'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
SPRING IS TIME FOR ‘T.M.F.’
In recent years there has been a major trend toward casual clothing. For example, the attire seen in today’s business world is much more relaxed than in the past. And not just “relaxed fit,” which is a clever marketing term that really means your slacks require more fabric than Ringling Brothers’ big top.
Things were much different when I first got a job many years ago. As soon as I was hired, they told me that each day I had to wear a shirt, tie, jacket, and leather wingtip shoes. (Although not specifically mentioned, it was understood that unless I happened to be a future U.S. President from the state of Arkansas, the wearing of pants was also expected.)
Nowadays jackets and ties are becoming less common, and soft-soled, comfortable shoes are perfectly acceptable instead of those painful wingtips. OK, ladies, before you get angry, I agree that hard-soled, uncomfortable wingtips are child’s play compared to the excruciating things you wear on your feet. I swear, high heels must have been invented by the Marquis de Sade.
However, I read an article not too long ago that said women’s fashions are driven by a desire to impress, not men, but other women! So don’t blame me. If women are known as the “fairer sex,” then men are known as—and this is the official scientific term—the “oblivious sex.” The average man has no idea what kind of shoes a woman is wearing, unless she uses them to kick him in the shins for staring at parts of her anatomy that are definitely not her feet.
Which brings me to my main point today (finally!). Although it’s a good thing that fashion standards have relaxed in the workplace, so that the typical office building no longer looks like a Mormon convention, outside of the business world fashion standards also have been relaxed. Now that the warm weather is here, many folks do not hesitate to appear in public with T.M.F.
Ever hear the expression T.M.I.? This stands for “too much information,” and is often muttered when, for example, someone offers a detailed description of his recent colonoscopy procedure (as an annoying newspaper columnist did last year). Regarding springtime fashion trends, T.M.F. stands for “too much flesh.” And since the average American routinely overeats and routinely under-exercises, T.M.F. oftentimes stands for “too much flab.”
Trust me, ladies, we are not staring at you because you look “hot and sexy.” (So don’t kick us.) We are staring because we are trying to figure out what you were thinking when you decided to go out in public with a size 8 tube top squeezed around your size 16 torso. And some of you fellas are even worse, apparently unconcerned that innocent bystanders will see you in all of your shirtless, Shamu-like glory.
T.M.F. also causes onlookers, after recovering from their initial visual shock, to ponder that age old philosophical question: You paid good money to have a tattoo put…THERE?! I believe Plato was the first to ponder philosophically regarding the Harley-Davidson logo tattooed onto Socrates’ back.
There is one place in our culture, however, where the runaway tractor trailer of casual attire crashes head-on into the concrete wall of modesty and decorum (and where bad analogies crash head-on into awkward phrases). That place is our society’s sacred houses of worship.
Yes, far too many people dress in ways that leave nothing to the imagination when they visit shopping malls. Oh, and displays of T.M.F. also occur quite often in those less-attended houses of worship: churches.
Please do everyone a favor before heading outside: cover up. And for some folks, consider using Ringling Brothers’ big top.
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