Friday, July 27, 2007

Thinking About How We Dress

As much as anyone else, I enjoy lounging around the house in jeans and one of my beloved, ratty old t-shirts. I do, however, tend to dress a little better (at least, to the point of wearing a less-ratty t-shirt) when I go out in public. After all, Agnes is stuck with me, but I still have a chance to impress others with my natty attire, in the absence of spectacular good looks.

I think that pride in one's appearance is a good thing, which is why I am always amazed at the slovenly appearance of many young (and even not-so-young) people nowadays. Looking at some of the unkempt male creatures slouching around the malls with hats crookedly planted on uncombed heads makes me wonder where the pride in appearance has gone. And the girls are often similarly worthy of head-shakes: large numbers of piercings, large and often ugly tattoos, and overly-revealing clothes on those who should know better are enough to make one's head hurt. You wonder what they see when they look in the mirror.

I thought about this the other day while reading an article about a new, major crackdown by Iranian police on people guilty of the heinous crime of "unislamic dress" - men in "Western-style" clothing and haircuts and women guilty of showing any hair beneath their headscarves or wearing their overcoats overly tight. The Head of Information of the Tehran police was quoted as saying that his forces were targeting men and women who were "dressed like models."

This rather puts my observations of poorly-dressed Americans in perspective. It's clear that one should dress appropriately to the occasion (jeans and a t-shirt are as out-of-place in a ballroom as tuxedos and evening gowns are at the local mall), but in the end, how we dress is an expression of personal individuality. There's no law in the United States against looking stupid (as much as we might wish it were so), but at least we don't have the police taking time out from protecting us from criminals to arrest those who undermine our morals by showing a head of hair or a bare arm.

The Teheran police spokesman said the crackdown was meant to "increase security in society." I'm sure that Tehranis feel much better that they are not threatened any more by maldressed miscreants...but I'm equally sure they'd feel still better if the police had rolled up some drug dealers, muggers, or killers instead.

I'm glad that the Islamic Republic of Iran has its priorities right...after all, if you're going to thumb your nose at the world and build a nuclear arsenal with which to threaten to wipe Israel off the map, you may as well look good doing it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


1 comment:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I agree; on casual day at my office, some come in looking positvely filthy.