Action Potential

I Am Judging You While You Wait To Buy Coffee

This is a guest post in our #NPGsfn11 blog series and posted on behalf of Dr. Becca.

There may be no better spot for people watching in all of the convention center than the leather sofa that faces the Starbucks line, and that is exactly where I am sitting. It’s perfect—I’ve got a constant stream of people going by, but that stream is slow-moving enough that my not-fully caffeinated brain is actually able to make an observation or two. One thought that occurs to me: with a few highly-notable exceptions, SfN-goers appear to be better-dressed this year than last. But before you go patting yourselves on the back too long over your new-and-improved sartorial prowess, let’s think this through a little.

The explanation may be as simple as the weather: it’s colder here than in San Diego and we’re wearing more clothes. Dudes who last year strutted the conference halls in shorts and a t-shirt may have actually managed to find a sweater this year—or, if they’ve really done some growing, a button-front shirt. Ladies who previously pranced through the posters in tank tops and flip-flops have eschewed their beach-appropriate garb for pressed jeans and a nice tailored blazer—perfect protection against those brisk DC breezes. Good going, folks! You actually look halfway professional, and all it took was a dip in the mercury. Let’s try to keep it up straight on through to New Orleans, shall we?

As I’m sitting here, I’m having a few other thoughts about your appearance/actions:

Girl in red jacket—LOVE your boots. Love them. Below-the-knee brown suede, cream piping, gorgeous. WANT. Well done. Where are you staying again? And what time would you say you usually go to sleep? Hmm? Oh, no reason.

People in the seats next to me eating Oreos at 8:45am…I mean hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Ladies with above-the-knee boots. I’m sorry, but there is no right way to wear these. If you wear them folded down, you look like a pirate, and if you wear them up, you look like…well, you know what you look like. Neither screams “professional scientist.”

People in suits, it is just not necessary to wear a suit ever at this conference, even if you’re an exhibitor. Plus, you look uncomfortable. Wouldn’t you rather be wearing a nice cardigan or something?

Suspenders guy—between those, your cream shirt and olive trousers, we’re seriously approaching lederhosen territory, here. Be careful, is all I’m saying.

Dr Becca is a new professor who blogs at Fumbling Towards Tenure (Track). Feel free to judge her on her clothes and parties–it’s only fair.


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