This One Weird Thing: Rude, Crude, & Tattooed
…and Working in an Office, Wishing I was Dead
I know a lot of weird things.This column explains why.
-by Christa Weiss
We’ve all seen the trends lately. Beautiful pastel pinks, purples, and blues are all the rage when it comes to haircolor. And I pine for it. PINE FOR IT. Like a lost love, like a dead child, like a broken dream.
‘WHY SHOULD I CARE? THIS IS DUMB AND GIRLY! TALK ABOUT DICKS OR SOMETHING!’ You ask/declare/I hate you.
Look jerkbag, this is about artistic expression. I work in an office as a graphic designer, and I cannot have pink hair, or visible piercings or tattoos.
And that shit is lame.
I am a creative professional, which means that I, like so many others who wanted to something art related with their life, realized there is virtually no way to do this without landing in a cardboard box.
So yeah graphic design. I’m pretty good at it but it doesn’t matter. Everything I create gets throw away or deleted within a matter of minutes. I’ve heard my boss say he’s sold his soul on more than one occasion.
This is the landscape most of us work in. Be it designers that never finished their masterpieces or the copy writers that never wrote their novels, none of us really want to be here. We had a purpose. And every day that passes we think about the things we’re not doing and the pieces we’ll never finish. I feel like I’m being held hostage sometimes.
But the truth of the matter is that those corporate types, need us. They sort of hate us, they are kind of afraid of us, but they need us. They also need to control us.
This brings me back to piercings/tattoos/ my horrifying lack of pink hair.
People in creative jobs are usually given a little more leeway in terms of personal appearance depending on the type of business you’re working for. Generally speaking though, piercings, tattoos and unnatural hairclolors and bold hair cuts are frowned upon.
I happened to wind up working in string of conservative places, and job competition is fierce, so I can’t exactly pick and choose. I take what I can get and celebrate that finally I have enough money to buy both shampoo and Windex together in the same week. I feel like a goddamn millionaire.
But I’ve sold my soul and I know that. In a way, everyone has, but I think it cuts a little deeper when you’re passionate about something that’s a statistical anomaly to achieve while still paying your rent, unless you have rich parents. Being naturally great at math and science means you can get a good job, and are generally well respected.
Being an artist of any kind, is regarded as nothing more than a parlor trick, one that people are only cool with as long as it doesn’t really challenge them.
That’s gets pretty frustrating when it’s the only thing that gives your life meaning.
People don’t really pay artists just to be artists anymore. Or musicians. Or comedians. I happen to be two thirds of that equation. This means most of my time is spent beating my head against the wall, spending every second of my free time on art or comedy, being really tired all the time, feeling guilty when I’m not working on said pursuits and trying to figure a way out of my stupid office job, knowing that at the end of the day, it might just not happen for me.
So, for the love of god, let me have my fucking dignity.
Let me have pink hair.
A lot of people don’t like tattoos and piercing for a variety of reasons. I will debunk these via list, because that is the only way people on the internet are capable of digesting information.
Ridiculous Reasons Why People Hate Piercings/Tattoos/
Weird Hair Cuts & Colors
They make you look like a Sailors or a Bikers.
Umm…are those still things? The only people I know who sail are wealthy New Englanders who wear ugly pink shorts. The Navy hasn’t been particularly viable since the invention of super planes that can bomb the crap out of everything. Now the Navy just reminds me of the delightfully flamboyant men with mustaches and tiny shorts.
And bikers? I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a new recruit to that club since 1975. Today’s version of bikers are angry YouTube commenters and those guys spend most of their time in the IT department.
If I want to see art, I’ll go to a museum.
First of all, no you won’t. No one goes museums anymore. You think tattoos invade your space but you’re cool with being bombarded with ads, literally every second of every day all the time?
If it’s between seeing ads and seeing tattoos, holy shit, tats all the way. They don’t make me feel bad about myself in order to get me to buy shit I don’t need.
Even if I see a tattoo that is terrible, they are usually great for a laugh. I once saw a woman with the phases of Michael Jackson’s face tattooed in a mural on her back (fresh faced little boy, thriller hot shot and horrifying skeleton-man). It might have been the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.
BUT BUT, tattoos/piercings/odd hair colors make you look threatening!
Umm no they don’t. I look like I work in a coffee shop. Regardless of how much I’m covered up, piercings in or out, bewildered tourists constantly ask me for directions. I kind of hoped I looked threating enough for idiots not to talk to me. But nope, I was wrong. You don’t ask someone for directions if you think they are going to steal your money and murder-rape you.
Seriously, though, how’s that tattoo going to look when you’re 80?
I dunno, how’s the rest of me gonna look when I’m 80? Not good is the answer. Being tattooed does not make you any more or less fuckable when you are 80. You’re 80. It’s a miracle you’re still walking around. Have you seen what a lifetime of eating fast food does? Maybe give that a second thought too.
Those things make you look poor and trashy.
Do they, now? Tons of famous musicians and actors have tattoos and they are literally millionaires. What looks trashy is the Whinny the Pooh jean jacket that Marsha from accounting insists on wearing every casual Friday, but everyone in the office seems to be cool with that.
The fact of the matter is, while people say that mods look unprofessional, there is no real concrete reason as to WHY people feel that way. It comes down to people’s own personal biases. Mostly, it appears that people are just afraid of being around people who look like they might challenge the status quo.
There are plenty studies and surveys regarding what percentage of employers would hire a person with body mods versus those who would not, however…
THERE ARE LITERALLY NO STUDIES DONE REGARDING TATTOOS, PIERCINGS AND PRODUCTIVITY IN THE WORKPLACE.
Look it up. Nothing.
The thing is, the way that I dress is really a very large part of who I am. Not in the superficial fashionista way. I’m an artist. Everything I wear is meticulously put together, colors matched, styles aligned, powders and pencils and scents all in place. The way I approach the way that I dress is with the same kind of OCD that you need to deal with the spaces in between letters and intuitively knowing the difference between Pantone 326c and 326u. I am essentially one giant art project.
That’s me. That’s who I am. And that kind of attention to detail is what makes me valuable as a designer. Schooling aside, natural talent is natural talent, and either you have it or you don’t.
Some smuck in khakis and polo shirt can’t dream of doing the kind of work I do. So why do I have to look like them?
The fact of the matter is ‘appropriate workplace attire’ makes me uncomfortable. Every time I have to wear a business suit it makes me feel sad and kind of repulsed and disgusted. (This is how I image average-Joe-business man would feel if he was suddenly required to go to work with a mohawk and full tattoo sleeves. I’d love for someone like that to know how uncomfortable it feels.)
But I’m not unreasonable. I know what’s appropriate and what’s not. I do in fact, have the ability to groom myself and know what to wear based on the situation. I just don’t know why I can’t have pink hair while I’m doing it.
It’s really easy to set up a bunch of arbitrary rules banning something when the person who’s making the rules has no desire to do that thing.
Say I own a business and I don’t like potatoes chips. Therefore I ban anyone who I employ from eating potato chips. Not only are my employees banned from eating them at work, they cannot eat them in their time off either. Eating potato chips has no influence of the quality of the work my employees put out, but who cares? It’s all fine with me, because it’s never something I’ve liked to begin with.
But there are people who love potato chips, yearn for them, who will wistfully imagine what it would be like to eat them every day. Liking potato chips is just part of who they are, they have no real control over it. Well, too bad for them. I don’t like potato chips, I don’t like people who like potato chips AND GET OFF MY LAWN YOU GODDAMN HIPPY!
Ok, got a little side tracked there, but I think my point is valid.
You have to take artists, people, as they are. While my mother tells me how much she loves my creatively, and how much life I bring to the house when I’m back home, she hates everything else that naturally comes along with being creative.
When I got my lip pierced she didn’t talk to me for a month. When I got an industrial (cartilage piercing) right before I graduated high school, she said I ruined my graduation.
Small pieces of metal don’t ruin meaningless ceremonies, people do. At the end of the day all I got was a weird look from my cousin who then handed me a bouquet of plastic flowers. Right. And no one thinks it’s weird that someone gave me a bouquet of flowers that could melt if I left them in a hot car?
You can’t get prime rib without a little fat. Some people love the fat and some people hate it, but no matter what you think, it’s always going to be there. Otherwise it’s not prime rib.
Without my weirdness I wouldn’t be an artist, and without my art, I wouldn’t be weird.
I am always going to be creative, I am always going to want pink hair, and I am always going die a little, every time I walk into my office.
So for the love of god, let me have pink hair. No, I won’t go postal, but these antidepressants do come out of the cost of my health insurance.
First image was pulled from a Bing image search of “pastel hair”. Second image was pulled from a Google image search of “Winnie the Pooh jean jacket”.
The third image is by Leo Timoshuk Photography. Contact them here: http://www.leotim.com/