Sunday, October 2, 2016

Zookeeper Fashion: SOS

So the other day, one of our researchers introduced us to two new people joining their team.  Here are the conclusions I've drawn about them:

1. They are really smart
2. They are really nice

Fashion at home, fashion on the job

In fact, I mentioned this to them after we worked together for one of their projects.  I said, "Can I just say that you all dress fabulously?"  They smiled politely, like....I totally realize how creepy I was being.  But this feeling just welled within me and I had to acknowledge something that I've silently noticed for many years.

Unlike most of my Middle Flipper entries, this is not one that I feel encompasses all of us.  In fact, I think in this case, we fall into two separate categories.  There are people who just KNOW how to dress great (like....all of my coworkers), and people who (like me) look like a garbage can even on our best days.


But while at work, we are all the same.  No matter what makeup or hair product we use, we still smell bad and look like a hot mess at the end of the day.  How many times have you sat keeled over a wheel barrow, wondering how horrible your armpit sweat stains are?  How many times have you put on a wetsuit that's just a few weeks old, realizing that the decomposing-body smell is not only coming from your suit, but it has permanently infiltrated your skin?

And then, someone from HR walks by.  And oh my god.  They look fantastic.  They have a knack for bizcaz you just can't fathom.  What is it LIKE to dress nice for work?

All of the non-keeper staff at our zoo/aquarium

I remember when I was a little kid, I'd watch my parents' routine as they got ready for work.  They'd get up really early, take showers, and then dress in their nice work clothes.  They looked great.  And when they came home, they looked tired, but still pretty darn good.  All they had to do was slip into some PJs, have a beer, and enjoy the evening.

Here is an example of my routine:

Wake up really early, change a diaper (hint: not my own), brush my teeth, put on shoes.  Brushing my air/putting on deodorant can happen at work.  

Then I get to work, get my 809 pounds of hair out of my face in something that can only be described as Hair Tumor, put on my uniform, and proceed to get fish blood, fish muscle tissue, salt water, and lunch all over myself.  There are scales in my hair, there is dried blood under my fingernails.  And by the time I need to go home,  my Hair Tumor has metastasized to every location of my skull, where only the finest power tools can put it back in a manageable shape. 

Hair tumor exploding out of my hat

Even when I try to dress nice, like for a wedding or something, I still can't pull it off.  First, I have no idea what to buy.  Every time I go to a store, my zookeeper brain refuses to shut off. 

"Ooooo, can't have those shoes, they have no treads!"

"Dry clean only? HA HA HA"

I also blame my profession for lowering my expectations of how I dress myself.  You know, if it's not khaki pants with a cotton shirt tucked in, then it's probably "fashionable".  I've bought some really stupid looking outfits because at the time, I thought, "WOW THIS IS SO CHIC I AM GOING TO FINALLY LOOK LIKE ONE OF THOSE COOL GIRLS."  And then I realize whoops, these are actually pajamas.

I can dig it

Now some of you, the zookeepers who fall into the "I can look hot in an instant" category, WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?  Can you please share?  How do you do your hair?  What do you do with all the flyaways?  Do you just like, staple them to your head or something?  Mine are always at full mast, ready to defy laws of physics in spite of any chemical product made for such a problem.

What about knowing like, what looks nice?  Something that doesn't require dry-cleaning?  Right now, I can basically handle the jeans+graphic tee combination.  Everything usually gets buried under an enormous sweater.  My nice clothes are usually, "Oh GOD I have to have something nice for this event that starts in seven hours, WHAT DOES MARSHALL'S HAVE THAT IS CHEAP?"

Yes, as a matter of fact I did.

For the love of god, can you fashion-savvy zookeepers please help the rest of us out?  We want to feel clean and normal.  We want to be comfortable, but feel confident in our look.  We want clothes with less than 5 stains on them. 


Check out that really sweet holiday outfit