Thursday, May 26, 2005

Watching-Thon, D.C.

So I've had a few days to wander (well, half days) around D.C. and get my bearings before work starts next week. So I've done A LOT of people watching. It's been fun. Yes, I'm a little bored.

A few general observations (and when I say "general observations", I mean, overgeneralizations based on a few days; if you're from D.C., disagree and take offense, I am sorry. This blog post if for entertainment purposes only. Anyway, I am sure you're the exception that proves the rule.):

1) People in D.C. dress fairly "fancy" (by this I mean, traditional conservative business attire), but still somehow not well. Often, it's the shoes. I mean, why wear a nice suit if you're going to be sporting a beaten up pair of rubber-soled Rockports down below? If it's not the shoes, it's the pleats. If it's not the pleats, it's the cuffs (we all own the odd pair of cuffed pants, but they take it to another level here). As for hair, well, it's like 50% of men get their cut at one place (some place where they cut like a military barber), and the other 50% get their cut at another place (some place where they cut like my grandpa's barber). Things improve somewhat with regards to the ladies, I hasten to add, though "clones" is a word that seem to float in my head a lot (and not in a "potential medical breakthrough" kind of way)...

2) A lot of young people seem rather prematurely old. Or rather, in contrast to the Bay Area, where the endless youth spirit can get a little grating (think of those mom's who shop with their daughters--dressed alike--in the boutiques on Union, for example), people seem in a big hurry to look and act old (not simply mature, in the case of college-age people, but actually much older than they are). Here again, I have to go mostly on aesthetics and demeanor, since I haven't talked to many people. But I see people out at lunch who I swear, by their dress and their self-seriousness, must be thirty. And those are just the undergrad summer interns! Once they've graduated from university intern into full-fledged Capitol Hill aide, they put on a nice soft belly and generally walk around like they are the Congressman (or woman), not the person who gets him/her coffee.

3) Which brings us to the actual middle-aged folks, most of whom look as weary, weathered and beaten up as their Rockports. It must be a fascinating progression to watch: from striving over-eager twenty-something to jaded-but-still energetic thirty-something to tired, badly dressed and professionally maxed out/frustrated forty-something. Maybe I just saw democrats. They would be the ones riding the metro at 3 in the afternoon.

Snark aside, there are many things I am looking forward to this summer. You do get a vibe in D.C. that, as the seat of government of one of the most significant nations on earth, many important things are going on. And there ARE a lot of young people, many of whom seem really interesting. I'm interested in meeting those people. Plus, in June I can go the Volokh Conspiracy happy hour and hang with Nuts and Boalts reader (and GW lawprof) Orin Kerr!


Anonymous Fop said...

I'm a little confused about the whold pleats & cuffs thing. Is it having them/not having them that's the problem, or the quality/style? Is there a difference in quality/style between one pleat or cuff and another?

5/27/2005 9:27 AM  
Blogger Mr.Chavez said...

Rockports rule.

5/27/2005 6:49 PM  
Blogger Tacitus said...

To answer Fop's query
(And this is just one person's (well-honed) style sense):
Pleats are pretty much out right now. Flat front, straight leg is in.

Cuffs are pretty much out right now.

Styles change, and someday pleats and cuffs will no doubt be back. But right now, Washingtonian males are dressed totally for the 1990s!

5/31/2005 9:28 PM  

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