Dressed for success

I had a lovely trip to the coast: managed to get in three hikes, saw several friends (and met a new one), stuffed my face with good food (including the Mexican food I’d been craving), saw Prometheus (and guffawed over the “science” in the film), and generally loved being back in my old stomping grounds.

On several occasions, the differences between my old Oregon coast hometown and my new Portuguese hometown smacked me in the face. I could make a lonnnng post listing them all, but one that really impressed me was the difference in dress.

The Portuguese draw a distinct line between home clothes and street clothes. My wife won’t set foot out our door unless she’s dressed to be seen by others. I can’t even convince her to help me take out the recycling after dark if she’s in sweatpants, and no amount of protesting that the neighbors won’t be able to see makes any difference. Our housekeeper arrives for her once-per-week cleaning session in better clothing than many of the people I saw in Newport. Nobody, but nobody in my little corner of Portugal would ever think about going to the store dressed in sweatpant shorts, unlaced tennis shoes, and a baggy, untucked football jersey (or wifebeater undershirt). But that’s exactly what I saw while running errands. Some outfits were one step above pajamas, while others appeared determined to offend.

profane shirt

No, I didn’t see this exact shirt, but it wouldn’t have surprised me.

At its heart, Newport is a fishing town, full of hard-working people who get dirty on the job. So there’s a certain amount of practicality involved in some of these style choices, but that doesn’t explain all of them.

And now I’m trying to remember if I ever ran to the store in sweatpants while living in Newport. I have a feeling the answer might be yes. It’s a sign of how much my new home has rubbed off on me that I would never consider doing so now.

(Photo from the People of Wal-Mart web site.)


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in culture, Oregon, Portugal. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Dressed for success

  1. Joao Brandao says:

    That “People of Wal-Mart” website gives such a bad image of the US lol

  2. Lilaine says:

    I can’t even convince her to help me take out the recycling after dark if she’s in sweatpants, and no amount of protesting that the neighbors won’t be able to see makes any difference

    Smarty pants, Maria 🙂

  3. Keji says:

    I love the People of Walmart site! Going back to your guffaws over the ‘science in Prometheus, were they about some of the questions asked in this video…SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn’t seen it! http://youtu.be/-x1YuvUQFJ0 😉

  4. They don’t have Walmarts in Portugal, do they? That would probably explain a lot. “Casual” really is quite sloppy in many cases nowadays … an *employee* of the restaurant where I had dinner last night was wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m not mean, I just don’t like you.” Nice!

  5. M. says:

    You can add the other side of Europe with this ‘no going out unless properly dressed’ rule. You can add ‘no leaving home without make up’ too. Having Wal-Mart around could be a nice change 😉

  6. Steen says:

    You should visit New Zealand. Meeting people in their pajamas, slippers and dressing gown in the supermarket is normal occurrence. And barefoot does not mean without socks. Funny how quickly one adjusts to these things. I don’t even look twice anymore.

  7. But… but… in the American tv series women always wake up with perfect makeup and hair. And guys are hunks all the time.

    I’m officially VERY disappointed. 😉

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