Country club dress codes treat adults like children, and yet adults continue to be members of country clubs. I don't get it.

My friend's country club does not allow denim to be worn after May 1. 

Women are allowed to wear shirts without sleeves but only if they are also wearing a collar. 

Men must wear collared shirts, and their shirts must be tucked in at all times. 

These are just a few of the ridiculous rules imposed on members of this country club, which leads me to ask:


Why can women wear denim on April 30 but not on May 1?

To what purpose does it serve to require men to tuck in their shirts?

Don't the people who established and enforce these rules understand how elitist, sexist, and arbitrary they make their country club appear? Are they blind to the snobbery and exclusivity that they are promoting?

But more importantly:

Why would anyone who is paying thousands of dollars per year to belong to a country club allow themselves to be subjected to dress codes that infantilize their choice over how they present themselves to the world?

Why would someone subject themselves to this kind of treatment?

There are very few times in life when we allow someone to dictate what we wear without paying us for our time:

  • When we are children
  • When we allow our significant other to determine what is appropriate for a specific occasion
  • When we're asked to serve as a bridesmaid or groomsman, pall bearer, or the like 
  • When we join a country club, and when we visit establishments like fancy restaurants that are closely akin to country clubs in terms of their elitism and snobbery

That might be it. These might be the only times when someone requires us to dress a certain way without paying us for that privilege. 

And in only one of these instances are people actually paying large sums of money in order to be told what to wear.

I have always felt that when you allow someone to tell you what to wear without compensation of any kind, you're allowing yourself to be treated like a child. You're allowing someone else to assume the role of Mommy and Daddy. It's one of the reasons why I bristle at every attempt to control my clothing choices in any way.

If you're not paying me, don't even think about telling me what I should wear. 

I also think (as you may already know) that this inane, materialistic, unnecessary focus on clothing and the condescending determination by others about what fashion choices are appropriate are things that should have been left behind in junior high school. 

I think this would be the case if not for a special breed of elitist jackass who thinks they they have the right to tell some that it's not appropriate to wear denim in the summer or that a man must play golf with his shirt tucked in.

You know the type. Just imagine the worst person you knew in high school. The one who wore the most stylish clothing and made fun of those who didn't.

They exist, even in adult form. 

I know these dress codes exist in many, many places. I know that they are commonplace in almost every country club in the world. But I also think that they are the direct result of a a lot of elitist jackasses who are hell-bent on ensuring that their kind of people don't accidentally become confused with any other kind of people. These dress codes serve to denote and separate the members of these country clubs from the heathens outside their pristine walls. They seek to elevate the image of the club and its members above the kind of thing you might see at a less-than-classy public golf course or a less-than-exclusive restaurant. 

I think that these things are decidedly less-than-noble goals, and they come at the expense of personal choice and treating adults like adults.  

The members of my friend's country club (and all country clubs) are adults. Hard working, well respected men and women who pay large fees in order to be members of this institution. They are all presumably successful people by any standard. Yet they allow their physical appearance to be dictated by who?

  • The anal-retentive snobs who run the place?
  • A conservative, stick-up-their-ass rules committee? 
  • The members themselves, who cast sidelong glances at the ladies who dare to wear denim, gossip about men when their shirts come untucked, and turn in their fellow members to whatever parental-like standards squad who is charged with enforcing this nonsense?

I know that most if not all country clubs have dress codes. My friend's country club is not alone in its buffoonery. I have played golf at some of these clubs and conformed to the dress code because a friend has invited me and I choose to respect my friend's wishes and their standing in their club.  

But I think these dress codes are almost always stupid. As adults, we are supposed to be able to wear whatever the hell we want. While I understand a country club requiring members to wear something, the banning of denim or the tucking requirement are examples of a system gone amok.

It's also a system predicated entirely on sexism and gender inequality.  

When women can wear a sleeveless shirt, for example, and a man cannot, the ridiculous double standards and sexist attitudes of the past are proven to be surprisingly alive and well in some corners of the world. 

But even more baffling and disturbing to me is the contingent of people who want to be members of an exclusive country club badly enough to allow nameless, faceless, elitist strangers to tell them what to wear based upon the day of the year and the genitals that they happen to be equipped with at the moment.

Is there no attempt at rebellion?
No effort to force a rule change?
No declaration that "I'm an adult, damn it, and I will wear whatever I want, whenever I want!"

Maybe you're a guy who likes his shirt tucked in at all times, so the rule isn't a problem for you.

Maybe you're a woman who despises denim. 

But still, even if you happen to conform to every inane dress code rule out of personal preference, doesn't it enrage you to think that someone is taking your money and telling you what to wear?

It would enrage me.
Every day I would be enraged.

I am not at the point in life when I can afford a membership to a country club. Perhaps someday I'll be able to, and being a golfer, I think I'd enjoy a membership a great deal. But when and if that day comes, I will be faced with a Devil's bargain, as so many have undoubtedly been before me:

Become a member and dress as I am told. Dress in ways that I do not like. Allow elitism, snobbery, and buffoonery into my life.

I love golf. Truly. And I have always enjoyed the time I have been able to spend at my friend's country clubs. I would like to be a member, but when push comes to shove, I don't think I could do it. 

I'm an adult. When I play golf or sit by the pool or eat lunch on a terrace, I will wear whatever I damn well please, and if that does not conform to the expectations of the elitist, snobbish club officials, to hell with them. 

I'll continue to play with the riff-raff on public courses and swim in public pools, and I will like it. 

If you have strong feelings about cargo shorts, then you are probably an infantile jackass.

I was surprised to see that a junior high newspaper editorial staff apparently took over The Wall Street Journal last week, publishing a infantile piece on cargo shorts in their esteemed pages.

The thesis of the piece is this:

Cargo shorts are ugly, and men who wear them are stupid and ugly. 

Seriously. That's their thesis. It's also the type of sentiment expressed by junior high school cretins who think that a classmate's choice of clothing is reason for ridicule.

This piece was paragraph after paragraph of petty, cruel nonsense, reported as if this matters in any way and absent of any condemnation for the critics of cargo shorts, which is all this piece should really be. 


Relationships around the country are being tested by cargo shorts, loosely cut shorts with large pockets sewn onto the sides. Men who love them say they’re comfortable and practical for summer. Detractor say they’ve been out of style for years, deriding them as bulky, uncool and just flat-out ugly.

Detractors? Do you mean snobby jackasses who think that everyone should dress exactly like them or be derided for their alternative views regarding fashion? These people aren't detractors. They're disgusting, small minded, useless people who clearly loathe themselves and their life.  

Or how about this paragraph?

Fashion guru Tim Gunn said in a 2007 interview with Reuters that cargo shorts were the least fashionable item of clothing in his closet. British tabloid Daily Express called cargo shorts “a humiliation for any man over 21 and should be sold only after proof of age has been presented.

Humiliation? A person's choice of shorts is worthy of feelings of humiliation? I think that declaring any item of clothing to be humiliating should be the real cause for humiliation. This is not junior high. This is real life, where people get to wear whatever the hell they want without the self-professed popular kids saying mean things. Shut the hell up, detractors.  

This might be my favorite part of the piece (which means it's the part I hate the most): 

Jen Anderson, a 45-year-old freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y., said she used to tease her husband gently about his fashion choices, until he made a purchase that crossed the line: denim cargo shorts. That was “just too far,” she said.

Through what Ms. Anderson described as “strong mocking,” she convinced him to return the shorts. She said she doesn’t like the idea of being seen in public with her husband when he’s wearing cargo shorts, which make him look like “a misshapen lump.”

“It’s a reflection on me, like ‘How did she let him out the door like that?’ ” she said.

Despite Jen Anderson's advanced age, she has apparently not advanced in terms of maturity since junior high. Her husband's appearance is a reflection of her? Does she really believe that friends and colleagues determine her worth as a human being based in part on her husband's choice of shorts?

If so, who is she spending time with? Reality television celebrities? Fictional characters in John Hughes' films? Victims of traumatic brain injuries? 

Did Jen Anderson marry a toy poodle? An online avatar of some sort? What kind of sick and twisted lunatic looks at a person's clothing and makes any kind of assumption about the person's spouse?

People like Jen Anderson, apparently.

She 's worried that people will wonder "How did she let (her husband) out the door like that?"

Did Jen Anderson marry a toddler? Does her husband have no backbone? Is he on a leash? Must he scratch the door or ask permission to exit the home? Does she dress him everyday in the same way I choose my four year-old son's outfit on a given day? 

Is she really worried about what people will think of her based upon her husband's cargo shorts?

Actually, I think she is. I also think that is a fairly pathetic way of living beyond high school. 

Last bit of awfulness from the piece:

GQ magazine last summer wrote that cargo shorts with slim pockets are acceptable, but not if “they look anything like the ones you picked up at the mall when you were trying to dress like a cool kid in middle school.

I was so happy that GQ took the time to inform us about what is acceptable and what is not. Why they are the arbiters of what people can wear without being ridiculed by the likes of Jen Anderson, Tim Gunn, and Daily Express is beyond me. I suspect that few people give a damn about what GQ finds acceptable, and those that do aren't worth the pages that the magazine is printed on. 

I would like to propose a few alternatives to the idea that cargo shorts should be an item of ridicule: 

  1. Why not let people wear whatever the hell they want and leave them alone?
  2. Why don't we all grow up past our infantile junior high school sensibilities and let our fellow human beings look and feel they way they want without comment?
  3. How about finding a real problem to worry about other than a man's decision to wear shorts with large pockets?
  4. Why don't we all stop worrying about what the likes of Jen Anderson think of us when we leave the house?
  5. How about we embrace and perhaps even celebrate diversity of appearance in all its forms? Even if that diversity comes in the form of cargo shorts?

I don't own any cargo shorts, and therefore, I don't wear any cargo shorts, but if you do, happy news!

I don't care. I probably won't even notice. 

If you wear pink and green cargo shorts with three dozen pockets and an upside-down No Parking sign woven on the ass, I don't care, either. If you are happy, I am happy for you. 

And if Tim Gunn or Jen Anderson or GQ anyone else tells you that your cargo shorts look dumb or ugly or are a source of humiliation, you can tell them to go to hell. Or tell them to go back to high school, where we were supposed to have left that nonsense behind.

Here is an idea: Just as you are about to open your mouth in criticism of another person's clothing choices, stuff an apple in your mouth and silence yourself, because you are more akin to a pig than a decent human being.