Undressing for Success: A Man's Guide

"It may be time to rethink your wardrobe. You're upsetting some of your co-workers.""Well, I think I look nice.""Your ultra-revealing outfits are making many people in the office uncomfortable.""Why is it any of their business?""Because nobody can keep their lunch down. You're making them nauseous. For the love of God, cover yourself up!"A scene from the hit movie Erin Brockovich? Sadly, no. It's a scene from my so-called life.My boss, an editor of a prestigious alternative newspaper which shall remain nameless, called me into his office and dressed me down for my tendency to undress up.Inspired by the real life Erin Brockovich -- a feisty single mother of three with a penchant for salty language and skimpy outfits -- I am cultivating a sexy, more free-spirited look. Gone is my old uniform of jeans, pull-over sweaters and hiking boots. It's a fashionable new day. I look and feel da bomb. But apparently, there is a serious double standard for men and women when it comes to skin-tight revealing clothing in the workplace.A female clerk in a small law office shows up every day arrayed in short skirts, dangerously high heels and plunging necklines and she inspires a Hollywood blockbuster and becomes the darling of the talk show circuit, even a role model for other working women. But when a male reporter for a small newspaper shows up at the office in ass-less snakeskin chaps, see-through latex jumpsuits and man-culottes with sock garters, suddenly he's the bad guy. If Erin Brockovich had been Eric, the movie never would have gotten made.Granted, I'm no Julia Roberts. But I work out, keep myself in shape and am perfectly capable of pulling off a mesh tank top and spandex micro-kilt with fishnet scrotum caddie ensemble. (On sale this week at Target, by the way.)There is still a little thing in this country known as freedom of expression. The only criteria I should be judged on is the quality of my work. Nothing else matters. Not my religious beliefs, not my political viewpoints, not my occasional theft of office supplies and certainly not my crotchless satin jodhpurs.But this is about much more than just my own personal fashion awakening. This is about achieving a level playing field in the corporate world between the genders. Why are women who flash excessive cleavage afforded such respect by their peers and management, even offered the fast-track to promotions and benefit packages, yet men willing to expose an acre or two of butt crack are denied basic advancement opportunities? They are, after all, the same little smooshy gulf of flesh, one in front one in back. Yet dŽcolletage opens doors and plumber's peak is considered utterly inappropriate anywhere cars aren't being worked on. Someone explain that to me.In the end, we're all just people. How we choose to dress is a personal decision and one which should be respected. Intolerance can only be eliminated by individual effort. At least, that's what I read on some Internet porn site I was downloading at work.And in case you're wondering, my wife is totally supportive of my new look. She is down with it. Or I assume she is. She's been visiting family for the past couple of weeks. But she's often encouraged me to update my wardrobe so I know she'll be in my corner on this.I can't wait to see her face when I pick her up at the airport wearing nothing but pasties and a velvet tube thong, with my back hair done up in itty-bitty dreadlocks.As for my narrow-minded boss, I tried to think what courageous and sassy Erin Brockovich would do if she were in my situation, defending her freedom and principles. Which, of course, she had been. (You rule, Erin/Julia!) And suddenly it was so obvious. I told my boss to not let the fucking door hit him in the fucking ass on his fucking way out of my cubicle. So if anyone is looking to hire a smart, sexy former newspaper writer, please contact me. I'll be going through dumpsters near this building. You can't miss me. I'll be the one wearing cowboy boots, nipple rings and a girdle.

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