Jul 23

Mandals should not be part of a business casual wardrobe

Mandals Mandals should not be part of a business casual wardrobe

I am trying my best to keep today's breakfast where it belongs: slowly winding its way through my large and small intestines. I say 'trying' because the man sitting next to me on the good ol' NJ Transit 7:28 to midtown is sporting mandals. And, it's grossing me out.

Men's feet are disgusting. Period. They do not deserve to see the light of day in a work setting. And, yes, the 7:28 to New York is a work setting.

This commuter is otherwise beautifully attired, though. He's sporting a mauve polo shirt. (I love the word 'mauve.' Who comes up with a word like mauve in the first place?)

“Hey Isaiah, that's not purple. But, it's not red either. What the hell?”
“Easy, Esau. I know. We'll call it mauve!”

Anyway, back to mandals. The guy's mauve shirt is beautifully accented by sharply-pressed khaki pants and an obviously well-cared for Coach leather briefcase. So, why mar an otherwise natty ensemble by putting the dogs on display? Why are this obviously well-heeled guy's ragged toenails and hairy toes front and center? Sorry. But, it's beyond being just wrong. It's heinous.

During the dotcom days, Peppercom's workplace was befouled by not one, but two, mandal-wearing employees. We mercilessly pilloried the more senior of the two at our regular management meetings and he sheepishly discarded what I called his Yasser Arafat-branded mandals. (They had a certain Palestine Liberation Organization look to them.)

But, the other offender reveled in his flip-flops and wore them rain or shine. They beautifully accented his laid-back, tropic shirts, torn blue jeans, and overall Jimmy Buffet approach to life, ladies and work. I did everything I could to raise the inappropriate dress code awareness level, even awarding him 'Best Male Feet of the Month' at a regular staff meeting. But, nothing worked, save winter weather.

Happily, the mandal-sporting staffer solved the problem for us by deciding to pack up and head South (presumably for year-round mandal wearing weather conditions.) With his departure, life returned to normal. Male toes were tucked back inside shoes and regular business could be transacted without nausea or vomiting.

I'd really hoped mandals had become a vestige of the dotcom era and, like mullets, jump suits and suspenders before them, had been placed on the 'men should not be caught dead wearing these things in the office' fashion scrap pile. But, apparently not.

As a result, I'm thinking of bribing one of the brain-dead train conductors and asking him to make the following announcement:

“NJ Transit apologizes for yet another interminable delay this morning. We do appreciate your patience but, hey, after so many of these delays, you should be used to it. We'd also like to remind passengers not to place their feet on the seats. This applies in particular to those moronic male passengers who are grossing out their fellow travelers by sporting mandals. Get those dogs off my seats now! Thank you once again for riding New Jersey Transit. Have a pleasant day and be sure to bring shoes and socks if you'd like to ride with us in the future."

Guys: do us all a favor. Save the mandals for the beach.