Thursday, November 19, 2009

the man with the metal studs

It is no one’s sunshine when it hits the day’s toll. From delayed papers to anxiety in irksome human forms, the causes are as varied as the spectrum from a color prism.

Stress is, unlike your neighbor’s noisy dog, is a self-induced routine. If the stressors are external, you could yield to them anytime. Kebs. It’s a routine because it grows once it is not dealt with at the soonest time possible, thus, almost becoming like a habit. You know there’s undeniably wrong or stilted in the way how things work yet the atmosphere around is as normal as any other day, so you hop on to another task or assignment that neither helps solve your previous problem nor improves what you will be doing next. It is also a routine because, based on medical research, it happens episodically in everyone’s lifetime, therefore, no one could escape its head-crunching grip. Especially in the corporate setting of any company, this is to be expected.

That’s why stress must be included in the esteemed list of deadly sins. You create or surrender to it, you suffer.

And that’s one curious thing, the fourth word in that sentence before this. Surrender. Ah, you can just feel how the word makes acrobatics with your lips. To avoid suffering, you steer away from that option. I steer away from that option. Well, obviously, it has never been anyone’s favored option.

But due to the limitations of the corporate setup, one ends up with stress, in agony. Maybe that’s a strong word but it is more or less like that, probably in the 4th degree of criticality in a one-to-ten scale.

Concentration gone, aspirations collapsed, the gears not oiled. The cause of both psychological and physiological rumpus? Believe it or not but these simply concern a pair of metal ear studs worn by a man. In short, men shouldn't put any adornment on their ears, or on any other part of the head.

It strikes me to know such kind of prohibition. To encapsulate the drama that escalated because of this, which spanned for two weeks, here are three specific reasons that are so tasty I would like to share them in their concentrated context.

Specific Reason #1
You are under a department that foster resourcefulness through cohesive policies in education, training, health and employment in all levels, and at the same time reflect and require workplace diversity that echoes the company’s customer base. As a result, you follow rules and regulations created by your department, for other departments and for the other people in your department.

Specific Reason #2
You are stereotyped as a creative person, thus, you can get away with whatever looks you want to project, but since you are in a corporate place you have to tone down.

Specific Reason #3
You are only wearing an accessory, something that’s removable. Piercings are not part of the body (on the argument on why a lot of men around are permitted to have shoulder-length hair).

Specific Reason #4
You are under the gods with a conservative viewpoint.

There, they are all laid out. Specific Reason #1 is a given, but here’s the loophole: Restriction on men having ear piercings is not even mentioned in the code of conduct. Besides, what may not be good-looking on someone looks magnificamente perfetto to another. Corporate attire works on a lot of different levels.

As if we had enough typecasts in the world through telenovelas and C-movies, here comes Specific Reason #2. It may be rude to come up with projection as a defense mechanism but look around; aside from the Creative section of the Marketing department, some IT personnel wear them and a whole lot more from obscure units I am not familiar with. Yes, one can easily tone down anything but not individuality. And if long hair is acceptable, since it is part of the body and is not an accessory, cornrows and Mohawks would be a good idea, especially in this field crowded with boring slacks, polos and pencil skirts.

Arguing to Specific Reason #3 equates to having a conversation with a rabid dog, so let us progress to #4. This reason is the most challenging part of all, wherein one has to tackle a fixed religious mindset and moral upbringing.
The word “conservative” basically covers the familial creed, the forbiddance of the color black, and the restriction of putting an umbrella under the table. Get the picture? In this case, imposing the practices of the gods on “different” people, disregarding how efficient they move the system, through usage of authoritarian power, defeats the foundation the department in Specific Reason #1 is trying to build—that is, workplace diversity. It is ironic, if not comically tongue-in-cheek.

And the gods say the acceptance of change must be gradual, and the normalcy of men having piercings is one fine example. Of course, it must be gradual, everyone must have known that after age 12, but the question is: Were the gods being ‘gradual’ in the first place?

If the gods are being gradual, they should stop whispering unpredictably to the so-called deviants in cold office corners to remove any form of accessory, and set the rules in a formal and written-on-stone finality, not through the distinctly Filipino “pagsita.” We are not elementary kids any longer.

If the gods are being gradual, efficient and constructive as what they are trying to show in their glossy demeanor, they should have cracked the hard nut of the applicant, slap on the face the documents of “you should” and “you should not” during the interview processes—not three or four months later, just like what they did to me, because that would truly be a showcase of clumsiness and ineptitude.

But no, the gods are not being gradual. They are noticeably stuck in the age of the dinosaurs, or in limbo, misplaced at the center of modernity zooming in hyperdrive, like denying the existence of Windows 97 all along.

I say this because the real meaning of gradual can be realized only if it takes the next step of moving forward. When that’s done, one can clearly see how satisfying the result of the gradual movement for change is. But there’s no movement, none at all. How stressful.

Pardon for this length but I think I have to write for my long absence in here. It is just sad that this comeback shows up in the form of a highfalutin rant. With all honesty, this is not about the hot air in my head, not one of those Millennium Development Goals promoting gender equality, and especially not just the metal studs in my ears the size of your morning stars. It is to discern that there’s something more than first impressions, to see the sunshine before anything else hits the day’s toll.

I guess I am running in circles now. Goodness, it’s strange. This must be the reason why I feel my days are complete whenever they break at six. I better put on my headband.

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