Flagrant Violation of Office Dress Code

Every workplace has a dress code of some sort. From construction sites (hard hat required) to the stock market, The Man has an idea of what workers should wear and enforces it. Sometimes there are practical reasons for a particular dress code and sometimes the owner of the company just wants to micromanage employees into wearing what they deem “acceptable.” My most recent office job required “business casual” which turned out to be a wildly subjective term. When I first started there, dressy jeans were permitted, then they weren’t, khakis were ok, but no cargo pants… and we had several meetings a year to “remind everyone to adhere to the dress code,” but no one would actually say what offensive article of clothing had recently been worn to prompt the meeting. One lady always looked really put together but consistently wore tank tops — they had rhinestones though so that was ok. Another lady wore “nice” black flip-flops almost every day, but always had her toenails painted so that was fine, but someone got written up for wearing Sketchers (the ones that look like mary janes); WTF?! I could tell stories about ridiculous rulings on various things worn to that office (by people who didn’t even have contact with the customers no less), but that is not today’s topic. Today I am going to tell you about the day I definitely violated the hell out of that dress code.

It was a day like any other I suppose. Incidentally, I was wearing a light blue, long sleeved, button down shirt and gray slacks. On morning and afternoon breaks, I would walk up a nearby dead end road with several coworkers to enjoy the fresh air, exercise and company. After one of these breaks, I was back in my cubicle when I heard a buzzing noise. I checked my cellphone, which I kept on vibrate in the office, but it was not doing anything. I chalked it up to someone else’s cellphone nearby and went on with work. Again the buzzing, definitely in my cubicle. I slowly looked around. Nothing untoward seemed to be happening. But there it went again, like it was right next to me. And there was a certain stinging sensation on my right arm that finally clicked in my head that there was an insect of some sort in my sleeve. I yanked my arm up into my shirt and vigorously shook out the sleeve. Nothing. I unbuttoned my top button and cautiously peered down the sleeve. And saw this:

we can call it a bee, but it was bigger and freakier than any bee I've seen.

It was dizzy and mad and not going to be dislodged from the sleeve. I have no idea how that big, scary bug got into my sleeve without me noticing it, but that really didn’t matter at the time. I quickly grabbed the sleeve between it and me before it could leap into my eyes and ran to the bathroom where I proceeded to yank off my shirt and then grab the other end of the sleeve, trapping the bad, bad thing.

As I grinned in triumph, the situation slowly dawned on me. I was in the ladies room, topless, holding a large hostile insect captive in my shirt. I swiftly went through my options. I could get it out of the shirt now, then I’d be topless in the ladies room with a large hostile insect probably flying at me. No. I could stomp it to death in the shirt. Then I’d have bug guts and shoe prints all over my nice shirt… and… what if it didn’t die but just got madder? No. I could call a coworker to bring me the sweater from my cube and wear that while I released the bug into the wild — YES! Was my cellphone in my pocket? No. Shit.

I cracked open the bathroom door and looked out, hoping someone would walk by or be within earshot.

I saw my boss (and president of the company) in the temporary corner cubicle, talking loudly on the phone to a customer. His back was to me. OK. The insect buzzed angrily in its shirt-prison. How long would it be before it realized it could sting through cloth?… I very quietly called “Janieeee!” “Gleeeendaaa!” I had to not get my boss’s attention or interrupt his phone call, yet make my voice carry over the cubicle walls and possibly over Glenda’s headphones which were likely blaring some Metallica. It could not be done. And if I walked back to my cube, the Boss Man would totally see me since he was facing the hallway and my cube (see illustration for office layout). Double shit.

Make a Perception Check. The lights in the showroom were out. Which meant that no customers were in there admiring the shiny objects and high end clothing. Yes, clothing. New plan. Angry captive insect in hand, I made a successful Sneak Roll and slunk behind my boss into the showroom where I grabbed the nearest shirt and put it on, keeping an eye on my shirt in case the Bee-Thing erupted out of it. Then I tried the showroom door to the outside. Locked. Because there were no customers scheduled today evidently. Ok, fine. I collected my shirt and walked purposefully through the office to the front door, wearing a nicely screenprinted t-shirt (which was not allowed under the dress code, but better than bra only, right?). If you look confident enough, no one will question you. I strolled outside and turned my shirt inside out. The Bee-Thing wouldn’t let go. I scraped it into the flowerbed with a stick and dashed back inside before it could get me. The receptionist noticed me coming in and I screamed in a whisper to her “THERE WAS A BEE IN MY SHIRT!!!” While I am cool in crisis situations, I do permit myself to freak out afterwards.

I went to the bathroom to change back into my blue shirt and returned the t-shirt to the showroom. Boss Man was still blathering away on the phone and knows nothing of it to this day.


2 Responses to “Flagrant Violation of Office Dress Code”

  1. “Hexcellent, Smithers.” LOL!

  2. What a freaking embarassing situation! I love it!

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