"So I can wear a dress ten inches above my knee, or even more than
ten inches above my knees, without hose as long as I wear underwear,
but I can't have bear arms at work?" she asked.

"Correct," the department head replied. "You would have to put on a
sweater or jacket with a sleeveless top."

"That just doesn't make sense," the one without underwear said.

All left the meeting shaking their heads and laughing about it.

"I'm going to get one clip on tie and leave it here," Otto said to his
male co-workers. A florescent green one that will clash with every
shirt I have. And I think I'll wear it with my three-button polo shirts
since dress code does not say that I have to wear a men's
button-down dress shirt."

Andrew overheard and wasn't amused. He said he thinks and acts
more professionally wearing a tie and bet they would, too.

"Yeah, that's why your face is beat red and you sweat profusely when
the air conditioning is on the fritz - which is usually most of the time
the temperature outside is over 79 degrees," Frank said to remind him.

"You'd think the dress code would be common sense - you know,
clothes that are clean, semi-professional looking and fit properly,"
Frank added.

Unsure what size to buy herself since she hadn't worn them for so
long, the one without underwear went to Wal-Mart after work  to buy
some. There she encountered Jimmy in the ladies' department.

"Shopping for Mother's Day?" she asked him.

"No, for myself...something to wear on Monday," he said as he asked
her what size woman's dress she thought that he would need.

"I'd rather wear a dress than a tie," he explained.

"Oh, OK, then you're probably a size 20, but you're tall and your
shoulders are broad. Maybe a 22. You might have to go to a special
store like Lane Bryant," she said.

Jimmy found a couple dresses that he took home to try on rather than
deal with the fitting room attendants' reactions in either the ladies or
men's areas. He couldn't help but notice that his friend had nothing
but two packages of panties in her shopping cart.

By the time Monday rolled around, Otto and Frank both bought clip on
ties in awful green and orange colors and made sure they were clipped
on before 9 AM.

By 9:05, Jimmy was asked to leave work for not following the dress
code. He wore the plain lilac colored dress. He was told he was not
wearing a necktie. He returned with a clip on necktie that he attached
to the top front of the jumper. He worked the rest of his shift and
continued to wear a dress with a necktie for a couple weeks. He always
wore men's dress ankle socks and sandals with whatever dress he wore.

Jimmy knew that he could continue to come in ten minutes early to
change into his dress and run in the restroom to change back into
men's clothing to wear out in public for his drive home from work for
the rest of his career there. He thought dresses were so much more
comfortable than wearing men's slacks and a belt.

A few menopausal women with hot flashes and a few more with cars
without working air conditioning opted to wear their sleeveless tops but
keep at work jackets in the worst clashing colors they could find.
Andrew's ties always had clashed whatever shirt he wore, so he fit in
in the sea of awful colors that the large open room office took on as
the dress code was implemented and followed.

At the next office meeting, the company owner from the Oklahoma
corporate home headquarters came to observe the office and speak.
He couldn't believe what he saw.

"Are these people color blind? Or is this some kind of Best Goofiest
Outfit fundraiser day?" he asked the department head.

"No, they're just protesting the company's dress code in a way that
doesn't allow us to stop them," she said.

"That is the homeliest woman I've ever seen," the Oklahoma cheese
said as he saw Jimmy in a dress from a distance.

"That's not a woman. That's Jimmy. He's not a transvestite, either.
Again, he's just protesting the dress code," the department head
said. She explained that Jimmy didn't want to wear a tie.

"But he's wearing one on his v neck dress anyway," Oklahoma cheese
said.

"Yes, he is," the department head agreed. She couldn't help think that
had she known Oklahoma cheese were coming, she would've worn a
larger, better fitting blouse and would have sent Jimmy on a cross
state adventure to another office where he would've worn men's
clothes and not been seen here today in drag.

She also couldn't help notice that Oklahoma cheese was not wearing a
tie and did not wear socks with his sandals.

"Where's Brian?" he asked, referring to the office general manager.
"Lets get him and call a meeting for all staff.

Within ten minutes all were seated again in the meeting room.
Oklahoma cheese congratulated the office for being one of his
company's most productive and sales award winning branches.

"I am lifting this simple dress code that apparently someone wrote a
long time ago," he said. Immediately, everyone was happy. He asked
that they hold their applause until he was done, just to make sure they
understood him clearly.

"I do have a few requirements. I don't want to see ill fitting clothes.
If you outgrew them, then get bigger ones," he said directing his gaze
at the department head.

He told the men that he expected them to have a suit, tie and pair of
dress shoes kept at the office incase they needed to change quickly to
meet a client or make a deal. Otherwise, he asked the men to look at
him and see what was allowed on a daily basis in his 3 button golf
shirt, khakis and sandals.

He told the women that they were expected to dress sensibly without
cleavage or ten inches of thigh showing. He also asked them to dress
comfortable in clothes that fit, but to have a reserve dress or slack
outfit at the office incase they needed to run out or meet and greet a
client to represent the company professionally.

"The only other condition that I absolutely insist on is that you all wear
underwear," he said. He explained that when he was younger, he did
not wear underwear.

"I was in a wreck and my mom was embarrassed when she came to the
hospital and I had none on. She started this company. She wrote the
first dress code, and for the first 20 years, all it said was that
employees had to wear underwear. It's how she got me to wear them.
It's her rule and one I have to still follow and keep in writing and
company practice in order to keep my job."

That evening, the department head went to the mall to buy new clothes
that fit her properly and buttoned with ease. Jimmy gave his dresses
that he grew to like away to the homeless shelter, except for one that
he kept and wore when his wife wasn't home. Otto and Frank brought
in sensible ties to keep hanging at work with their suits and dress
shoes for when they needed to dash out looking sharp to close a deal.
The young woman who sat way down front at the company meetings did
stop wearing underwear again over time. She gave underwear her best
shot, but could not get used to any of the different styles. Instead,
she opted to wear a slip under her summer dresses and dark slacks on
windy days. Not exactly dress code, but she was more comfortable
that way.
homepage            fictional fiction list