Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society." — Mark Twain

Another thing I'm freaking out over thanks to Thursday's group interview is the dress code: business formal. I guess that means I won't be wearing my ripped Slayer t-shirt that's three sizes too big and studded with safety pins. No sweatpants, no shorts, nothing that says I'm with stupid on it, maybe I shouldn't dye my hair green and purple and wear it in a mohawk. I'm not really sure what "business formal" means, but I'm pretty sure that the mohawk thing would be "business casual."

Problem is that it's not just gonna be a room with some corporate suit and some bright-eyed twenty-something kid showing off the generation gap. There'll be five twenty-somethings, so the suit will be comparing and judging us against each other, like it's some sort of especially sick beauty pageant. I asked Mom, my designated adult, what I should wear and without hesitating, she told me I need to wear a suit and tie. Wonderful, because it's the middle of summer in New York and nothing says weather-appropriate on an eighty-degree day like a superfluous navy blue jacket.

I'm really just pissed off because while some guys can make the power-suit look happen, my Men's Wearhouse purchases make me look like I'm going to the junior prom and not dancing with any girls. The Men's Wearhouse salesdude, also dressed in business formal, helpfully pointed out that one of my shoulders is higher than the other. So now I can also be self-conscious of that for the rest of my life.

There's not much I can do about the suit at this point, but I will be going out this afternoon to throw away twenty bucks on a brand-new tie. I'm taking the extra-gay step of looking through the pictures in those men's catalogs beforehand, and hopefully I'll find some photos of five-foot-six male models in navy blue suits with uneven shoulders and I can dress like they do. Let's take a deep, heterosexual breath and look....

First stop is the Men's Wearhouse website, where we meet this guy: . Let's take a moment to register our contempt for this smug bastard, how he's giving off those pensive airs and enjoying the Men's Wearhouse everyday low prices at the click of a button. What an asshole. God I hate him.

The Men's Wearhouse website has this, uh, nice little feature they're calling "Men's Wearhouse Guy'dLines," apparently because my gender sucks at coming up with good puns. Men's Wearhouse Guy'dLines is a list of every fricking thing I'm doing wrong when it comes to dressing myself, from my mis-cut pants (fashionistas call them "trousers") to my mismatched belt buckle and watchband to my miscolored shoes. We have this lopsided guy — who is clearly getting more chicks than I am, although that's partly cause he's clearly gay — as our guide through the fashion minefield. He has a whole pamphlet's worth of tips to help me land the job, but they're written in some incomprehensible Zoolander-speak that makes them less than useful, such as "Add houndstooth and more textured fabrics in lighter to medium tones to the above options, as well as non-vented jackets with extended shoulders."

There are also a few business formal Commandments, like "There is no such thing as a short-sleeved 'dress' shirt. Always wear a long-sleeved dress shirt to your interview and for all business occasions," and like, "Never wear a penny loafer or a casual loafer with a suit...." Or the world will implode!!!!!

No, wait, that's not gonna happen. The worst that happens to you is that Joan Rivers spots you and makes fun of you on a Lifetime show that only vapid people watch.

Maybe I'm shooting a little too high for my first serious business formal attire. So I'm taking a step down and checking out the Sears catalog, because I'm hoping that the Sears male models are to the Men's Wearhouse male models as the Sears lingerie models are to the Victoria's Secret models. (In case you happen to be a model reading that sentence, that's what we call an analogy. Can you say "analogy?") Sears, as we all know, is where people who are poor like me but have too much pride to shop at Wal-Mart go when we need top-notch knockoff-brand products. Unfortunately, their website is absolutely useless; they don't have a single picture of a guy wearing a tie. Also, the only ties they sell seem to go perfectly with a midlife crisis: .

Stupid Mens Wearhouse. They only have like six suits online, though there's one suit where the decapitated mannequin model has a shirt on that's approximately the color of my Thursday shirt. And they've got three tie options that go with the shirt. Nice to know I've got choices.

Crap. Here's the thing: I have a $150,000 Ivy League degree that I worked my ass off for four years to obtain. If I don't get a job because I'm wearing the wrong color shoes or something, may the interviewer who turned me down burn in fourth circle of Hell, eternally tormented by a horny Carson Kressley. Fortunately, I get to sleep at night knowing that the real reason I'm not finding a job is that I'm underqualified. I feel much better.