How to Look More Like Corporate America

Yesterday, the shuttle driver asked me if I worked at Dunkin’  Donuts. I have no idea why, because he’s seen me so many times before, and if I were a Dunkin’ Donuts employee, then I would not be getting on a shuttle bus that goes directly to my work, which happens to own the damn shuttle bus company. He only said it to me, then laughed.

Needless to say, I was embarassed, but couldn’t quite figure out why. There’s nothing wrong with Dunkin’ Donuts. There’s nothing wrong with working there. I think it was because I was being singled out like that, and, true to form, it would probably have been an insult to anyone else sitting on that bus.

And I was right – a couple of people looked at me, but while trying to pinpoint how I looked like a Dunkin’ Donuts employee, rather than, “why is this man saying this to her? She’s clearly not a Dunkin’ Donuts employee”.

I was so inexplicably annoyed by this that the driver was made exempt from my parting “thank you”, which I usually mumble while trying not to fall over the steps on the way out.

It was raining that morning. I sat down, and took off my raincoat and rainboots.

Everyone else on the bus was wearing black or grey. Black suits, black shoes, black umbrellas, black coats. It was like beingin The Matrix, only dressed as a clown. Could that really have been what prompted him to say that?

If it made any difference, my trousers were black, made from a good fabric and had a smart centre-pleat. My office dress code is business-casual, but everyone looks quite well put-together and I do often see people wearing bright colours.

Luckily I had decided to make an extra effort today. Underneath Joseph’s LSD Technicolor Nightmarecoat, I had on an exquisite purple, silk kimono blouse and a comfy but fashionable grey shrug cardigan. In my opinion, I looked rather spiffing.

I had also brought a brand new pair of shoes with me (ported over from England, but, as of yesterday, never worn). Yes, every woman has a shoe obsession. Because, men, much like your formal attire, your shoes are dull and have almost no variety.

"tha SHOES-ah!!"

I had tried them on for all of five seconds and had decided that they were the absolute most perfect shoes of all time and the cushioned insole was like being hugged with a spring in my step. Plus, they were perfect for my new Corporate look.

Then, much like that episode of the IT Crowd, I realized that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to walk properly in these things. Stumbling around like a first-time, half-drunken tranny, it soon became clear that these stupid heels just did not compute with my feeble chicken-legs, ruined by years of flat-footed Batman-logoed-Converses and purple glitter spiderweb wellies with no arch support.

Every time I had to get up to go make a cup of tea it was like being on an episode of Gladiators. The pain was bad enough – I could never understand how the women I see on the way to work run in these things. They must have been born without calf muscles.  But the main problems were:

a) balance

b) keeping a normal face through the pain

c) maintaining a straight trajectory from A to B.

d) balance

As you can see, it is much easier when wearing sensible shoes:

I could not cope, clodding around without the slightest hint of grace, my arms flailing and flapping in my fashionably oversized grey shrug in a manner that matched my chicken legs. Thankfully, my weak attempts at all of the above were largely hidden from the rest of the office. I could tell this because the shoes were so unbelievably tall I could see over the cubicle walls of the entire office. Despite this excellent vantage point, the experiment had failed.

As a non-practising Goth, I’m comfortable wearing all black. I even have a black umbrella, just like everyone else on that shuttle did this morning.

But, hey, Corporate America, can your umbrella do THIS?

it lights up in different colours!


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