Thoughts on my possibly becoming a teacher...

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2002-06-25The case for practised sartorial inelegance...

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I'm scruffy. I wouldn't have it any other way. Let me clarify—I hold nothing against anyone capable of or inclined toward a reasonably effortless dapper ensemble. It's just that I like individuals, not people. I appreciate temporary repairs which become permanent ... anything that becomes part of something unique. Manufactured and off-the-shelf cloning need not apply.

Have you ever seen an impeccably turned out teacher? I doubt it. Leaving aside that Armani on an NQT salary will leave most wondering which Columbian cartel you belong to, the remaining reasons for this are manifold, but really come down to: professional attire pleases no-one. Your head of department views you as lean and hungry for promotion; your pupils consider you a flash bastard and would rather you conformed to their own expected parameters. Younger staff members have slightly more leeway, I reckon, but teaching isn't a business in which it's desirable to make people overly wary.

I consider this dishevelment amongst my more likeable eccentricities. It certains beats my regrettable tendency to blank people unintentionally due to the after-effects of insomnia or failure to have received sufficient a caffeine hit of a morning, noon or night (although, it isn't as if my conversation would be up to much in such situations anyway.)

Such a self-accepted and glorified image probably stems not least from my indentification with characters of popular fiction and film; Ratz and others in William Gibson's Neuromancer; Dean Corso in The Ninth Gate—characters whose apparel and deportment take second place to their abilities and role. (One can afford to be eccentric if one is good at what one does.) Furthermore, there remains something strikingly attractive about the dilettantes of this world and others:

"In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it."

More than this, I have a marked distrust of anyone in possession of enough unoccupied time to devote to incessant preening. I can't speak for you, but I inevitably pick up projects to divert myself. To this end, I've directed what image I possess toward easy maintenance.

Shaving, for instance, is a nuisance. A neat goatee and moustache reduces the area required to defoliate significantly (yet still presents an illusion of effort), whilst simultaneously avoiding the kind of patchwork scars so easily accumulated on the curve of the chin whilst incapable of paying sufficient attention at early hours of the AM. The side of the face more readily adapts to dry-shaving if in a hurry, also.

Hair is another great time-saver—short ponytails are useful. Not only do they effectively keep hair out of your eyes even when exercising, they obviate almost all need for regular trimming, and you can easily do so yourself. Finally, hair does not require shampoo. Honestly—shampoo adverts are complete rubbish. Hair likes the occasional rinse, a good combing to rid itself of stray particles, and you to eat a healthy diet. Though I may fall down somewhat on the last qualification, the fact is that after a short period of acclimatisation, hair absolutely does not require the obscene amount of time and attention suggested by grooming promotions. a) Hair is dead...it's only alive at the follicle. b) It takes a bloody long time to dry. Therefore, unless someone has taken it upon themselves to tip beer over you, or you have recently collapsed over the finishing line of the London Marathon, comb well and the rinses need not be especially frequent.

Again, I feel I should qualify this statement—I love showers. Especially power showers. A sodden tangle dripping down my back, on the other hand, I can live without. Fuck off Vosene! We should all grow dreadlocks...

...and on that note, I shall sign off. ;)

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