Blake’s Advice Column
I started working in engineering in the late 1980s and thought it was “cute” that we all wore Hawaiian shirts when the guys (my co-workers) went out for Friday lunches. Now we’re in our 50s, and many of my peers still honor that tradition. I no longer find it cute. They look like horrible Caribbean cruise ship tourists. I find myself hiding or inventing meetings so I can avoid being part of this weekly Friday circus. How do I just tell them that the reason I no longer go along is I’m embarrassed to be seen with them in public?
From Palo Alto, California
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I think it’s great that your co-workers/friends have bonded for so long. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be aware that they look like a bunch of over-the-hill idiots that are trying to cling to their youth. But if they want to wear attire that reflects the past, then maybe you should do the same thing, to show them how ridiculous they look. Here are some ideas. Show up at one of their outings wearing the type of platform shoes that were popular in the 1970s, and ask the bartender if they have any “Boone’s Farm” while speaking with an inner city twang. Or you can dress like the men did in the “Roaring Twenties”, start dancing doing the “Charleston”, while kicking them where it hurts the most. You can go back even further in time, and wear clothes like the pilgrims wore in the 1600s. And if any of them makes a comment about your appearance that you don’t like, point a musket at their chest and threaten to blow a hole in their rib cage. But if you value them as friends, go with the flow… up to a point. Talk them into going to a vacation to Hawaii to reminisce about old times. And if you get them intoxicated enough, and if there are no witnesses around, push all of them into an active volcano. The downside to that is, you might have to put in more hours at your job due to their absence, but you should make a bundle in overtime. I hope this helps.