August 12, 2008

Casual Friday

Before we left for China, the publisher of the beleaguered Singleton-owned Los Angeles Daily News issued a memo about a dress code for the newsroom. Clearly they don't have any more pressing issues -- like layoffs or crushing debt.

It lasted about 24 hours due to all-out rebellion.

On the sports blogosphere, there was much debate about it, with the prevailing opinion that deskies are pigs. As a deskie, I take exception to that, of course. My view always has been that if you make me work nights and weekends, I get to wear what I want, within reason. I don't deal with the public, and nobody can see what I look like when I answer the phone.

So you can imagine my surprise when I got here and discovered that Casual Friday is every day at the Olympics. When I was packing, I was a little nervous. I haven't worked in an office in a long time, and I wanted to dress professionally. Or at least I couldn't see myself dressing in cargo shorts every day.

Well, that would make one of me.

To put it in perspective: Paul (who always dresses neatly, don't get me wrong) in jeans is the dressiest guy in the room. Paul in cargo pants is the second-dressiest guy. There are several thousand journalists here and almost to a man (and a lot of women) they are casually dressed. T-shirts and shorts are de rigeur. Flip-flops? You betcha. Warm-up pants? Absolutely. If your shirt has a collar on it, you're a fancy boy.

Granted, it's hot outside. But the majority of these guys aren't covering events outside, and the only outside they see is between the press center and the bus and the bus and the venue. And these guys do interact with athletes and the public.

I've never believed that how you dress, in this business, makes you a better or worse writer. But yeah, I'm surprised.

And don't even get me started on the "Olympic beards."

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