Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dress code is key to being taken seriously. It’s critical at job interviews, on dates, and with any first impression. It can make or break they way people perceive you. You don’t show up to an interview at a respected law firm in jean shorts and a cut-off t-shirt. You can’t go to the gym in wool pants and a winter coat. No one would think you’re actually the lifeguard if you sit atop your perch in a tuxedo. So imagine my confusion last Friday when I saw a performance by a rap group that featured lyrics about serious issues like government control, authority, murder, and death, rapped by one member who was wearing a pair of Crocs.

The group, Deaf Judges, were good. They performed before a midnight showing of The Shining and started their set by chopping through a fifteen-feet tall door (scrawled with REDRUM) with a cartoonishly big axe. The three rappers and DJ were animated and having fun, bounding around the stage while switching off carrying that huge axe. But those Crocs were magnets for my eyes. It was like noticing a disgusting mole with a full head of hair and a braided ponytail on someone’s upper lip: Once you realize it’s there you can’t see anything else. I shouldn’t judge this guy based solely on his footwear, but it made it a little difficult to take him seriously with his lyrics about death. The most lethal thing you can do in Crocs is piss in the pool.

If this guy were to commit a crime in his Crocs, it wouldn’t be difficult to trace him, since the police would just have to track down the six individuals in the state who own a pair of Crocs larger than a deck of cards. Maybe the suspect pool isn’t even that big. The detectives may not even need to know the size. “Crocs, huh? Well, it’s either a toddler or the guy from Deaf Judges.”

I’m not an expert on street cred, but I would suggest this guy look to the rappers who have come before him for advice. We never saw Eazy-E in footie pajamas. Biggie Smalls didn’t cruise around in a VW Bug. 50 Cent didn’t get shot nine times with a Nerf gun. Perhaps a pair of sneakers is in order.

If I have a kid and he ever wants Crocs, I’ll know I have failed as a parent. I’ll strap two egg cartons to his feet with a pair of rubber bands and send him off to live with bears or wolves. Any lifestyle but the one that lead him to desire Crocs would be an improvement. Since Crocs are so popular, why don’t we modify the Crocs factories to manufacture a whole wardrobe of injection-molded foam pants, shirts, hats, and jackets? Each will be available in a variety of solid colors and everyone who wears them will be stiff-limbed characters come to life from a five year-old’s drawing of his family. But they’ll be happy, since the outfit cost nine dollars and can be washed with the garden hose once a week.

I really shouldn’t knock this guy and his Crocs, considering I wore New Balance sneakers with my suit to prom. I was extremely comfortable, agile, and prepared to sprint (had a relay racer desperately searching for the next baton-holder come dashing through the dance floor) the whole time. But at least they looked like normal shoes. With Crocs, the exchange of comfort for social acceptance is like if the world’s most comfortable and cozy jacket had a huge, graphic photograph of Fidel Castro decapitating a koala bear printed on it. It might look great at the Cannibal Corpse concert, but don’t wear it to the library.

1 comment:

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- Norman