THE HIGH COST OF FASHION


She probably won’t get the job, and I wish I could tell her, but I can’t. She had all the qualifications, the personality, and everyone wanted her to be a member of the team. She also has the mandatory 60 Ton Limited Master’s ticket which means everyone has to call her “captain.”Her misdeed is a conspicuous nose ring she has stapled to her right eyebrow. This would disqualify her for the position, which had a dress code. In fact, it had a uniform code of the Canadian Coast Guard.

The worst part of this scenario is our Labour Relations Act. The law allows no one to make a comment about her choice of body adornment. For example, I couldn’t call the fact that the position needed her to rethink her fashion statement. I couldn’t tell her about the safety concerns the tiny ring evoked. I couldn’t even tell her the ring would reflect sunlight. It would start polluting the visual esthetics of the coastline with random Morse Code signals. Ships would run aground. Pleasure craft would bump into each other. Any of these would be a flagrant violation of her rights. Political correctness, aimed at protecting her rights, cost her in the end.

I’m not comfortable with all this poly speak. I grew up making political statements. I grew hair. It was long. In the sixties, there was no shortage of people eager and ready to violate my rights by making off-the-cuff remarks about my political statement. Meanwhile, my political statement inched its way past my collar and toward the middle of my back.

There were the ever-present, “Excuse me lady, but can I have a date,” or, “Some day you’ll make some guy a great wife.”

“Thanks, Pop,” I said.

Once an elderly woman asked, “Excuse me! Young man! Are you a hippo?”

“No lady,” I said. “I’m a rhino.”

“What’s that you’re growing on your head there, son? A Farm?”

Finding a job was difficult while wearing my political statement. Potential employers could barely control their mirth as I walked into their shops, handwritten resume in hand. Once, however, I stopped by a shingle mill where they needed a warm body to pile blocks no matter what it looked like. The personnel guy hired me on the spot. “Another thing, Mike, I’d like you to think about getting a haircut.”I thought about it. I went for the pony tail option.

Before my nineteenth birthday, my political statement began melting away like a glacier in a greenhouse. Left was a fringe approaching the middle of my back. I went in for the moustache option, and grew a fine and luxuriant handlebar cookie duster that stayed with me to this day.

Nowadays, nobody makes a comment about my appearance. The once red moustache sports a little salt and pepper, but I still teach fitness classes to people of all walks of life – including patrons of Ron Zalko Sports Club which caters to the fitness needs of the glamourous people of the Vancouver’s budding movie industry.

 I suspect age is the factor. People trust me as I approach the half century mark. I resemble Doc Adams of the old Gunsmoke series. Even Matt Dillon trusted Doc Adams. Age has something to do with the young woman’s budding career. While the Coast Guard might not mind Doc Adams with a nose ring in his eyebrow, they draw the line at a nineteen year old woman.

I yearn for a return to the sixties. In the sixties I could at least find out whether the ring is removable.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine, and the proprietor of The Réésuméé Doctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca.

If you’re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia

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