impotent exodus

There is an annual tradition for many folks in my company where they cash in all of their sick/personal/holiday/vacation time for a spectacular trip to their homeland. Normally this mass exodus starts at the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This year was very different. Only guy left to get married, one gal went home for a family celebration, the 60th birthday of her father, the rest are still here. Many remain because they spent all of their vacation on last years trip, but curiously there’s a larger contingent of Indians with young children.

There is this strange migratory ritual which happens quite frequently with the Indian men in my office. After autumn passes into the early cold dark days of winter, Indian men send their wives and young children back to India. Obligatory and obvious jokes are thrown when the notion is discussed in the office. “So, you’re going to be a bachelor for the next three months. How much beer did you buy?” or “I wish I could send my wife and kids away for a while, I’d be free to do anything.” Unchecked alcoholism and abject adultery aside, this could be the most terrifying time for men. I look at their lunches, and the pressed shirts on their backs and wonder, ‘how long did it take you to do that on your own’. I really have no clue, because I’ve never been to India, let alone know how a typical Indian household is run. Suffice it to say, if this were any of the married people I know, they would be a wreck if they were to go it alone.

By chance, I happened into a conversation about this directly from the horse’s mouth. Rajakrishahariprasad, and Balajiramababuymeals of a spiced rice with vegetables. Both seemed pleased with their meals, neither boastful nor ashamed of what either one of them had. It turns out that both of their wives and children were shipped back months ago. I asked them if they ever feel that they can’t handle the day to day burden of housework. Without any serious thought, they roughly came up with the same answer. They said that their needs decrease and it’s very easy to take care of themselves. I took this as Indian men go into a hyper-efficency mode when their spouses leave, but there has to be more to that. I have to wonder because they had arranged marriages, is this a way to keep a relationship fresh? Separate vacation time, where one can spare the other travel woes, awkward silence, and in-laws. I want to ask these things, but I don’t think I’ll get a straight answer. I’ll get the same response that I get when western married men ask them about their alcohol intake or the porn channels on the satellite television. A sheepish smile, followed by a laugh, finished with a head wobble…

I wish I could dress badly…

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I know I push the envelope for what passes as good taste in business casual, but I refuse to label myself as poorly dressed. I’m sad that there is a movement out there that urges us geeks to dress better. My question is why do people dress improperly in the first place. I fear that geeks out there will stand by the excuse that they dress for comfort. The comfort of a tattered hooded sweatshirt (hoodie) will not counteract the amount of discomfort and shame you’d feel if you were wearing such an outfit in a room full of sophisticated business-types.

Now for the sake of full disclosure, I have been known to wear scrub pants and happi coats to casual friday, but that was when my immediate audience were operational. This means, there were no big decision makers looking at my clothing and weighing my capacity as a unix administrator. Now, I’m no longer just an administrator. I interact with people. People factor in my credibility with the way I look and carry myself. Frankly, I do not want to have my customers think that I cannot plan out their projects because I cannot manage to plan out my outfit. Sure, I own geeky t-shirts and perhaps accessories that one may deem to be fan-boy-ish, but they are used as accents. Embellishments if you will, on the otherwise stodgy albeit sophisticated lines of business casual clothing.

Perhaps the geeks out there that want to dress better because the world of well edited reality shows, airbrushed fashion, and cheaply made dressier pieces of clothing are leaking into their peripheral vision. Joseph Abboud, touched upon this in a 2004 interview on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show”. There is an overall movement of dressing better and I think this causes a cascading effect of competition to look good. In my opinion, I think that yes, there is a healthy sense of competition to look good, but there are people out there who want to buck the trend and look worse. As an avid contrarian myself I understand this, but that mentality is not going to help me get a raise. I’m saving the disestablishmentarianism for the street, and you’ll be sure that I’ll be wearing my hoodie then, but for when I’m in the office… I’m going to stick to wearing the ironic/militant/crude t-shirt underneath my cleanly pressed woven sport shirt.

Like herpes…

denim short pants are destined to walk this earth on the asses of style-challenged people.

As wonderfully fashionable in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the denim short pant was a hard-working durable fabric cut into a garment for liesure. If one was toiling on a ranch or grinding down steel, the logical fabric to be worn was denim. It seems that the world that doesn’t understand this irony continue to wear denim shorts. The unabashed fashionistas in Japan were on top of my list for innovative and cutting edge trends, until I saw :

A japanese man wearing cut offs

Ok, I’ll let someone slide if they wear denim short pants or skirt in parody if it’s worn well…. but I didn’t think that the Japanese would come full circle and think that the cast-offs of western-civilization are truly fashionable.

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