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Please Think

WARNING - This post has me standing on a soapbox before it ends.

My husband and I went away for a quick getaway the last few days.  One of the main reasons we went was to return for a dinner at the Napa Rose restaurant.  This time we wanted to sit at the chef's counter.  When you sit at the chef's counter at the Napa Rose, the chef works with you to design your menu for the evening based upon whatever fresh ingredients he has and your likes and dislikes.  We were really looking forward to the dinner, and this is what I ended up wearing.


Head cropped because of lack of makeup and hair at this point.

Here we are at the chef's counter.



We really enjoyed it and would recommend the experience to anyone.

But...

On Monday morning, we left our hotel room to walk to breakfast.  When we stepped on the elevator, there was a woman inside wearing her pajamas.  There was another woman there as well who just kept staring at her and shaking her head.  At first, I wanted to give this pajama-wearing woman the benefit of the doubt - maybe she locked herself out of her room somehow, or maybe she was on the way to the spa (okay I'm stretching it there, but maybe).  But as we stepped out of the elevator, she stepped out as well.  We walked through the hotel lobby behind her and out onto the street where she continued walking until she arrived at the same restaurant where we were going to have breakfast.  She walked up to the counter and ordered and waited for her food then turned and left the restaurant.

In the moment, I did take a picture of her.  But I'm not going to post it.  The more I've thought about it, the more it actually makes me sad.  Maybe she knew that going out in pajamas was going to make a statement about her.  People rush to judgement and make assumptions.  I know that I did.  I thought, "I can't believe this woman is wearing pajamas walking down the street and is not embarrassed by it."  I thought about how lax we've become.  In 1950, if someone had walked down the street in pajamas, would they have been stopped by the police?  Would people have assumed that something was wrong with this person?  Of course, I wasn't alive in the 1950s, so I'm making this judgement based upon my mother telling me how times have changed.

Now it's not so odd to see people who don't seem to care about what they look like.  I've heard people say, "The media puts too much pressure especially on women about appearance.  It shouldn't matter."  But the cold, hard truth is, it does matter.  If you don't care enough about yourself to care about your appearance, it tells something about you to the people that you meet.  You can judge a book by its cover.  Why do we advise young people to clean up and wear their best clothes for job interviews?  Because appearances matter.  I don't want to hire someone to be my assistant whose appearance is disorderly when I expect my assistant to help keep my life in order.

After seeing this woman, I began inventing a history for her.  She's a frazzled mother of four who has left her family in their hotel room and escaped to get one moment of peace to herself away from the delights of the family vacation.  But she only ordered breakfast for two.  Hmmm.  She stayed too late in the hotel bar, and she needed something to absorb the alcohol.  Could be.  I still want to tell her that it would have only taken a minute to put on a pair of pants.

All of us have challenges and issues.  We all have something about ourselves that we would change if we could, and a lot of people do with plastic surgery if they can afford it.  We also all have different senses of style which can change with where we are in our lives.  The daily dress of a young mother may be jeans, tee shirts and tennis shoes.  I dress for the office each day.  Even at the office there are women who don't care about hair and makeup.  It's not important to them.  But I've never seen anyone try to get away with wearing pajamas to the office.  You just don't do it.  Any more than you wear pajamas to walk down the street.

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