08 June 2007

You're not poolside at the Delano...

I know the feeling. Believe me, I know.

I know what it's like, for the fifth straight morning, to look at your tidy little row of black pencil skirts, ivory pouf-sleeved silk button-ups and gray gabardine shifts with knee-length hems and come to a "Hmmm...not today" conclusion.

I also know that because it's a casual Friday, because it was already desert hot at 8am and because you've spent all Winter earning that bikini-ready body, you felt you had the right - hell, the obligation - to slip that strapless Susana Monaco plum-hued tube-dress onto your size-4, curves-in-all-the-right-places frame and head off to work.

The thing is, hon, you don't have that right. None of us do. And instead of looking cute and put-together as you clearly intended with your complementary, equally-beachy accessories of a raffia tote, coral drop-down earrings and (shudder) wedged, laced-up-the-calves espadrilles, you simply looked like the kind of girl who didn't know any better than to wear a poolside ensemble to an office building in the oh-so-not-poolside part of town that is 18th St. between L and M.

As I've stated previously on this issue of crossing the too-casual line during the work-week, take a moment, take two, and please reconsider your decision before you ruin it for the rest of us who, like you, would much prefer to face the Summer swelter of a Friday morning like Nicole Richie shopping on Robertson Blvd. but realize that doing so is flat-out wrong. If you think the rest of us don't want to show off the fruits of our calorie-counting and calorie-burning labor seven days a week in thigh-baring, backless, push-'em-up-and-out wardrobe components, you are sorely mistaken. We do.

Okay, I do.

But the point is, we don't because we're adults and we know better.

If you really felt you had no choice but to dress the way you did this morning, you should've taken a sick day, walked your little blonde ass up to the Georgetown University green and laid out with the rest of the tube-dress crowd.


Anonymous said...

I'm a guy and I hate when stupid girls wear stupid clothes like that in a professional setting. you see it all the time on the Hill.

Out of curiosity, what kind of "push-'em-up-and-out" outfits are you referring to? Just wondering, because um, I might want to get my girlfriend one.

Johanna said...


You know, something like this.

Oh shoot, you can't see me, can you? Well, you'll have to just sit and wonder...

not a fan said...

Don't speak for all of us when you say we want to show off our figures seven days a week. That's just you, Johanna. Some of us don't need to do that to feel good about ourselves. Some of us are confident enough in the other areas of our lives not to rely solely on our "good looks" to get by. I feel just as beautiful and confident in a pair of baggy pleated khakis and a t-shirt as I would in one of these nice cocktail dresses you're always shoving on us in the "If I had a Sugar Daddy" posts, because I know I look good. I don't need the affirmation of men, especially *older* men (could you scream any louder that your goal in life is to be a vapid trophy wife?), to know that.

You really think you're an adult? Try a sad excuse for one.

An unmarried one, at that. Probably forever, unless you find someone just as self-absorbed and superficial as you are.

K said...

"Not a fan" sounds like a baggy-bottomed, yellow-pitted, drip to me. And quite likely married to someone who's unhappily married.

I mean, because I've read ALL the comments s/he shoves on me, and damn, I hate him/her and all s/he represents.

Don't you?

Johanna said...

Can I let everyone know that the whole "unmarried" thing I have going on in my life right now really doesn't bother me? Really, it doesn't. I appreciate that most unhitched ladies in their late 20s lament their single status, but for me, it's just not that big of a deal. If I meet that person, I meet that person. If I don't, I don't.

If you want to cut to the core of me, tell me my Chinese isn't that fluent, that my heel strut is awkward, or that my pores are visible from a 2 foot distance. Tell me my friends only pretend to be nice to me, that I have a flat ass, or as one recent date said to me, "You know, you're not as attractive as you think you are."

Any of the above are going to be a great deal more day-ruining than telling me I'll never be married. Because quite frankly, after living in DC and witnessing what some people consider "happily married," I'm content with the single-with-puppy status quo.

Noelle said...

Johanna, thanks for your response to "not a fan". It's sad that so many of your readers and other individuals out there in the great big world assume that a woman's life goal is to snag a husband. This is such a shallow viewpoint and simply not true. I'm not downplaying love, or even the institution of marriage, but I believe you would be hard pressed to find these types of "you'll never be married" insults thrown at bloggers of the other gender.

L said...

all I can say is...people who want to put down others should reveal their identities, maybe show us a picture of how good they look in their baggy khakis... Otherwise, they're just plain cowards.

intern in the city said...

I know exactly what you mean when you say "after living in DC and witnessing what some people consider 'happily married,' I'm content with the single-with-puppy status quo" -- I'm surrounded by all that "happiness" 10 hours a day at my job.

not a fan said...

right, girls, right.

oh, and "l," the whole point of my exaggerated comment about the baggy khakis was that I don't need a stylish outfit to know I'm beautiful in my own way. It may not be your way or society's way, but it's *my* way and that's enough.

I can't grasp why this awful blogger has so many readers defending her. Perhaps she herself is writing these supportive comments? I wouldn't be surprised.

And Johanna, your Chinese isn't that fluent - how's that for a day-ruiner? Made me feel beter, that's for sure.

dc girl said...

If getting hit on by every desperately unhappily married man in your office counts, I'm in too. DC is the pits for an optimistic, hopeless romantic. What you see here will suck all the life out of that dream.

L said...

don't mean to start our own forum here, but if you think saying these mean things make you a 'beautiful' person, not-a-fan, you must be uglier than I thought. Outside AND Inside.

Anonymous said...

a date said that to you? how did you respond?

Johanna said...

In all honesty...

"Yes, I am."

To which he responded...

"Yeah, you are."

L2 said...

I think Noelle hit it spot on when she said

"you would be hard pressed to find these types of 'you'll never be married' insults thrown at bloggers of the other gender."

I'm getting so sick of the marriage status issue being thrown at single women who simply happen to have other priorities in their lives than simply becoming a wife. HELLO, is it 1955??

It's like people think it would be better to be an unhappy wife than a happy single woman. Geez, this country is conservative. And we're talking about people in a relatively well-educated city here.

Lady Tiara said...

i couldn't agree more. strapless in the office just doesn't cut it (even in my "almost anything goes" office).

i can't resist responding to not a fan's comments: 1. try posting under an actual blogger indentity if you're going to spew misery. 2. if you hate what johanna has to say so much, why do you read her blog?

Angelina said...

I totally agree with you, 12. I think women have enough bs to deal with that we shouldn't tear each other down. That said, it's not like Johanna doesn't tear other women down, either. And when she does so, she does it based on preconceptions, stereotypes, and standards that in many cases don't apply to men. Her blog often reaffirms behaviors and ideas that feed into misogyny and chauvinism. Not a fan's rhetoric is dumb, but the fact that Johanna's is more clever and entertaining doesn't change the fact that it ends up sending much the same message.

Joanna said...

Hey Johanna,
Your Chinese is good enough. Your pores aren't bigger than the normal population. And, you have a really cute nose.

You are a cutie pie even though I don't always agree with your comments. I suspect a lot of what you say on the web, you know all those bits about sugar daddies and geriatric repulicans, is a front to your deep down loveliness.

Rock on, girl.

knew you as hannie said...

The geriatric republican crush is not a joke, but the Sugar Daddy thing clearly is. This is a woman who has been achieving her whole life, not a woman whose lifelong goal is to be a stay-at-home mom. Not putting down those women who decide to do that, but the notion that all Johanna wants in life is to have a rich guy buy her things is way off base.

I thought the sarcasm was pretty obvious, but perhaps not...

C said...

I thought most people in major metropolitan areas get married in their late 20s or early 30s? Also, the higher educated you are, the later you marry. So if you are highly educated and living in the city, it is very likely you will marry later. What's the big deal? My friends from the city get married the latest, suburban friends are kind of middle of the road, and a couple relatives I have from country areas in PA married young. Culture, education level, and luck dictate when one will marry. Oh, the right guy helps too. :)

None of my single friends are concerned about their single status. Then again, they are all gorgeous, educated, fun, happy women with many men to choose from- they know their time will come when it's right.

Anonymous said...

Isn't one of the stated philosophical pillars of this column the idea that we should not be trapped in narrow definitions of what we wear in the office/what we wear out of the office, single/married, puppy-owning/puppy-hating, etc.? If so, maybe the readership should try to be a little more self-aware and not act out their thinly disguised personal issues ("No really, I never think about marriage. Never. NEVER.") in this space.

But that aside, what about this post? "A serious job is no excuse... except when I think you're not being serious enough," seems to be a better title for this space of late. Your arguments for good taste are laudable, but they seem to be driven from the same place that drives the sort of uptight dressing that you are fighting against. Can we get a little deconfliction, please?

And please, stop going on about how smart you are. The more you do the whole "I speak Chinese! I write about missiles!" thing, the less cute it is... And you're cute, aren't you?

Johanna said...

Do I go "on and on" about how smart I am? Do I?

Correction -- I've never claimed to be fighting against "uptight dressing," but rather the notion that women in this town seem to think their high-demand jobs excuse them from having to put forth a professional appearance. I'm fighting against inappropriately tight, inappropriately short, inappropriately slovenly and so on and so forth.

I don't know how long you've been reading my blog, but my three guidelines have always been:

(1) dress to flatter your figure
(2) dress with your audience/venue in mind
(3) dress in what makes you feel most confident, NOT most comfortable

I'm not here to say you should or shouldn't introduce more color, more unconventional cuts or more luxurious fabrics. I'm basically here, as my mission statement clearly states, to rail against inappropriateness.

And frankly, my readers should feel free to comment on whatever they want, however they want. Personal issues only tangentially related to the post at hand are always welcome and will never be deleted, no matter how offensive or off-base they are.

thanks for reading.

off to bed,

west coast devotee said...

Jo, don't worry about this woman. I mean, I was initially impressed by the use of "philosophical pillar" and "deconfliction," but then I realized she's just pretty darn bitter and one of those dime-a-dozen haters you've had to deal with over the months.

And no, you don't go on and on about how smart you are -- she's clearly referring to how *your writing* reminds us all of how smart you are.

I hope to see "deconfliction" in a future post. But then again, that might be too obviously I-went-to-an-Ivy-League of you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (you, the critical one at the end there):

ASJINE isn't about fighting against convention. I think you're mixing up Jo with some of her critics. It's about personal and professional self-expression WITHIN the conventions and boundaries within which professionals of a certain age and gender live at this place and time.

So, insofar as there's a "philosophical pillar" (I had to chuckle at that; you MUST be in grad school) that's it. You sort of missed the point.

Nice vocabulary though. Deconfliction, goodness.

Insofar as the references to her job are concerned, give her a break. The issue's come up a lot recently because she's been getting a lot of sniping, much of it ill-mannered; and in any event, it's quite relevant to the blog, insofar as it demonstrates that J is one of the demographic at whom the blog is chiefly directed - professional women working on Conn Ave.