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Monday, 11 August 2008

Uniformity…


I was out walking this morning before work and I came across some linesmen for the electricity company doing what lineys do. They were strapping gentlemen dressed in their navy uniforms and I thought 'my, my, don't they look nice'. What is if with men in uniform? Is it just me or do you also look twice and then wonder why you do? The thing is they are just men - no better or worse than any others. What do you think? Does a uniform do it for you?

I checked out the internet to see if there were any words of wisdom as to why women are attracted to a man in a uniform. I got pretty much the same answer time and again. It’s apparently about control and domination. That the uniform indicates authority and that we like the idea of being naughty and being punished but a strong man. Another site indicated that it’s the appeal of seeing one man many times….supposedly because all men look alike in a uniform. Not sure how that is appealing. Can you work that one out? What? We want multiple men? Or do we want a faceless man? It all sounds rather Freudian to me.

At work there has been a push to get new uniforms. No, pretty sure that it has nothing to do with Freud and everything to do with no one wanting to get up in the morning and think ‘crap, what will I wear.’ Only some people at the Acme Dance Shoe Emporium – no it’s not a real name although there are some toe tappers there - have uniforms and they are pretty old and daggy. Management has no issue paying for uniforms. That's a nice change. The only thing they cannot handle is a bunch of women squabbling over what uniform to have…and I do mean squabbling. Apparently, a month or two before my time at this job there was a huge uproar over what uniform to buy. The cranky old cow that recently left decided that she would form a committee of her own and tell everyone what they would wear. Naturally everyone arced up at this and it apparently became very close to being World War three in the dance shoe business when she presented to the other staff what they would wear. Picture 1980's bank staff uniforms. Picture many unhappy people. Picture management's collective brains exploding under the fall out of angry women.

Now I don't care what uniform they pick because I am only ever going to wear it at work. It’s not like I'll wear it to a party or something. I really don’t know why people get their knickers in a knot over what they will look like. But I like uniforms because they take away the hassle of what you will wear. I went to one meeting about it last week. The major gripe coming from the women there? They don’t want to iron it. Fair enough. Ironing should be forbidden. It’s just wrong. One woman said that we should only get uniforms up to size 14. I lost the plot on this - no, I am not bigger than a size 14 but how frigging discriminatory is that? If you are 16 of over you miss out. Naturally I put the kibosh on this. This upset the woman in question as it was just one more thing I pissed her off about. My main sins when it comes to this woman? I have a habit of stamping work documents upside down or with the wrong date or I forget to stamp them at all. She has a conniption fit over it. Bad Amarinda. I also put things in the wrong in trays. Actually I know what things to put in what trays but I kind of enjoy doing it wrong. I feel it gives her life meaning. It's become a hobby of mine.

Anyway - back to the uniforms…in school when I was growing up - and even now - most Aussie kids wear uniforms. I have always seen this as a good thing as it establishes a conformity that has nothing to do with wealth or class structure. Having grown up with not much money to spare, as most of you, there would have been no way for my parents to have been able to provide different outfits for everyday even with the 2nd hand clothes shopping they did. Of course there were always girls in the class that had the finest white cotton or white silk blouses as part of their uniform while everyone else had scratchy old cotton ones but on the whole we looked a like. It solved fights and bitchiness…okay, the bitchiness was still there but controllable.

And god no, I don’t think everyone has to conform but uniforms make work life so much easier. So they can pick what they like and I will wear it. A sugar bag tied in the middle with a red ribbon sporting the company logo? Sure. Okay. It's only work after all. None of it’s meant to be taken seriously.
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Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

8 comments:

barbara huffert said...

Just out of curiosity, why isn't management saying here are your uniforms, wear them? Then there would at least be collective griping against them and not in-fighting that takes up so much company time.

Sandra Cox said...

Keep us posted on the Dance Shoe Emporium Saga. I've never been to a school or job where I had to wear the uniform thing. The closest was a bank job that demanded 3 piece attire and that had me pulling my hair out. But you're right. It equalizes the playing field.

Molly Daniels said...

Yes, I am also one who favors uniforms. I was also the weird one who actually liked assigned seating in school and on the bus.

Anny Cook said...

I would love to see school uniforms on the kids. Yes! Imagine! No pants hanging off their butts! No skirts above the water line!

I worked at McD's for years and years and never had a problem with a uniform. It was MUCH easier getting dressed for work.

Regina Carlysle said...

We never did the uniform thing but in retrospect, it would've been a good thing all around. There was a marked difference in the have's and have nots, a bad thing. Also makes it easier for moms getting the kids ready in the morning. Very easy.

Katie Reus said...

I had to do the uniform thing growing up during school, then when I waited tables/bartended during college. I think I'd leave a job if they wanted me to wear a crappy uniforms now. I have too much of a hippy style and I can't imagine ironing....don't even know if mine works ;)

Ashley Ladd said...

I used to HATE wearing uniforms. No, I didn't have to wear one at school, luckily. But then I worked at King's Island, an amusement park during my summers throughout high school and I had to wear clown suits - frilly dresses with pantaloons - huge pink and blue polka dots and ruffles.

And then I joined the Air Force and had to wear those ugly green pickle suits. At least we said the new recruits always looked like pickles in that dowdy green thing.

Soooo, do I get all gooey inside over a guy in uniform? Not unless they look like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Ashley Ladd said...

Oh! I don't think I'd care one way or the other anymore if I had to wear a uniform. And I agree that uniforms equalizes things and that I'd much rather see our school kids wear uniforms than see their asses hang out of their pants.