Normally jeans are strictly prohibited in my office, but we’ve declared the week between Christmas and New Year’s jeans week. We get ridiculously excited about it; the anticipation of it alone gets everyone jazzed. I don’t know what it is about the magic of dressing down, but it almost feels like you’re not going to work. Almost. Everyone is in a better mood, and in addition to greeting people with both eyebrows raised, a smile and a “how was your holiday” (we’re all very PC in referring to a generic day as if we all had a holiday yesterday), it is considered good form to add “do you love jeans week or what?” In fact, for this week only I can skip standard greetings altogether and just say “is jeans week great or what?”
Some people spend a lot of time standing around talking about how great it is. I guess they don’t remember the old days when, despite any declarations of freedom from Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem, in law firm world business attire meant skirt suits, pantyhose and mousy little 1” pumps for women. Every single day. On special occasions back then we only got so far as business casual week, and we were thrilled beyond belief to wear khakis to work. And while Betty and Gloria paved the way a generation before, to me just being able to ditch pantyhose was women’s liberation. Jeans? Only if there were blizzard conditions, and we were still expected to change when we got to the office. I forgot my work shoes on one such occasion and although I was rocking snow boots with my blue pinstripe suit, the men running the place were not amused.
Sorry, I think I just went off on a tangent, as I am prone to do. I’m starting to sound like some kind of crotchety old lady, “well that’s the way it was in my day and it worked just fine!”
OK, back to jeans week. I’m only partially responsible for approving jeans week, but everyone gives me all the credit, so this is the one and only time anyone who works here might say “You’re awesome!” or “You rock!”, strictly regarding jeans week. I don’t let it go to my head or believe for a minute it has anything to do with how I actually perform the other 51 weeks of the year, but that’s cool; many administrators don’t even get that much. What I find even more interesting is that it’s not unusual for a partner to also thank me for jeans week, as if I was a free agent.
For some reason, I always convince myself that throwing on jeans doesn’t take nearly as long as putting on pants, so I sleep an extra 10 minutes. Unfortunately, that just means we leave 10 minutes later, because in reality it doesn’t save me any time. I still have to go through the process of which jeans, shoes, and top. Now if we ever had sweat suit week I’d shave a good 15 minutes off my morning prep time, easily. Then it’s just a small leap to fuzzy robe and slippers week, which would require only that I roll out of bed and into the car. Now we’re talking ultimate efficiency.
In fact, when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade I thought the whole thing through very carefully and decided that it would be infinitely easier in the morning if I just slept in my clothes. I tried it for a few days and really loved it, but of course it didn’t take long for my mom to say “You look like you slept in those clothes” to which I proudly said “I did! Isn’t it awesome!”
That’s when mom reminded me that she’d gotten up in the middle of the night and driven me all the way to NJ to get nice clothes and look at me now. I eagerly suggested that we nix the trips to NJ, but she wasn’t going for it.