We got a nice email from our superiors the other day instructing us on how to conduct ourselves during hot weather. Okay, mainly it was all about not wasting a lot of electricity so we don’t crash our power system like Toronto did. Because then all us important government workers wouldn’t be able to do our important government work. And then the country would grind to a halt.
Anyway, after all that stuff, and apropos to nothing at all, the memo said:
Wear clothes that are comfortable and adapted to your work area.
None of us could figure out exactly what that meant. Some suggested this was a subtle way of telling us that beachwear is not acceptable work attire. But we haven’t seen anyone in the office in beachwear this summer, since we have no summer students this year.
Others suggested that it meant that, instead of complaining when the air-conditioning is too cold, we should bring sweaters and/or instead of complaining that the air-conditioning wasn’t high enough we should stop wearing 3-piece suits to the office in the summer. Most of us were just flummoxed. (Ya, you heard me, I said “flummoxed”)
In any case, there is obviously something seriously wrong with the way we’ve been dressing during this heat wave since management has broken all records in getting this memo out so quickly. Normally, we don’t get memos until at least 6 months after whatever it is they think we need to know, is already over.
It usually takes that long since important memos like this need to be vetted by all senior staff, all branch executives, all departmental executives and all corporate communications personnel. Then they need to be translated into all of Canada’s official and unofficial languages and dialects. Then they need to be signed off by all the executives and managers and communications “experts.” (I put that in quotation marks because there’s always at least one typo or grammatical error per paragraph in all our memos).
But getting back to the clothing problem. I decided to take it upon myself to investigate – not just around the office, no sir. I took on all of Ottawa in order to get to the bottom of this “adaptable clothing” investigation.
You’re probably wondering what I found out, right? Okay. While I couldn’t really find anything wrong in our office with how well-adapted people’s clothing is to their work area, I did discover that people in Ottawa generally do seem to be having a lot of trouble adapting their wardrobes to the current smoldering climate.
To me, the only really suitable thing to wear on days when the temperatures and humidity reach into the mid 40s (110ish American) is a light, loose, flowing, natural fiber muumuu thingy – knee length; preferably sleeveless; and preferably wet. There shouldn’t be any fabric around my armpits or neck area and I want it loose enough for air to circulate under there. Ideally, it should be constructed in such a way that no undergarments are required.
I don’t actually own anything like that. Neither does anyone else as far as I can tell. Frankly, I don’t actually anything like that exists, more’s the pity. But it should exist if we’re meant to survive this sort of weather. And it should be unisex, so everybody can be loose and cool.
Meanwhile, people are doing their best to hobble together what they consider to be hot-weather garments. Some have succeeded. Others are failing miserably. Here’s where most of them are going wrong:
Shorts & Tank Tops: These are the second worst thing you could wear right after jeans and a hooded fleece(which I’ve actually seen someone wear this week). Or a leather jacket (which the guy from the Smoochy Couple is still friggin’ wearing! And then he puts his hot leathery arm around his woman who is appropriately attired in a cotton sundress. I’d be having some screaming meamies if I were her. Obviously, she’s not as nervy as I am or as repulsed by hot leather on her naked skin.) Anyway, aside from that crazy stuff, shorts aren’t great because don’t allow for airflow around the body’s important “hot zones”. If the hot zones aren’t cool; you’re not cool. Tank tops are no good because they generally require foundation garments and then cling to those garments and cling to your sweaty body which feels icky. Your body’s other hot zones – over the heart – are doubly encased in tight, constrictive clothing. It’s making me squirm just to think about it. Is there anything less comfortable in sweltery weather than a brassiere? I’d say not.
Anything Polyester/Spandex: Polyester and spandex are great for cold days because they wick up body moisture and tuck it somewhere far away from your body (no on knows where), leaving you nice and dry and warm. You don’t want that on hot days. First because polyester/spandex that’s been soaked in perspiration, will never ever smell fresh again — no matter how many times you wash it. Second, because it’s preferable to have light cotton, linen or some other natural fiber blotting your sweat (not tucking it away somewhere mysterious). Because then your garment hangs all moist around your body where it will cool in the air. That’s kind of the point of sweat.
Skanky Underwear: With the light, skimpy clothing you’re wearing it’s pretty much unavoidable that a bra strap is going to show or slip down your arm. Or maybe your bra isn’t completely covered in the back by your snazzy sun top. And your short skirt or dress will inevitably expose your panties at some point when you’re sitting and airing your damp-chaffened thighs. So, please invest in some new underwear. Grey, dingy, saggy undergarments are best kept for under thick woolen trousers and sweaters in the winter. I’ve been seeing some lovely, lovely women in the last week with beautiful, beautiful clothing. Then they flash undies and bras that are so unsightly they are good for nothing except selling to perverts on e-Bay.
Nearly Naked: I’ve been seeing waaay too much of that during the heat wave. Sure there are some people who look great with almost nothing on; but not many. Not many at all, really. Also, exposing all that flesh on a hot sunny day will give you some serious sunburn or sun-poisoning in a short time and that shuts down or at least hampers your body’s natural cooling system and sucks all the fluids out of your body. None of that will make you feel, or indeed, look cool.
Metal Jewelry: If you’ve worn your metal bracelets, necklaces, earrings and other piercing things on a really hot day and spent more than 20 minutes outside in the sun you’ll know why these are not a good idea. Go to a beach tomorrow and watch as the multipley-pierced discover this.
Anything Scented: Because your profuse sweating, mixed with the oils in your heady perfume, hairspray, body lotion, etc. will magnify the scent by about a million. People near you who are already on the verge of collapse and/or nausea from the heat, don’t need to be pushed over the edge by some overpowering stench. No offense. I’m sure it’s quite lovely in the winter.
Curtains: While the elderly woman I saw the other day, wrapped up in white sheer curtains (held together with a grey belt that totally did not match) was very inventive, she should probably have removed those little weights in the hem first. Also, a slip or perhaps an extra curtain strategically placed, would have been a good idea.