I'm wearing a halter top today.
A full-on-cleavage-baring-open-back-sleeveless halter top.
Inside the holy confines of the PC Bureau.
Don't panic, I brought a scarf and cardigan to cover myself should any disapproving eyes peep into the IRC, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let this beautiful new halter-dress sit in a canteen for the next year of my life while I abide by the Bureau dress code.
When I received my "what to pack" list oh-so-very-long-ago it did not include a three-piece f'ing suit. Why didn't anyone warn me that I'd be expected to wear business professional clothing while at the Bureau? I didn't even wear business professional most days to my professional business job--and lord knows, this is NOT exactly a business professional environment we've subjected ourselves to.
Closed-toed shoes at the Bureau.
Long, professional dresses and skirts.
NO tank tops.
NO "wife beaters"
NO form-fitting clothing.
This all seems perfectly reasonable, right? On paper, yes. In practice? Completely impossible.
WE LIVE IN THE BF. Everything I own has turned a pastel shade of brown. My shoes are in shreds. My collared shirts have pit stains. What appropriate clothing I have left is rapidly being destroyed by the red mud of rainy season.
It seems to me that those who repeatedly lecture us forget just what our lifestyles are like... what used to be tragic accidents (small mustard stains on my favorite blazer, a broken heel on my best pumps) are now daily occcurrances on a macroscopic level. Gone are the days of small stains that ruin a piece of clothing. Now I have a streak of red splotches running up the back of my best collared shirt, a result of biking in the pouring rain. There's a hole in the crotch of my dress slacks... yet another result of biking.
It also seems to me that those who lecture us repeatedly may not realize just how ugly we feel, almost all of the time. I moved to Africa and became hideously ugly. The sun is aging me by the second. My hair hasn't seen a good cut for a year. Everyone stares at me, pokes at me, laughs at me. My feet are the color of a septic tank, and no amount of scrubbing will return them to their natural hue.
To top this off, my clothes are ugly. All of them. Even my pretty clothes have become ugly.
So here I sit, in a brand new halter dress and, damnit, for the first time in 15 months I feel attractive (barely). I will not sacrifice this small feeling of self confidence for any dress code.
Yes, that's right. You can see my side boob. SUCK IT UP AND DEAL.