Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Only Jackets I Care About Are Dust Jackets

Everyone who knows me knows how little I care about appearances on a day-to-day basis. I don't wear makeup. I wear white whenever the hell I feel like it, even if Labor Day's come and gone. My favorite shirt features a cartoon character. My favorite shoe designer is whichever one happens to be most comfortable (and I never care enough to remember the name).

With that in mind, let me tell you how glad I am to be leaving the formalwear industry of DOOM.

In the last month, I've felt my soul be squished, twisted, and crushed by having to memorize vest patterns and coat styles. Honestly, I don't think there's anything in the world I care less about. Telling the difference between and remembering the names of four different dot patterns? Not high on my list of priorities. Being able to tell a customer why this notch lapel with two buttons and a satin collar is different from that one, with the same description? I don't care, and I can't tell them the difference when I don't get it myself.

Valuable brain space has been wasted, and I may never get it back.

I fully recognize that a certain art goes into helping customers pick out what they feel most represents their wedding. It's a job that needs to be done and is incredibly valued by many people. The problem is, I'm not one of those people. (My wedding to Spousal Unit was almost an anti-wedding.) Every day, I felt like I was doing something useless and not contributing to the world in any recognizable way. I felt like a worthless human being.

Imagine feeling that way and still going to work each day. Imagine staying at work each day, with that feeling threatening to physically choke and drown you, and still forcing yourself not to leave till the end of your shift. Confronted with all those vests and coats, I almost broke down in tears multiple times. Last time I felt like this was my job at Picky Slave back in college - five years ago. You remember - the one where I burned my shirt and toasted a marshmallow over it after my last day.

Many of the people who read this job do not have to imagine this feeling. You've lived it in the past, or you're living it as you read this. Friends, protect your souls - it is possible to get out intact.

The tux shop was retail, but it was cleverly disguised retail. I sympathized with the creepily gesturing mannequin in the corner: my face was a plastic mask, and personality just got in its way. The only thing I was allowed was my standard, company-issued face, with all the proper phrases and words in place.

Screw that, is what I say. I've got a job at a bookstore now, and I shall dominate the earth with my glowing personality and my real attitude.

At least, most of the time. There are still times when politeness outweighs laughing in someone's face - such as when they decide white camo vests and bright blue ties are perfect for their wedding party.

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