You are what you wear

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You are what you wear

Have you ever had one of those naked dreams? You’re getting ready to go to a party, and you decide to go naked. Then you get there and no one else is naked. You smile nervously and blink a lot.
That’s what Rhyu Simin did last week on his first day at the National Assembly. No, he didn’t go naked. He went casual ― a drab T-shirt, black blazer, tacky khakis and scruffy shoes. Then he got there, smiled nervously and blinked a lot.
He looked so lame he could have passed for a professor or a journalist.
What’s the difference between a naked dream and Mr. Rhyu’s first day at Parliament? In the dream, nobody notices you, and opposition party lawmakers don’t stand and leave the building.
Mr. Rhyu, who (frightfully) has been both a professor and a journalist, went on a TV talk show to try to cover up his sartorial peccadillos. He said that by being tieless he was sending the message that democracy is for everybody and that people with different thoughts should be respected.
You know, those things that tie-wearers hate.
The show had a crowd of 100 people, and at the end they voted on whether Mr. Rhyu was smart to look unsmart for his swearing-in. By a 56-44 margin, they said yes.
Now, you would assume that the younger generation supports Mr. Rhyu’s position, and the older generation doesn’t. But based on our survey, you’d be wrong.
You see, we at Itaewon Wanderings like to take our own polls, to ensure fairness, objectivity and accuracy, and to meet pretty girls.
So we went to Ewha Womans University to ask attractive students what they thought about Mr. Rhyu’s stunt.
“I know what he was trying to say, but that was the wrong way and the wrong time to do it,” said Hae-yeon, a 23-year-old history major. Her friend Jeong-hyun, a 24-year-old biology major, agreed. “He was stupid to wear clothes like that,” she said. “But lawmakers are always fighting, and maybe he had that in mind.”
Back in Itaewon, we asked two tailors the same question. Oddly, both supported Mr. Rhyu.
“It was good for him to stand there and show he is for equal opportunity,” said Kong Jae-kyung at the Korea Custom Tailor shop. “He could have worn jeans, that would be fine.”
Asked what Mr. Rhyu should have worn, disregarding the message, Mr. Kong said, “A navy blue suit, white shirt, double French cuffs and a light-blue tie with burgundy stripes; and a three-button coat, since he is young and trendy.”
We then talked to Hilton Lee at the Hilton tailor shop. “It was O.K. for Mr. Rhyu to go casual,” he said. “But he should have worn a shirt with a Mandarin collar and better material, like silk.”
Asked what Mr. Rhyu should have worn to be like all the other tie-rants, Mr. Lee said, “A charcoal-gray suit with wide pinstripes, a light grayish-blue houndstooth shirt and a three-tone tie of burgundy, gray and blue.”
Our conclusion? Actually, w’ere not sure, so we’re going to sleep on it. And we’re glad we’re not in Mr. Rhyu’s shoes.


by Mike Ferrin

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