Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What lesbians wear to work

Hi. I'm back, and I propose we talk about what lesbians wear in the workplace. I know you want to talk about this. Here we go.

I recently received a tattered copy of a Dec. 14 article published in The Hollywood Reporter. It's so 20th century, I know, to receive a paper copy of a magazine article, but, truth be told, it's just my speed. Therefore I thank my lovely friend in NYC who handed it to me on New Year's Day, speaking with the most tender voice, "God, just look at her." She was referring to this photo of Rachel Maddow, which appeared with the profile. My friend loves a tall slim drink of butch, and who better than Dr. Maddow to create that particular cocktail? Rachel does look especially sweet in this photo. But more striking, I think, is how so perfectly gay she is. I mean, it would be clear to even the most unsophisticated eye that this person is a lesbian. And here she is in her office at Rockefeller Center, preparing to go on national television, no less, as one of the industry's most highly rated anchors. I love knowing that this is what Rachel wears around the office. When on camera, she makes a minor adjustment by throwing on some eyeliner and, according to the article, her signature uniform: "I have a monochrome rainbow of the exact same $19 blazers from H&M." She says she dresses herself because when others attempt to style her "it doesn't work. The whole androgynous thing goes away, and I just end up looking like an ugly man or a 14-year-old boy."

When attempting to navigate the challenge of presenting our authentic selves at work without looking like Joan Jett or Justin Bieber, I recommend the blazer. For me, it serves three purposes: 1. The blazer makes my jeans look presentable. 2. The blazer has pockets, which can be filled with lip balm, keys, flash drives, and the occasional sandwich (my students find this amusing.) 3. The blazer suggests androgyny, which many lesbians in the workplace — fighting off the feminine standard of pumps, florals, and skirts — are trying to achieve.

Other arbiters of lesbian fashion to look to: Ellen DeGeneres for the sweater vest and man-pants combo (Ellen, we love you!); Pia Sundhage for those of you in the coaching profession; Bette Porter if you are so good looking you can pull off wearing dreadful puffy silk blouses; and Christine Lagarde, who is not a lesbian, but nonetheless serves as a magnificent example of how to dress if you are, or aspire to be, a power lesbian.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are days when I wish I was back in grade school and wore a uniform (crisp white hemmed blouse, peter pan collar, pleated skirt) to work every day, it would simplify a number of different issues.

When I worked in management, I wore silk, linen, tencel in lovely blouses, dress pants, with light jewelry, and always a silk scarf (the professional female version of the tie).

I now work part-time in food service (I write the other half of my alleged life) and lo! it is dirty, greasy, spill-y, sticky, messy work, so I wear sneakers, jeans and black long or short sleeve fitted t-shirts since I am on my feet all day long and usually in a hurry with someone's hot ("behind you, coming through") hot hot soup. No one seems to have noticed that I am now actually wearing exactly the same outfit every day (yes, I have a week's worth of exactly the same outfit), and my tips are good, so it must be working... Perhaps my grade school re-dreams are coming true!