I’m an unemployed lumberjack, and I’m okay

I don’t wish I were a woman. Being a manly, guy-type creature of the male species works for me. It’s nice to have a built-in excuse for my noises, smells and propensity to stop channel surfing on any sports-related event. (I actually just watched a replay of an all-star high school football game while eating dinner.) The common drawbacks, such as body hair, male-patterned baldness and a complete lack of fashion sense, don’t bother me much. And the double standards tend to net out in my favor. So why complain? But on some days – like, say, any summer day in New York City when I have to go to work or a job interview – I’d rather wear women’s clothing. It’s just cooler.

Today’s weather wasn’t that bad for July; 78 degrees and sunny, with humidity thicker than Heidi Montag in math class, is practically Fall in this part of the world. We usually get temperatures 15 degrees higher to go with our atmospheric soup. But it also wasn’t suit weather. I had a job interview (yeah, me!), which meant putting on my finest (boo, me!) and hopping on the subway (again, boo, me!). The meeting seemed to go well, but my travels were less than pleasant.

A couple of my suits are dark and made of heavier fabric, perfect for all my Wall Street power lunches. A couple are light and made of lighter fabric, more suited for summer evenings sipping Mai Tais at the yacht club. Heavy or light, the bottom line is they’re all made of wool. And they’re all really, really, really, really hot. People keep telling me that wool breathes because it’s a natural fabric. It pants… maybe. Breathes… no. Wearing a wool suit in the summer is like wearing fiberglass insulation with slightly less itch. Would someone please bring back the Miami Vice look, and quick? I’ll happily embrace the feathered hair.

I opted for my favorite suit – a charcoal, pinstripe number made famous in a certain New York Times article – matched with a white button-down shirt and a blue tie. It may have been a tad conservative, though entirely appropriate for the occasion. This was a job interview, after all. I considered going with a blue-gray “summer-weight” number. But I opted to sweat out an extra half pound of water weight and not risk being under-dressed.

I managed to remain cool while waiting for and riding the 7 train. My station is above ground and attracts a nice breeze, and the train car was air-conditioned. The Grand Central station – where I transferred – was a little warm, though much more bearable than it will be as summer drags on. Subway stations are like oceans in that they maintain heat long after the weather changes. Some sort of giant fan thing circulated the air. That helped a little, until the cool-ish air mixed with the heat generated by other trains sitting in the station. I draped my jacket over my arm. Sweat began to form on my brow and drip down my shirt. My collar chafed my neck. That was the beginning of the end. I wiped myself off and boarded an uptown 4 express train for a little relief. Hopefully it would catch the uptown local 6 train I’d just missed.

The 86th St. station was much worse. I steamed for another ten minutes, until the 6 train came along to take me to 110th St. There I began walking and continued sweating. I arrived at the offices for my interview dripping. My shirt sleeves, where I’d draped my jacket, were soaked through and stuck to my arms. My hair was wet with sweat. My face was on fire from the razor burn. Oddly enough, my nerves were calm. I found a spot under a tree to cool off, without much success. Shade doesn’t relieve humidity.

But air conditioning does. A few minutes in the bathroom was enough to sponge off and become presentable. My suit jacket would cover my soaked shirt; I’d be fine as long as I kept it on. The interview seemed to go well from that point. The ride home was also infinitely more pleasant. I grabbed a downtown bus to avoid a sweaty backtrack, and transferred to a Queens-bound train at 59th St. without waiting. And then I was home, to bask in the coolness.

Today was sort of an extreme example. I don’t generally wear a suit in the summer, or at any time of year. But when working, I still have to wear slacks or khakis, a button down or polo shirt with an undershirt (can’t have those giant sweat marks) and shoes that cover my feet. Imagine how much more comfortable a breezy skirt and a light blouse would be. Maybe you don’t have to. Some sandals that let the air dance across my toes would be just divine. I’d happily paint my toenails if I could get away with flip-flops in a business environment. And what about capri pants? Aren’t these just shorts by another name? A friend from a previous job and I used to joke about wearing shorts to work and claiming they were capri pants. They’re becoming all the rage in urban areas, so maybe I’ll get my chance, under the guise of “fashion.” Until then, I’ll just have to deal with my sweaty manliness, all the while wishing I could just dress like a woman.

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One Comment

  1. Amanda wrote:

    You know where my closet is. Help yourself.

    Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink