You can't please all of the people all of the time

Years ago, when I was dating a multimillionaire doctor, she blurted out that she couldn't stand my clothes, which she thought were hideous. I liked almost anything colored fluorescent orange but knew that it lacked cultural acceptability south of the 45th parallel, so I usually dressed more mainstream, but occasionally looked like a hippie crossed with a avant-garde yuppie.

gorgeous model orange
I like this orange even though it is not fluorescent, but based on how they dress, few women would agree with me.

But fluorescent orange? Not when Dr. MegaBucks was around. In Snobville, home to the rich girlfriend I'll call Susan, such a color choice would cause residents to break out in hives and have 'em dialing 911—something many of them did if a neighbor violated the local ordinance stipulating that trash cans must be removed from the curbside one hour or less after the trash collector visited twice weekly. I wondered if all of them had servants to comply with that overly anal law, but never asked Susan. When she wasn't criticizing my clothes, she was trying to impress me with all of the medical journals she read, or gushing over a pulmonologist she deemed an Einstein, or recounting a fellow classmate she had a crush on in medical school who later became an astronaut, or telling me of her travels around the world with her traveling companion, a gorgeous but single infectious disease specialist. Or telling me about her parents, childhood, and many things that are better left unsaid.

Flash-forward to Christmas, and Susan became a Santa on a mission to dress her boyfriend in clothes she liked. She visited the ritziest store in Snobville and bought things for me that made me contemplate breaking up with her just so I could use them as rags, but cognizant of my exiguous fashion sense, I wore them hoping she had her finger on the pulse of what was suitable.

A couple of years later, when I was dating another doctor with much less money but something men value far more, she wrinkled her nose and told me how much she hated my clothes. Although I was then north of the 45th parallel, I played it safe—I thought—by wearing doctor-approved clothes to impress—I hoped—this young doctor. She didn't like what Susan liked, which was then stored away until another friend saw them and remarked how repulsive they were.

Oddly enough, even though I'm still enamored with fluorescent orange as menswear, female friends say that I have a real knack for selecting clothing that makes them look fabulous. I can quickly walk around a store and only need to give a half-hearted effort to pick out clothes for women they love. Susan really needed my help in this regard, but I sensed she had a one-way valve for criticism, so I said nothing.


  1. Like orange? And beautiful women? You'll love the Dutch field hockey team!
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

Comments (1)

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Comment #222 by Jessica
Contact the commenter via MySpamSponge: schmidty Contact this person via MySpamSponge
July 10 2012 04:07:15 PM

Come shopping with me sometime soon, Dr. Pezzi? Hahaha! Hey, I'm sure you can pull off the fluorescent orange!

That's kind of like when people say men can't wear pink. I'd have to disagree about that. My dad looks really good in pink and it doesn't make him any less of a man.

I say wear what you want. If anyone doesn't like the way you dress or how you look, they don't need to be graced with your presence.

I very recently gave my hair to Locks of Love — an organization that takes in donations to make wigs for kids … and now I'm left with a buzzcut. It is amazing to see how many of my so called "friends" thought I was just a head of hair and completely went ballistic about it. I'm still the same Jessica, just without the long hair and an amazing feeling in my heart that I was able to possibly help a child receive a wig. I know who I am and am very secure in the person I am today. I have had people ask me if I feel like a man, so I guess femininity is based on hair length now (if you haven't heard already lol). I was also called a "butch" in Wal-mart the other week, but hey, that's Wal-mart for ya!

But, yes, sadly you can't please everyone and I personally am sick of trying to. So stick to rockin' your fluorescent orange clothing and what ever other fashions you are into. Unless you are like my husband and thinks that camo and plaid go together — that one I think is pretty out there! Haha!

REPLY FROM KEVIN PEZZI: Donating your hair to Locks of Love is very kind of you, Jessica. It is impressively altruistic, but as you experienced, your unselfishness rubbed some people the wrong way in our increasingly selfish country that is, as you suggested, obsessed with physical appearance and mindless, unquestioning (even robotic) acceptance of cultural norms.

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