Recently, I accepted my wife’s request to join her at a party thrown by her employer.
Normally, this is a sentence you tell a friend punctuated with a strong roll of the eyes and a lengthy sigh. Spend a night around tons of people I don’t know while they share their inside jokes, office banter and talk about their work duties, a subject that I have about as much knowledge in as aeronautical engineering? Sorry honey, I seem to have just come down with a rather serious case of Ebola, so I won’t be able to join you.
But no, my wife works at a company that is youthful, hip and on the cutting edge of what office jobs may look like in the future, with ping pong tables in the break room and an attitude of getting work done without the overlord oppression from the higher ups.
So, imagine my surprise when my wife told me that no, I could not wear jeans to her company’s shindig because they did not conform with the dress code. I was not planning on wearing the bright blue ones with the hole in the crotch, mind you. I am holding on to those for the purpose of embarrassing my daughter when I pick her up from school some years down the road. No, I planned on sporting a nice, new pair that were dark, fit well and, in the dimly lit room where the party was to take place, could not be told apart from the finest of dress slacks from 10 paces.
I am fairly certain the only stipulations of this company’s everyday dress code state that genitals must be covered, most of the time, anyway. So I was rather surprised that the company had outlawed denim from its party like its cotton fibers would usher in the actual Ebola virus.
Maybe it is because I am a sports journalist, the least well-dressed in a profession not exactly known for being the epitome of fashion, but I see nothing wrong with donning a nice pair of denim pants in any situation.
But it seems that opinion is still a bit radical for those who have a deeply seeded belief that jeans are far too low class to be worn at certain events or in general office culture.
Perhaps it is the blue-collar background of blue jeans that causes denim discrimination. Some people scoff at the notion of wearing jeans to a Christian church service, as if God will smite those who do not don the finest of fabrics around their legs while in his house. And show up to a country club in jeans? Wearing the same thing a farmer wears to work at this fine Bushwood establishment? A question Ted Knight as Judge Elihu Smails would likely ask.
I have experience in the latter situation where I was barred from trying out for my high school golf team. I went to school that day wearing denim, and being an ill-prepared freshman, I left my “country club suitable” pants at home. Not having the time to go home and retrieve them before the tryout started, I donned my jeans and approached the coach to tell him why I was wearing such “ghastly” pants at a golf club. My explanation fell on deaf ears, and I was barred from making the team for my pants, not for the real reason I should have not made the team — I am, and have always been, a terrible golfer.
But I dream of day where a man is judged not for the fabric of his pants, but for the content of his character. We must break the belief that denim is somehow inferior to slacks, dress pants and other means of covering our legs. It is also imperative that we break the stigma that jeans are only for those with blue collars, and wearing them outside of such endeavors is worthy of a scoff. We also must realize that denim is within the means of almost all, because not everyone can afford a silk suit.
It is for all these reasons I believe we must end this denim discrimination! And maybe for the fact I wanted to wear jeans to the aforementioned party because I have put on weight and all my dress pants are a bit tight now…