Posted in etiquette, Lancient History, Style

Getting Dressed


In one of my offices, when I worked for the church, I sat in a cubicle as a gatekeeper to the corner office and the office next to it.  Three walls of my cube were solid (one of them made up of the wall of the secondary office), and the third was glass.  As the light fell, if you stood outside the glass, you had a great mirror view of yourself.  But, because of how my cube was situated, you would never know this unless you were a frequent visitor to the Corner Office–and most of those visitors weren’t thinking about their hair.

There was a smaller office to the other side of the corner office, and the guy who worked in that office was notorious for being late to work, flying in like his tail was on fire.  To save himself some time in the morning, he would wear his tight, white undershirt (yes, I noticed) and bring his dress shirt and tie on a hanger, rush in, then stand in front of the glass of my cubicle and use it for a mirror to put on his shirt (unbuckling his belt and undoing the top button on his trousers so he could tuck the shirt in), and tie, and brush his hair. 

Now, he was a really, really good looking guy (and a really nice guy outside of this one thing), so it isn’t like the view was bad.  There are worse things than Brad Pitt getting dressed in front of you, right?  But it annoyed me.  Maybe because Brad Pitt isn’t my type?  If it had been Sean Connery…never mind.  That would have gotten me fired.

I was annoyed.  I was annoyed that this guy was standing fewer than 3 feet away from me, putting on clothes that he should have had on before he walked in the door.  I was annoyed that this guy was standing fewer than 3 feet away from me, undoing his belt and trousers.  I was annoyed that this guy would come out of his office to preen in my window.  I was annoyed at his refusal to take his reverse strip tease into the men’s room–where there was a real mirror.  And I was annoyed at his suggestion that the reason I was annoyed is because I was tempted to sin* by his show, and how pearl-clutchy he became when I asked how he would deal if I stood in his door in my slip and proceeded to put on my dress, jewelry, and fix my hair. 

After literal months of this behavior, I finally printed out a sign that read “No Preening Zone” and taped it to the glass at his eye level.  He lost his mind over that and we had a rather heated argument.  One of the hottest arguments I’ve ever had in a workplace, actually.  Though he never did stop checking out his reflection and using my glass as a place to fix his hair and check his eyebrows, he did start getting dressed in the men’s room.

My advice for the day:  Get dressed before walking into the office.  No one wants to see your underclothes, be they tshirts or tighty-whities.

*The only sin I had been tempted to commit was using God’s name in vain to tell him to take his g-dd-mned morning routine out of my face.

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Posted in Advice, Chef Lane, etiquette, Friends of Mine

Whine Dining


My guest blog about dining out with children is up on JulieAnneRhodes.com.  If you are wondering what gift to get the aspiring chef in your life, I would highly recommend a membership to Julie Anne’s site.  Check her out!

Julie Anne’s blog is always a delight.  She shares her world travels and culinary finds, as well as anecdotes from her time as a top model and rock wife.  I like her current Personal Chef incarnation best because that’s where all the recipes, tips and tricks come from.

Posted in etiquette, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Inside Lane, Philosophy, relationships

Art Appreciation


I don’t really worry about whether or not people like me. A long time ago, I learned that no one is everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s all right. I’ve said before that I think I have a strong personality, and I realize not everyone is going to want to be sitting in the booth with me. That’s okay. I respect that because I don’t want to sit in the booth with everyone either.

Many years ago I hit upon the idea that personalities and people were like art in a museum. I could appreciate the effort it took to bring them to their current installation, and I could (and should) respect them for what they were, but I didn’t have to want them hanging in my living room. My liking or disliking the art does not make it any less worthy of installation–it only affects where I give it space in my own life. The reciprocal applies. I wouldn’t match everyone’s decor, so I can’t expect every patron of the arts to want me as the focal point of their great room. If you don’t like me, that doesn’t make me any less worthy of someone else’s love–it only affects where you give me space in your life.

All that said, while I have very little trouble with the idea that someone might find my personality a bad fit for their world, I am horrified to think that anyone might find me annoying, ill-mannered, offensive, rude, or cruel. Those aren’t personality issues. Those are character flaws.

I do actually lose sleep at night when I think I have hurt someone, been rude to someone, or been offensive. Even in situations where I know I am in the right, I can’t stand thinking I’ve behaved badly. I want to be judicious in anger, and gracious in pain. I always have the thought in the back of my head, “One day, it might be you on the flip side of this coin. How hard do you want to have to beg for mercy?”

So, I am paranoid about being accidentally offensive. Even the slightest change in the tone of a conversation sends me scanning everything I’ve said or done, trying to figure what of my puppy-like idiocy might have caused the change. I come up with some doozies, too.

I find that really amusing about me. I don’t mind if you don’t like me, but I am gutted if I think I’ve done something wicked to deserve your dislike.

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