Whatever our MarsVenus differences may be, men and women share basic dress code sensibilities. I am talking broad categories:
Symphony, county club and charity call for formal; treadmill and squash courts call for sporty; washing your car or fixing the toilet calls for whatever T-shirt is the oldest (unless you have your car washed and the toilet fixed, in which case there is no special dress-code.)
Point is, you do not see many functions where women are dressed in formal attire, and men are dressed in flip-flops. There is no gender bias on what’s formal and what’s slamming.
Except in the divorce attorneys’ waiting rooms. Here, the genders’ view of the formality of the occasion is in astonishingly stark mismatch.
For a first consultation with a divorce attorney, women go to great length to look their most formal and best. Men do not give a damn.
Women blow out and curl, color-coordinate and iron, polish, pluck, and (in the right part of the country) apply bottles of the concealer. Women put a lot of thought into dressing for that first meeting with their divorce lawyer. They dress to spell out:
“My husband might not see it, but I am still beautiful, desirable and young.”
Men see the occasion entirely differently.
Men’s attire for the first meeting with divorce attorney comes in three flavors:
- On his way from work;
- On his way to the gym; or
- I need a discount ’cause business is way down this year.
(There is a subtle difference between (2) and (3) but neither calls for socks, hair comb or a shave).
For men, meeting a divorce lawyer is a lot like meeting a general contractor or a plumber. So long as it’s warm enough and clean enough, anything will do. T-shirt and old jeans are just fine.
Men got it right this time. Women should consider this approach.
If picking out the correct shade of concealer takes all your energy, then eighty six the stupid concealer.
I am not saying there is an accepted dress code to come see your lawyer. There is none. That’s the point. Do what makes you feel best.
Of course, sometimes you need to look your best just to brave the world. If that’s your state of mind, by all means, do dress up.
But keep in mind: it will be a long morning. You have a lot to accomplish, a lot to accept, and a lot to learn. You might have to carry a pile of papers, walk through confusing parking structures and brave unfamiliar streets. Do you need the additional stress of trying to look your best?
If picking out the correct shade of concealer takes all your energy this morning, by all means, eighty six the stupid concealer. Do not fuss with the curling iron, or the fancy stalkings. If you suspect you’ll sweat through a silk blouse, wear a T-shirt. Nobody will care at the lawyer’s office.
On its best day, divorce is a journey. On its worst, it’s a battle. Dress for comfort. Save your bandwidth. You will feel more rested the next day.