Patrick Logue: The sick male world of dress-down Friday
Once a week, office workers say to themselves ‘ah feck it, I couldn’t be bothered making an effort today’
Mr Inappropriate. Photograph: Thinkstock
When God rested and made men, she must never have envisaged something called dress-down Friday. Because if she had, she would never have made men like she did. Or even at all.
It’s a strange thing that has crept into modern office working life over the past few decades, where people are accustomed to saying “ah feck it, I couldn’t be bothered making an effort today” once a week. There wasn’t a law passed, or a decree, or even a memo to say it was to be a thing. But it is a thing. I certainly didn’t get the memo, but I do find myself attempting to look a little less sharp on Friday than usual. Okay, keep it polite, colleagues.
I’ve noticed the women make a better fist at dress-down Friday. Maybe it is because for the other days of the week they have to be a little more imaginative than the blokes, who can easily throw on a suit every day and the closest they may come to making a decision is to wear a white shirt over a blue one.
The dress-down guys
There are few men who do dress-down Friday very well. There is 501 Guy. He’s still wearing the light blue Levi 501s he bought back in the late 1980s or early 1990s when he was in college or living in a flat in Phibsborough. He has been buying the same pair of jeans since. Now, he may be at risk of becoming cool again by accident and by dint of the fact that fashion comes full circle sometimes. Close, but no cigar.
There’s Suit Guy. He isn’t capable of wearing anything but a suit no matter what. In fact, he probably wears a suit – or part of a suit – on Saturdays too. Try as he might to dress down, he finds himself dusting the dandruff off his shiny pinstripes every Friday morning. He may or may not be a member of Fianna Fáil.
There’s Not-So-Smart-Casual Guy, who tries very hard to be cool, but just can’t make the leap from a full suit and tie to proper European-style smart-casual. He usually ends up tucking his polo shirt into his light brown Hilfiger cords. He may or may not wear deck shoes.
There’s Mr Inappropriate. He may turn up on a Friday in absolutely anything. It could be a shellsuit or the pair of runners he used when he was painting the hall. He is liable to turn up to a meeting in this get-up and embarrass every colleague.
There’s Mr Too important. Mr Too Important is, well, too important to dress down. Deep, deep inside he has a personality that makes a lie of his slick, corporate, groomed exterior. He may have been a fan of Half Man Half Biscuit back in the day but now he considers that giving any indication of past interests would be to cede control to colleagues. Colleagues should be controlled, not in control. For that reason, Mr Too Important may even dress up on a Friday to emphasise how damn important, senior and alpha he is. He may or may not be a member of Fine Gael, but you will never know because giving away life facts is, again, ceding control to controllable colleagues.
There’s Ran-out-of-Clean-Shirts Guy. There’s a bit of Ran-out-of-Clean-Shirts Guy in all men. Try as he might to buy enough shirts, put them in the wash each day and iron them each Sunday night, he finds himself staring into a wall of T-shirts every Thursday night . He has actually started planning around a four-shirt week, meaning there’s a clear and present danger he will start running out of shirts on a Wednesday night.
There’s Going-Out Guy. Going-Out Guy is demob happy from about 2pm every Friday. He’s basically sick, which believe it or not means he is cool. Usually in his late 20s, he’ll arrive in each Friday with a new pair of trainers, skinny jeans and one of those T-shirts with the hugely wide necks and short arms, for maximum muscle exposure. He may be wearing a suit jacket over it and he’s just dying to hit the town as soon as big bell goes. He’s dancing a little inside. He won’t have to be standing at the side of an under-sevens match the following morning.
He may be a supporter of the Labour Party, the happy-clappy bit, but he may actually grow out of that. If you were to put money on it, some day he’ll be wearing skinny jeans on a Friday when everybody else is sloshing around in flares.