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Dress Code

by damian1301 (Curate)
on Feb 04, 2001 at 11:07 UTC ( #56281=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I was chattin' around in the IRC channel when a thought came to me! I know that I am a geek, but only in the mind. On the outside I know I dress like perfectly normal kids. I bet you wouldn't be able to tell I am a Perl fanatic. You all know that you are sort of, if not all geek inside.

So my question is:

Do you dress in the TV image of a geek (glasses, lanky, politically correct at all times and so on) or do you just dress normal and hold it all inside of you?
Update: I know this is in your geekcode, but who has time to check everyones?

Wanna be perl hacker.
Dave AKA damian

I encourage you to email me

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(crazyinsomniac) Re: Dress Code
by crazyinsomniac (Prior) on Feb 04, 2001 at 13:19 UTC
    Damian, Damian, Damian, Damian.

    <cliché but true> Don't judge a book by it's cover. </cliché but true>
    Why, cause it's camouflage.

    I personally dress casual{t-shirt 'n' (jeans|slacks|other)} and looking at me all people could say is there goes a hippy(;}~ IMHO).

    The TV image of a geek is just that, the TV image, which perhaps at one point in time was true for a fractional percentage of geeks, but never really was.

    I can only recall being called a geek once. It was in high school in my French I class. Some girl, a senior, was asked a question in French, and when she did not reply, Mademoiselle Kim asked me. Annoyed and stumped by the no-reply, i replied quickly and with relatively correct pronounciation(I was feeling oh so childishly superior those days. I did grow up, at least a lil bit). Two seconds later, the girl turned and said "Geek." I looked at her and thought, a geek, but I don't have glasses.

    To answer your question, I do not dress like a 'geek' nor do I hold it all inside of me(you should know that). I don't wear glasses and am far from being P.C. or lanky. I don't even feel I am a geek.
    ".- -- .. .- --. . . -.- ..--.."
    "-... ..- - .. .... .- ...- . -. --- --. . . -.- -.-. --- -.. . .-.-.-"

    And what exactly is a geek anyway?
    Main Entry: geek
    Pronunciation: 'gEk
    Function: noun
    Etymology: probably from English dialect geek, geck fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German
    Date: 1914
    1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake
    2 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of
    - geeky /'gE-kE/ adjective

    UPDATE: I don't agree with the definition above, and somewhat agree with the definiton below.

    "cRaZy is co01, but sometimes cRaZy is cRaZy".
                                                          - crazyinsomniac

      That is not at all the definition of geek I subscribe to. I think a geek is much like a hacker, but is a more general term. It describes a group of people who are skilled and interested in a particular area. This area is usually computers, but like nerd, the work can be used with other areas. For example an astronomy geek, someone with a passion and sigificant skills and interest in the area of astronomy.

      Here is a supporting argument, which maybe is not quite what I mean when I think of geek, but is closer than the dictionary meaning you quoted.

      There a several more definitions on everything2 if you search for geek, but here is one quote I mostly agree with.

      >  While a normal only wants to use a thing, a geek strives 
      >  to understand that thing.

      However just about every hacker/geek/nerd has a different idea of what those words mean, and every one of those meanings in right :)
      Of course the general public, which gets those definitions only from hollywood or dictionaries have no clue what they are talking about. :)

Overly serious reply Re: Dress Code
by adamsj (Hermit) on Feb 04, 2001 at 20:59 UTC
    I'm going to make a supreme effort not to have to put a language advisory here.

    On my home node, it says: Sure you can read my geek code (but I'm not a geek.

    There's a long history of people taking on words and terminologies that were used toward them as insults and trying to reclaim them. Just in the United States in the last forty years, we've had:

    Black people started using the N word as a self-descriptor in the mid-sixties. The comedian Richard Pryor was, at one time, the best known example of doing so. He later decided this wasn't a good idea and quit using it in his act.

    In the later phases of feminism, the B word (probably I could use this one) was recognized as a way that women were described when they acted like men. Accordingly, lots of women started using it to describe themselves.

    During the early seventies, many lesbians decided the D word was a perfectly good way to describe themselves. Gay men picked up the idea in relation to the F word, and by the late eighties, the major gay group was named Q Nation.

    All these attempts were made in good conscience by people who were trying to do something good for their community. None of them succeeded in making those words stop being used as insults by people who hated them.

    I do my very best to counteract the geek stereotype. I try to dress up rather than down. I shoot for slightly flashy at work. I tend to banded collars rather than shirt and tie (the tie gets in the way when you're opening up equipment), but I don't wear jeans on jeans day--ever. It's sort of personal gamesmanship, I guess, but I try to look and sound and be just a little better than those around me. I don't ever want to be mistaken for Dilbert--or Wally!

    That means I actually learned how to tie my tie (I do wear ties fairly often, though usually not a suit) carefully (and keep it from turning up). I bought a really good pair of shoes (which also saved my back).

    I really do believe that as long as tech people accept being called and treated like geeks, we'll not get what we deserve. During boom times, that isn't a problem--but we're entering a bust time, aren't we?

    Those are my thoughts on the subject--no, let me add that there's nothing wrong with dressing how you want to dress.

    I want (as an ex-hippie) to have the respectability that more formal dress gives me. I also found that, once I started dressing nicely well (as opposed to dressing nicely poorly) that I enjoyed it.

    (It also helped me meet more women--but that's another story.)


    They laughed at Joan of Arc, but she went right ahead and built it. --Gracie Allen

      No language advisory. None of the words I use are profane.

      None of them succeeded in making those words stop being used as insults by people who hated them.

      To the extent that this was ever the intention, quite true.

      I forget the broader sociolinguistic term, but within the context of black history, this is known as "signifying". The black adoption of the word "nigger" (which I see no reason not to use in the context of our present discussion) as a term of approbation goes back a lot further than the 1960s. It was not a conscious effort to influence mainstream culture through language until much later (the '60s); I suspect, though I don't know, that this was the case with your other examples as well. Signifcation originally served (and arguably still serves) to build solidarity and morale.

      I would say that, adapted for political ends, the phenomenon indeed had almost as little effect as later campaigns to "debunk stereotypes" and to promote various flavors of Newspeak.

      I don't want to tread too far down this line, though. Political argument in the Chatterbox is one thing, but I'm afraid unvarnished opinions on such subjects are a dangerous thing here. Suffice it to say, I think we will profit not at all by renouncing the word "geek". Nobody will forget the word.

      What we gain from the word "geek", is a sense of identity; and what other word suits? "Intellectual" and "hacker" both have rather specialized connotations; I identify with both, but many who presently call themselves geeks do not. And in any case, people today have chosen the word for themselves; geeks are a cultural reality, because they think they are. To deliberately eschew the word will not make anti-intellectuals stop using it as a pejorative... but it may isolate their victims.

      Why not be bold, then? For my part, I'm a Scientific American-readin', code hackin', dyed-in-the-wool propellerhead. Geek is beautiful. Crank up the Devo, and bring out the polyhedral dice!

      sounds like you dress more like dilbert than anyone else who has posted... avoidance is not working
        Maybe so--but I wouldn't be caught dead in a white dress shirt a la Dilbert.

        At my last job, IBM was our primary competitor. I felt that, on the one hand, they looked more professional in the IBM uniform than we did in casual clothes. On the other hand, I thought that wearing non-casual clothes which did not look like theirs would both make us look more professional and would differentiate us from them. My model in this was those great billboard ads Sun ran in 1998 showing people dressed in twenties-style gangster clothes.

        I favored silk paisley ties, bold primary colored shirts, subtly patterned slacks, and the occasional vest. However, I occasionally wore items like hand-dyed batiked slacks and very fancy non-dress shirts, and sometimes wore a hat.

        Dilbert, for all that I can relate to the strip, is just another corporate conformist, and it shows in his clothing.

        Of course, if we weren't at least as good at what we did than the other guys, it wouldn't have made any difference.


        They laughed at Joan of Arc, but she went right ahead and built it. --Gracie Allen

Re: Dress Code
by jepri (Parson) on Feb 04, 2001 at 16:15 UTC
    I deliberately wear ironed white business shirts, linen pants and even a tie to my programming jobs. I like to mess with my co-workers heads. This went on until one day the boss walked out (wearing a ripped T and no shoes) and told me to stop wearing business shirts. He also declared the programmers area a no-shoe zone and ordered us to print out some pornography and put it on the walls. As it turned out he was joking about the pornography.

    However when I'm not programming I prefer comfortable clothing and have been reprimanded for letting my standards slip too far.

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

The question on everybody's mind...
by Petruchio (Vicar) on Feb 05, 2001 at 21:35 UTC
    is "What is Petruchio wearing this season?

    It's winter, and être bien is the rule in this first eveningwear montage. Do I see Goodwill's of Pittsburgh? Green khakis with blue silk shirt, $6. Brown suede loafers over stunning white tube socks, $7. Sleek lines and a bold cut show us what's hot for the cold: take the pressure and throw it away. Conventionality belongs to yesterday.

    Film Noir, or Ren Faire? This daring suede vest over bell sleeved linen shirt says Bilbo, but that black leather trenchcoat says Belzig. Matching leather shoes leave this Monk wrapped in dead animals and dressed to kill.

    On the job... trademark cotton sweatpants with chic matching top, under yards of exquisite terrycloth robe. No-nonsense rawhide slippers are *so* de faveur; style is making it your own, and Petruchio is a man on a mission here.

    What's this? Petruchio gives new meaning to "classic", in a full-circle cloak, black wool with arm slits, perfectly period for over a millenium. Knee-high boots complete the ensemble with a nod to 1530; this Man for all Seasons makes us scream for More. Very cavalier.

    With this stunning collection, Petruchio affirms his position on the cutting edge of monastic fashion. This 29 year old technoweenie defines luxury with a take-no-prisoners style that says, "If you're not code, I don't care."

Re: Dress Code
by cajun (Chaplain) on Feb 04, 2001 at 15:40 UTC
    Damian, Damian, Damian, are you trying to say, jeans, T-shirt (obligatory smokes in left sleeve), and sneakers are not the normal dress for perl geeks ? You've burst my bubble. When I wear my Perl Mongers shirt (I got it before there was a Perl Monks shirt available), to work, folks ask me "Is that a new band ?" "Where are they from ?" They are the same folks that somehow mysteriously loose their network connection or get a blue screen of death during their MP3 downloads.... Still wondering why that happens..... :-)

    If you're not constantly being reminded by your boss that you don't conform to the departmental dress code, then you are simply doing something wrong. RTFM !!!

Simple Answer
by gryng (Hermit) on Feb 04, 2001 at 12:00 UTC
    Click Here, and tell me what do you think my answer is? :)


Re: Dress Code
by Anonymous Monk on Feb 04, 2001 at 14:23 UTC
    I am a geek, but I tend to dress like a convicted violent felon with a year in the penitentiary behind him, because that is what I am, as well :)
      It's an interesting thing about people who judge other by the way they dress.
      A 'friend' of mine in high-school received a lot of really stupid comments and bull from everybody within a ten mile radius for coming to school wearing an orange jumpsuit.

      Even though it was obvious he wasn't a felon, and was just a little bit teed off(teenager), people still acted ricockulously stupid

      "cRaZy is co01, but sometimes cRaZy is cRaZy".
                                                            - crazyinsomniac

Re: Dress Code
by thealienz1 (Pilgrim) on Feb 04, 2001 at 23:27 UTC

    I am not geek. My friends, yes good friends, as categorized me as a nerd. I wear plaid over shirts, a white undershirt, and mostly khakis. But, I do it with great style... NONE.

    I am the first overweight, very tall munchkin... be very amazed.
Re: Dress Code
by amelinda (Friar) on Feb 07, 2001 at 01:39 UTC
    Lessee... this week we've got some programmers out visiting from another company that we're doing a joint project with, and the email about dress for their visit went like: "You don't need to dress business casual, but try not to be too sloppy, ok?" Man, I like where I work.

    That said, I wear jeans and turtlenecks a lot. In the summer, I wear more tshirts. I have two stacks of tshirts, ones I'll wear to the office (plain, computer related, etc) and ones I won't (Betty Page, "Dealing With Users" (an O'Really shirt), "Sleeps well with others"). I've been known to wear my "Christianity is Stupid" shirt to Village Inn on Sunday mornings when they're full of churchgoers.

    On the other hand, I'm slowly developping a taste for cute little cotton dresses and slowly building a collection of interviewing clothes (silk pants and skirts and jackets and so on). And in my other life, I wear a wide assortment of medieval and renaissance clothing (funny, a lot of that's silk too), from tunic and pants to cotehardie to late Italian ren.

    Geek is who you are, not what you wear.

      Dresses are cool. I used to wear the same greenish khaki pants and t-shirts every day. It was comfortable, that was what I told myself.

      Except I looked like a clone. I've made fun of clones before, like the packs of trade show guys in khakis and logo polo shirts...but I didn't realize until recently that I was conforming to everyone else's idea of what a female geek ought to look like. I decided to go a slightly different direction in my self-expression.

      I have not yet worn an actual ballgown to work, but I've come close. I don't like sleek androgynous women's clothes that look like men's clothes with a lower neckline. I like wandering around a dull office wearing SILK and RUFFLES and POUFY SLEEVES and 27 BRACELETS!! And I am not afraid to admit it. It's not like I'm crossdressing, I just have a preference for the same stuff that my grandmother likes.

      Silk, silk, silk, silk. I like it, I'll wear it, and the easily-influenced fad-following chiX0rs can have the J. Crew and Gap boring unisex cotton sweatshop products.

      Not only that, but I've found that expensive or handmade clothes of high quality are far more comfortable than ill-tailored mass-manufactured clothes. I'd rather have a beautiful linen suit made for me (it's cheaper than you might think) than spend mindnumbing hours at the mall trying on 20 pairs of jeans trying to find something that fits.

      Anyway, to conclude this rant, I'm not a suit, I'm a geek in a dress.

      e-mail neshura

Re: Dress Code
by elusion (Curate) on Feb 05, 2001 at 00:38 UTC
    In my opinion anyways, there's not a geek dress. There are two words that are used towards to computer/smart people. Geek and Nerd. I've found that Nerd applies to a Geek that dresses like the "TV image"

    There've been debates and articles about this on /. so you can check articles for geek/nerd comparisons/differences there.

    Oh yeah, I dress rather "normal" as well. Mostly Surfer/Skater/Snowboarder shirts. (quiksilver, billabong, hawaiian island creations)

    - p u n k k i d
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -Albert Einstein

Re: Dress Code
by 2501 (Pilgrim) on Feb 05, 2001 at 05:37 UTC
    Geek is on the inside:)
    Some geeks stand out more then others. Because geek is on the inside, you also end up with "closet geeks". These are the people who put you down when you were young for being too technically minded....BUT these people have secret identities running chat servers and nationally recognized web sites.
    labeling is a weird topic. I think its kind of funny, so I go out of my way to collect t-shirts and what not which people would label as "geeky". Its my way of saying fold your label into sharp corners and sit on it.
    I say do what your gonna do, and let everyone else worry about what label you fall under.
Re: Dress Code
by LD2 (Curate) on Feb 05, 2001 at 05:38 UTC

    Dressing geeky, eh? Well, I sort of dress the same as I did in college and so forth. I mostly wear jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.. whatever is comfortable. I figure one might as well be comfy while working. The lanky part, I can't help. :> That's just my genes.

      I always find that it's the "Spock" ears that give it away...
Re: Dress Code
by Elgon (Curate) on Feb 05, 2001 at 23:38 UTC
    This is actually a good question and interested me: generally I wear a trashed pair of jeans (often the same ones, 1995 Versace - absolutely classic), a t-shirt and either a pair of cheap loafers or a pair of not-so-cheap running shoes. OTOH I love to dress up: evening wear such as a dinner jacket and bow tie is just the business. (My grilfriend kinda likes it too ;-)

    In many ways I use clothing as a kind of mental warmup - for job interviews and work the actual act of putting on a very good suit is a very good focus exercise - you can use the suit as a kind of mask much as actors say that they 'become' the character when acting.

    On a final point - words have no power unless you give it to them.


Re: Dress Code
by lemming (Priest) on Feb 07, 2001 at 02:50 UTC

    Well, as my geek code says I can dress up, but most of the time it's jeans and t-shirts. Occasionaly shirts of the banded collar and long sleeve variety. I once worked for a computer money laundering scheme that was part of a bank. For that I had to wear tie, slacks, etc... They didn't like the chainmail tie either.
    I would say my favorite shirt was one with a programmer at his computer with "Work or DIE Project" on screen with the caption "I work best with a gun to my head" Same artist has a shirt with a caffiene bell curve with the the top being "See God" and then the end of the curve having "Triple Shotgun Murder"

    I worked for one company that distributed a T-shirt with "*!$# Symantec" on it. (We were being sued by them)

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Re: Dress Code
by delegatrix (Scribe) on Feb 06, 2001 at 03:13 UTC
    Well, my .sig reads "Life's too short to wear ugly underwear." Use your imagination.
Re: Dress Code
by iamnothing (Friar) on Feb 06, 2001 at 22:19 UTC
    Well, I have an OpenDVD shirt that I often wear with the DeCSS code emblazoned on it. I have a slew of free shirts that I got when purchasing videogames, and often where concert T-Shirts to work when the weather's warm. I consider myself a geek, but I don't really think about dressing in any predisposed way.
      *where=wear. I feel like I just fell into Yahoo! chat...
Re: Dress Code
by gregor42 (Parson) on Apr 24, 2001 at 17:26 UTC

    I know this is in your geekcode, but who has time to check everyones?

    Might I humbly suggest that the answer would be anyone who took the time to write a PERL script to do it. (:

    Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!

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