Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I dress for myself, thanks.

In reading my previous posts, I realized that in my rant on being cold on the golf course, I barely touch on the main issue that I had intended to address. That being the entitlement of (predominantly) men to discuss and critique the clothing I (and presumably other bartenders, waitresses, cart girls) choose to wear when working.

While it is most apparent when I’m wearing too much clothing because I’m cold, I have realized that almost daily I get some kind of un-asked-for comment on my appearance. Most days it may just be a compliment, but after a number of years of receiving these “compliments”, I have learned how to read them. I have learned that when one of my coworkers compliments my shirt, it means that I’m either showing a lot of cleavage or my boobs look really good otherwise. When a certain golfer notices my new pedicure, my legs look really good in whatever skirt/shorts I’m wearing and he needed an excuse to have looked all the way down my legs. I’ve even had a golfer tell my grandmother (they are neighbors and friends) that he approves of how appropriately I am always dressed for work. He may be a friend of my grandma’s, but that doesn’t make him any less of a lecherous jerk.

These men are mostly straightforward, on the hottest days asking “where’s your bikini? Don’t you know you’d make much better tips that way?” On others days, it may be less apparent but is still unsettling. Yes, I am aware that the more skin I show, the better the tips tend to be. Also, as an intelligent, vain female, I also realize that the less clothing I wear, the less tan lines I will get. (I call it cart tan. It’s a cross between a trucker tan and a farmer tan. It’s kind of a farmer tan because of the straps and other lines from whatever clothes I wear, and a kind of trucker tan because my left side is more tan than the right because of the canopy on the cart.) However, I will not expose any more skin than I am comfortable with for the sake of making a little more money. I am a beer cart driver and a bartender. I am not a stripper. (Not that there’s anything wrong with stripping. I’m just not comfortable with it for myself, and therefore do not work at a strip club. I work at a golf course.)

Where do these men feel they have the right? In other jobs, employers may critique (however objectively) the chosen apparel of their employees. That is their right, as far as company representation goes. If I were working customer service of some kind, interacting with said customers and wearing pajamas to work, I would expect and not object to my employer requesting me to represent the company better by dressing appropriately. If I were dressing like a bartender at the same job, I would also appreciate my employer suggesting that s/he is uncomfortable with my provocative appearance while representing my employer. Both are acceptable; I’m not complaining about representation.

What I am uncomfortable with is working at a place that allows me to represent myself how I see fit, because I have proven that my standards fit within my employer’s guidelines, and having customers critique me.

Why do you feel you have the right????

I feel attractive in the clothing I have chosen. I have chosen it for a number of reasons, fashion and my morals being two of the higher points of consideration. I also consider customer preference, to a certain extent, when deciding what to wear. As in, I realize that my customer base at the golf course is predominantly older than me. I choose to not wear anything too trendy to work, because I know they will not appreciate it. However, I am a grown woman, and an employee of the golf course. Customer comments that suggest that I am wearing too much clothing or am too covered are entirely unwelcome and unappreciated.

I don’t receive these comments from the same (type of) men when I’m not working. Do they truly feel that as my employment requires smiling at them and selling them alcohol, they have the right to critique what I am wearing while doing so? For the most part, these men know they need to keep their hands off; those who don’t usually learn quickly. I may flirt with those who have shown they will not overstep any bounds, and converse with most customers. Yet those customers who refuse to realize that I am putting forward an image at work, I am already as dressed for their pleasure as I have chosen for the day. Not only is it out of line to ask me to dress more provocatively, it is also greedy and shows how much control you expect to have on the women around you.

1 comment:

  1. You should write more - even if it isn't about the golf course, although I do enjoy your posts. You are a great writer and I know the summer is over, but I am sure you can share other stuff? Thanks for the wonderful, albeit short, read. :)

    Take care.