Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Guest Blog: Graduating into Fred Mertz's Pants

The new year is upon us and the world of Welcome to Adulthood 2009 just wouldn't be complete without a guest blog visit from Lukus Williams. When I first read Luke's piece I literally laughed out loud in my super quiet office. (Hopefully my colleagues didn't catch on that I was spending a little down time reading and chuckling about Luke's metaphor for adulthood -- a pair of extremely high waisted dress slacks.) Luke's piece is as funny and entertaining as it is insightful. I could brag about how talented of a writer he is, his impressive list of writing gigs, his graphic design-cred (photo credit below goes to him also), and all that good stuff, but I will let his piece speak for itself.

I am thrilled and honored to have Luke as a guest blogger (yes, his comments are the ones that usually generate lots of great discussion, and we are happy to finally hear more of him) and I hope you will "LOL" just as much as I did when reading his work. As always, let's show him some love in the comments!

Graduating into Fred Mertz’s Pants

By Lukus Williams

It was long, it was messy, but I did it. I’ve graduated from college (well, as soon as ‘State gets back from vacation and mails out diplomas). Now I may have been living on my own, holding various jobs, and being more or less self-sufficient for some time now… but I’ve always been in school. From Little Bo Peep Daycare in Lansing, Michigan to San Diego State University.

By all measures, I’d say this blog entry will be as close as I get to a proper debut onto the adulthood scene. So, let it be official: I’m of good breeding, marriageable-age, and now eligible for a career with retirement benefits. Hello world!

But before I tackle Aldous Huxley’s future with my journalism degree in hand, I’m allowing myself a bit of regression. A last hurrah. A chance to relish my final, guaranteed vacation: the likes of which only students and teachers are allowed.
I’m home for the holidays. Cue Christmas music and G-rated hi-jinks.

I get to be fourteen instead of twenty-four (or maybe sixteen since I’m driving) at my parents’, and that means having fun, and being waited on. Not that I’m lazy here, but having dinner made and laundry washed (if put into the clothes hamper!) sure makes me feel like I’m being pampered. Living on my own might be a blast, but my roomies never pick-up after me.

It hasn’t been too difficult, this letting go and enjoying a break. However, there are a few anxieties about my near-future tiptoeing around the edge of my thoughts. You might think I’d be biting my fingernails at the prospect of finding employment in this economy. Luckily I didn’t major in artistic philosophy, so I’m not too concerned with my serious, full-time (and grown-up!) job search, as I’ve got a modest-sized bag of experience along with mad skillz and many prospects.

My true fear is in regards to the real, concrete changes that I see on the horizon. Want to know the biggest one of all? The giant antagonist in my adulthood future? Clothes.

That’s right, clothes. Suits, ties, slacks, sweater-vests (shudder), loafers, blazers, and suspenders… I cower in fear and disgust at the thought of wearing such a costume everyday. Because up until now, that outfit was just a costume, something I put on for a meeting here or and interview there. I readily grasp the importance of professional dress and its impact on personal impressions, I’ve simply had little need or desire to appear professional more than a couple hours out of every week, but now I’m faced with the prospect of looking like that Monday through Friday. It’s horrifying. I don’t even like pants to begin with, and I make attempts to wear shorts whenever possible!

I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll need to wear my hair short and boring so as to not offend my potential 30-something bosses that began to bald in their 20s. But the suits. Ugh. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. The inner-child who’s been in the pilot’s seat for the last twenty-four years will surely be kicking and screaming all the way to the Men’s Warehouse.

I’ve heard many pro-suit arguments, from the whole “look the part” set all the way to “women dig it,” but what I’m really looking for now are coping mechanisms. Is the paycheck motivation enough, or will I need to bring an SDSU shirt and some boardshorts with me to work so I can change the moment the clock strikes 5? Someone have a list of the top ultra casual businesses in San Diego hiring writers/editors/graphic designers/manual laborers? Does David Tennant’s Dr. Who “geek-chic” count as professional attire? Do slacks always have to look like Fred Mertz’s pants? What are the things that you attach from the bottom of your shirt to your socks to make the shirt stay in place called, and do people actually wear them? Why must dress-shirt manufacturers assume that my arms are impossibly long simply because I’m over six feet tall?

This adulthood thing, it’s going to be like my stint as a four-year-old ring barer all over again, isn’t it?


  1. V. Humorous. I always wonder if professional women are suppose to wear panty hose with skirts to work. Maybe I would be taken more seriously if I did? Lol.

  2. Ok first of all, I love a good I Love Lucy reference. I grew up with a Father who literally said "What would Lucy do?" when I got in a pickle.

    I don't know much about men's profession dress because my husband wears a camo uniform to work but I am pretty sure you should not buy anything that attaches your shirt to your socks!