Friday, June 6, 2008

department of face control

It's unheard of in DC to enter any type of "official" building without first showing some form of identification and then going through some type of technology that scans you and your bags for weapons/underwire bras. I get it. We can't have random nutjobs shanking Norm Coleman, the hottest man in the legislative branch, or taking out schools of annoying tourists in the Rotunda. But while they're at it, can we add a fashion detector too? That is, if you're wearing flip-flops, an inside-out shirt or a BlackBerry holster, you would be barred entrance.

I say this not because I'm a style Nazi (it's called standards, haters), but because those three fashion no-no's are objectively offensive to both the wearer and and the viewer. Just as no human being should fear getting snuffed out on the House floor, no human being should 1) have to wear such ridiculous and/or inappropriate items, or 2) be the unfortunate witness to them.

And while I've always been staunchly against DC's dishabille tendencies and confronted quite a few in my time, it wasn't until yesterday that the aforementioned deadly trifecta of fashion faux-pas reared its proverbial gnarly head in one locale at one time. It was a nightmare.

Unfortunately, due to technological "issues," I was unable to properly Shambles P.I. these incidents, so in place of visuals, I will have to try to use the English language to describe these travesties. (I'm sorry, English language, for the sentences I'm about to construct with you. This sh*t's gonna get ugly.)

DEADLY DISHABILLE DEBACLE NO. 1 -- The flipflop fallout.

It all happened so painfully fast looking back. But at the time those 30 seconds of near death, seemed like 30 hours. It was 8 a.m. and I was getting off the Metro at Federal Triangle, which I would soon find out -- possibly even worse than the Hill -- is where all fashion goes to die. I made my way past all of the ill-fitting power suits and stepped onto the escalator. About five ascending steps up, I noticed those on the left began merging with those on the right, while others tried to push through at the top. The lady in front of me stepped back, assing me with her grape polyester A-line skirt, causing me to grab the moving banister to prevent falling back myself. As we inched closer to the top, it only got worse as I caught sight of the five-now-six-now-seven-douche pile-up at the escalator's apex. The cause? A goddamn motherf*cking flip-flop.

Turns out, escalators also hate inappropriate footwear. This machine literally tried to confiscate it by holding this footwear simulacrum's sequined fluorescent green (of course) rubber in its hungry clutches. Meanwhile, the flip-flop's rightfully embarrassed owner stood half-shod, crouched over trying to rescue the very cause of her distress. I don't know if she ever retrieved her gnarled hot mess of a "shoe" (I actually hope she didn't), but I hope she learned a lesson. DON'T EFFING WEAR FLIP-FLOPS IN A CITY. Save that sh*t for the beach. Or California.

DEADLY DISHABILLE DEBACLE NO. 2 -- "Ma'am your shirt's on inside out."

You know, I try not to make fun of the mentally impaired (especially being functionally retarded, myself), but there's a time and place. But wait, on second thought, considering the woman in question was a speaker at a technology conference, there's a chance that she wasn't even retarded at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure IQ-wise, she'd have me beat. Actually, she's probably a member of Mensa. But anyway, book smarts aside, the woman apparently failed to learn how to dress herself. Not only did she opt to wear a white long-sleeve T-shirt under her (ill-fitting) suit jacket, but she wore said T-shirt inside out, which became painfully apparent when she removed the jacket and let the tag flap like Old Glory at the nape of her neck.

At first I recoiled in horror. Not only did she opt for a poly-cotton blend, rather than silk or some other more appropriate material under a business suit, but she failed to even wear it right-side-out. As I stared in disbelief at "Machine wash with like colors," something strange happened in my mechanical heart -- I began to feel bad for this woman. Clearly, she wasn't single-handedly trying to revive a popular grunge trend of the mid-1990s. No. This woman just didn't care enough both about herself or the world around her to make an effort not to look like an asshole. For shame.

DEADLY DISHABILLE DEBACLE NO. 3 -- The bogus BlackBerry.

Last night it really hit me that everyone -- seriously, everyone -- in DC has a BlackBerry or a BlackBerry-like equivalent. (And if you don't, then please be my friend.) I was over at The Law's house collecting a dog with a mean uppercut that I will help dog-sit for the weekend when another friend looked at the coffee table and observed, "Whoa. There are so many BlackBerry's here right now." There were four -- one per person (not to mention several additional personal cell-phones, one of which -- featuring a huge-ass retro antenna -- will soon be mine). However, between all the douchetastic technology, there was one commonality: Not one of us hauled around that sh*t in a holster.

BlackBerry holsters and cell-phone holsters, in general, should only be for those who work with their hands. And I mean really work, like electricians, plumbers, construction workers and, um, goat farmers, and not for those who wile away their nine-to-fives typing and surfing the Web. And while the holster offense seems to be overwhelmingly favored by DC's male population, once in a while I'll observe a female committing this crime, as well. Yesterday was one of those days.

I saw a woman who had her BlackBerry in a holster attached to THE FRONT OF HER SUIT JACKET. Specifically, she had the holster clipped onto the outside of the right-hand pocket of her maroon poly-blend jacket. Why for the love of all that isn't the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen did she not just forego the entire holster and just slip that sh*t in her pocket I will never know, nor will I ever understand it. What I do know, however, is that she will live on in infamy in my mind as the Shambles P.I. who got away. Seriously, I have never seen anything more ass-backwards in my life. Tragic.

So this brings me back to my original point: Can we please create a Department of Face Control to secure our office buildings from these fashion terrorists? Because, seriously, while bad clothing can't shoot me in the face, it certainly inflicts a great deal of psychological trauma. It's un-American.


Shannon said...

I don't have a BlackBerry, and I'm already you're friend. See, the world is so much better than you thought!

I don't get those rubber flops, either - cities are gross, you want your skin as far from the pavement as you can possibly manage.

I-66 said...

I am surprised none of the technology on that table was eaten by the puppy. Then again, he just would've gone out to the patio and pooped it out.

N said...

I saw a girl carrying her flip flops and walking barefoot on the sidewalk in the downpour a few days ago.

Brandon said...

Don't have a Blackberry - and I hope I'm never forced to get one. Oh and I have the most BASIC of cellphones.

I've been reading your blog a bit (having just come across it) and it's quite the enjoyable read. Keep at it!

Jo said...

I saw the trifecta yesterday, with a layer of extra cheese

A man in an ill-fitted poly suit, with flip flops, and a bb belt.

Should I have stopped him? I felt slightly unethical not to tell him the truth.

Marissa said...


I've found that flip-flops actually make people's feet dirtier. That combo of man-made materials and foot sweat attracts dirt.


Apparently that puppy peed all over The Law's apartment. Gnarl.


Wait. What? Either I'm retarded or she's retarded because there's either some logic I'm missing or she's missing. I'm so confused!


I'm humbled (sort of...!), but thanks! If you live in DC, I wish you luck on staying BlackBerry-less. Godspeed.


I had that same ethical dilemma with the woman and the inside-out shirt. I opted against telling her because 1) it would have been extremely awkward, and 2) I would bet money that I'm the only one who even noticed. I still wonder whether I did the right thing though...I think I should've told her...

Beach Bum said...

I don't have a blackberry, and don't plan on getting one -- though I check emails compulsively while in front of a computer, my emails can wait until then.

Said that, I LOVE wearing flipflops and probably have (no exaggeration whatsoever) about 50 pairs of every color (all havaianas -- Brazilian flipflops rock!). My parents cringe at them too...

N said...

I'm pretty sure the girl was retarded, since I assume that retardation must be the cause of wearing flip flops.

I am leaving in a few days for some work travel, and was given a blackberry for my trip. I hate myself a little bit right now.

Anonymous said...

mostly because i am the eternal optimist, i offer the alternate explanation for the inside-out shirt... hurriedly getting dressed after a quickie in the hotel room.

i always try to see the best in people.