Saturday, June 18, 2022

As old age sets in (and continues) final wishes come to mind...

 I attended a "Celebration of Life" event recently for someone that I worked with in the 1970s through the 1990s, and who was an integral part of one of my cherished organizations (me being a past president had he being a past president) and I met and visited with several other attendees with whom I both worked, and participated in with not one but several other organizations and enthusiast groups (and as you may know, I am a "joiner" and I belong to many different organizations).

I grew up in the 1950s, what I can remember, and I remember getting (at that time having to) dressed-up for church on Sunday, and especially dressed up for Easter Sunday, and even getting dressed up for the family "Sunday Ride" which was a jaunt around the neighborhood in the car for recreational purposes.  It was at first irritating to dress for any occasion however as time passed it became known (not particularly obvious but known) that depending on how I was dressed, people treated me differently.  If I were "dressed-up" I would be treated with the respect of an adult (although still a child) and if I were casual (and dirty from playing in the dirt) I would be treated as an underling and a child in need of discipline.  

Now that I'm well into my seventies (in my eighth decade on this fine blue and green planet) I have learned that how one is dressed directly (or indirectly) has an effect on how one is perceived and treated.

Gone are the days of getting dressed up to take a trip on an airline.  Shorts, flip-flops and t-shirts are easily the most common attire now (with the TSA searching, prodding and poking) however as I have learned, traveling in a suit and tie seems to affect how one is perceived and treated.  I have therefore embraced the shirt and tie (and long pants) as attire when going out.  I find that the extra few minutes putting on cuff links, tying my tie (I have probably a couple of hundred ties in my tie collection) and finding a long-sleeved shirt worthwhile in the way that I am greeted and treated while in public.   Sometimes I get "what are you dressed up for" from people and I can honestly say "for me".

So, when I die, I would like instead of shorts, tank tops, flip-flops and t-shirts as attire that those attending my service(s) wherever the are, humor me, honor me, and commemorate me by wearing (it does not have to be formal like a tuxedo) their "Sunday Best". 

This is from the Huffington Post:

I think my father owned two pairs of shoes all his life -- one black and one brown pair of Florsheims, meticulously buffed enough to blind you on a sunny day and always, always (did I say always?) stored away with shoe trees when not pressed into action.

My father was a barber, but every day he dressed like he was going to a wedding, complete with the little white pocket kerchief, perfectly squared and in its place aManhattan, he looked no worse for the wear of traveling the subways and buses to get to our Astoria apartment. And the next day he looked better than the day before.ll the time. At night when he returned from his Eighth Avenue barber in shop 

Being my father's son, it was no different for me or my brother. Going to a strict Greek parochial school meant no school day would be spent in anything but a regulation school uniform complete with tie and yes, shined shoes. My mom, a seamstress, made mostly everything we wore, so every stitch was always in place. And God help you if you weren't properly dressed for church on Sunday (the subject, by the way, of a recent story on CNN).

To this day, I carry the dress-well gene. Though I admit to wearing jeans and regular knock-around shirts to work at times (hey, it's my own business), I always feel funny doing it. On calls to potential clients, I always dress well, even though dressing well these days means dress pants, a nice shirt, blazer, but no tie. If I wore a suit complete with tie to these visits I would stand out like a piece of sod in a field of crabgrass. A small white handkerchief added to my vest pocket would complete the overdressed look.

I always welcome the opportunity to dress up, an obvious leftover from my upbringing, but I also welcome the occasional question about why I do it. It's a very simple answer -- it makes me feel good.

There is no philosophical way to explain how good you feel when you're all dressed up and somewhere -- or even nowhere -- to go. It even works when you're working out of the house. Try it. Change from your sweats or pajamas-that-look-like clothes into something nicer, and your productivity lifts. Conference calls in your pajamas always go better when you change it up.

I try to spread the word of dressing up as a way to fight the blues, but many times it's just me having a conversation with myself. This holds especially true for the future leaders of our country.

It's nice to see young people dressed nicely instead of seeing them in ripped jeans (and they pay a premium to buy them that way), jeans pulled down to expose their underwear (why wear jeans at all?) jeans that button up just below the hips (and always creep down to expose the start of Mt. Rear) T-shirts with meaningless phrases (and they pay a premium to buy them that way) and, well, shoes that would make Milton Florsheim cry.

I'd like to make one more outrageous statement, though I have no scientific backing for it. Dressing properly might make you feel healthier. And who knows, it may even work on stress.

There is, however, one exception to this practice of dressing well -- leisurely Sunday mornings, especially when the weather is nasty. What's better than reading the paper, having a cup of coffee along with an everything bagel (just a schmear please) and looking like one of those police mug shots of celebrities. I think even my father would approve, though he'd probably be shining his Florsheims.

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