surfing.  A few people are scared, and do try to put their best foot forward, and do put on a suit and tie.  Others are working stiffs and couldn't get off the construction site or landscaping job early enough to shower and change before court.  But many show up in hooker heels with their boobs popping out of tight, see-through blouses; or looking -- and smelling -- like they just crawled out of a dumpster; or wearing shirts with pictures of marijuana leaves or obscene hand gestures; or -- so help me -- in pajama bottoms.

To return to the Telegraph story: I doubt seriously its suggestion that Trump has greater expectations of his female staffers than his male ones when it comes to appearances, or that he somehow imposes his tastes on the women in ways that he doesn't on the men.  Trump is generally a stickler for cleanliness and neatness.  He's made no bones about the fact that he likes looking at beautiful women.  But he's also commented in his books on the impression well-dressed men have made on him in business dealings.  Donald Trump has written at length about his business dealings and his business philosophies, and it's pretty clear that appearance is not in fact the number one quality he values in other people, particularly when it is not backed up by substance.

Still, there is no getting around the fact that, while they are not the be-all and end-all, appearances do matter, and how you present to the outside world, and how you represent your organization, does matter.  As a man of business, Trump understands this.  It is undeniable that people do judge you and what you represent based on your appearance.  This is where the word "counselor" in my title of "counselor at law" takes on a special meaning.  I have to counsel my clients on their appearance before the court, and especially before a jury.  I have to remind them that appearances do matter, and that how they present themselves creates an impression how seriously they take their situation.  I have to advise them to show up to their jury trial dressed like a citizen -- and I use the word "citizen," to try to convey something of the civic ceremony and solemnity and seriousness and dignity of the process they are involved in.  They don't need to put on a $2,000 three-piece suit; but they do need to be clean and neat and conservative-looking.  Whether they like it or not, they are testifying every minute they sit in front of the jury, even if they never take the stand.  I have never had a client appear in front of a jury in pajama bottoms; and, with the help of God's grace, I never intend to.

Of course, for purposes of his critics, it really doesn't matter what Trump does or says.  If his female staffers went around looking slovenly and slatternly, the media would be getting on his case for hiring people who didn't get the dignity of their position.  As it is, since there is no greater evidence of male chauvinist piggery than expecting women to meet high standards, Trump is being portrayed as a lout and a boor for allegedly telling his female staffers to "dress like women."  Assuming those are his actual words, I think I get what he's driving at.  All his staffers reflect on him, and he wants them to reflect well on him.  Every boss wants that of his people.  He wants them to look dignified and conservative and to show that they are adults and take their work seriously, women included.  He may very well even want them to project excellence for their own sakes.

And to shine all the brighter by contrast with certain other females.

Not dressed like a woman.  Admit it: you don't
want to have to look at this every day any more
than Donald Trump does.

No comments:

Post a Comment