© 2009 Marica

088 – Full colour Friday

I would just like to say that it is my conviction
That longer hair and other flamboyant affectations
Of appearance are nothing more
Than the male’s emergence from his drab camouflage
Into the gaudy plumage
Which is the birthright of his sex
There is a peculiar notion that elegant plumage
And fine feathers are not proper for the male
When actually
That is the way things are
In most species

My Conviction from Hair

Fridays always feel like they are the beginning of the weekend. Something changes each week when this day finally arrives. It is almost as if everyone releases a massive sigh of relief. People seem lighter and the mood in the workplace is more playful. The prevailing attitude seems to be, “I can do this. I can get through today because in a few hours it is the weekend.”

Today was no exception. For some unexplainable reason this has been a particularly long week (a feeling expressed by many to me) and it felt like today took an awfully long time to make its appearance.

There is also another reason why Fridays are different. There is a UGR – an unwritten ground rule, a perception if you like that goes along the lines of “this is the way we do things around here”; it is inferred from people’s behaviour as opposed to a written down or even talked about rule – that applies to Fridays only. You know what I’m talking about don’t you?

Yes, of course you do.

That’s right – Casual Friday!

Now, Casual Friday still has restrictions applied to it – again not specified but nevertheless known – but having the choice of being able to put on your jeans and wear them to work automatically changes your mood about the day.

As I watched Lynsey getting dressed for work this morning I knew immediately what day of the working week it was. First went on a bright yellow t-shirt followed by a checked shirt. My husband is the only man I know that is prepared to wear checked shirts. He gets mocked for wearing them but continues to do so because he likes them. He is also the only man I know who loves textured fabrics, patterned fabrics, and colour – oh yes, loads of colour.

“Are you wearing that to work today?” I asked. His choices this morning seemed a bit more radical than his usual attire on casual Friday.

“Absolutely. It’s Full Colour Friday,” he stated.

I looked at him and smiled. I love him so. I love his originality, his creativity and his determination to make the most of every day.

As I was walking to work I was thinking about “Full colour Friday”. I began to take note of what people walking past me were wearing – the women and the men. I noticed that black blah was still evident but not so much today (by the way I was guilty of wearing black blah as well). It dawned on me for the first time ever the restrictions placed on men regarding what they can and can’t wear.

Who decided the rules about what each gender is supposed to wear? We all follow these UGRs and don’t really talk, or even think, about them unless someone contravenes one of these expected norms.

Women can basically get away with wearing anything – trousers, tops, skirts, blouses, dresses, jackets, coats, jewellery of all kinds, elaborate belts and other trimmings, handbags, shoes, scarves, shawls, hair adornments, and so on – the choices are huge and so are the possibilities. There is not only choice in styles but also in fabrics and colours. It is a cornucopia of delights that stimulate all the senses.

But what about for men? What clothing choices do they have available to them?

Stop and think about it for a minute.

Even worse, what happens to the man that decides to boldly go where no-one else has dared to go, to emerge “from his drab camouflage into the gaudy plumage which is the birthright of his sex”? We all know what happens – they get labelled and all too often ridiculed.

I remember when a close friend of mine decided to get one of his ears pierced – now I’m talking at least 30 years ago when men just didn’t do this. Apparently there was a right and wrong ear to have pierced and he pierced the wrong ear (probably on purpose). Even worse he didn’t just wear a plain metallic stud in his pierced ear, he would wear a jewelled one or on special occasions he would wear an earring that made a statement like the parrot one which I adored. He also liked to dress in loud colours, wear odd coloured socks and just be himself. He was, and still is, a breath of fresh air.

Imagine if the man in your life walked in with new shoes and they were these shiny red ones like in today’s photos (by the way these are available from Atticus Shoes, Lambton Quay, Wellington). How would you react?

Maybe if men were given more freedom to wear what they wanted to … maybe if it became acceptable for men’s clothing to change and for the options from which they could choose to become as great as they are for women … maybe men would find it easier to be who they really want to be … maybe society would become more respectful of individuality within both genders … maybe diversity and uniqueness would be celebrated … maybe men would feel happier about who they are … maybe … who knows?

The next time you walk down the street look around and take not of what women and men are wearing. Go into a men’s clothing store and look at what is available to buy for men. It somehow doesn’t seem right that their options are so limited. I don’t really understand why it is like this. I can however understand the man who wants to break free but chooses not to because the consequences may not be worth it. In reality UGRs continue to hold power over us all.

Anyhow I think Fridays are great days. “Full colour Fridays” are definitely a happening thing – thanks Lynsey.

I hope you enjoyed your Friday.

35. Every day focus on what matters to you.
38. Every day be brave and give things a go. Use fear to trigger you into action.
42. Every day celebrate. Who you are. What you have achieved. Things that matter to you.