By my calculations, Artistic Soul is the new winner at CoG. If s/he contacts me to let me know where to send the little prizy, s/he will receive it. Clearly Artistic Soul has good taste in music.
Thanks to all who played. I posted the answers in the comments section of the previous entry, in case you are curious.
Things have been mostly fine for ol’ GayProf. One class that I am teaching, though, doesn’t seem to be moving as smoothly as I hoped. It’s odd, too, because it’s usually a really popular class. I have taught it at two different universities and it has always gone well and attracted enthusiastic students. This time, it feels like we are stuck in mud. My other class seems just fine and normal. Yet, this one just doesn’t have a good vibe. I’ll have to think about how to fix that.
In between teaching and working on the never-ending-project-of-doom, I have also been attending my regularly required institutional events. A recent occasion was a “meet and greet” of new graduate students.
At my former Texas institution, it was made explicitly clear that I was not to have any contact with the precious grad students there (lest I contaminate them with ideas about race, gender, and sexuality). The feeling is quite different at Big Midwestern U, where I am even slated to teach a grad class next semester.
All the same, grad students are a bit of a mystery to me. True, I once was one. That, however, seems like a million years ago. Now, I just observe grad students from afar. Consider me the Jane Goodall of the academic world. Sometimes I drug them, insert a radio tag in their ear for tracking, and release them back into the wild. They feel nothing.
Since I haven’t had a chance to interact with grad students individually, it’s easier to draw conclusions about them as a group. One thing that I have noticed is that there is a dress code to grad students based on their field. By the time we become professors, any sense of individuality in dressing has been ground out until we appear identical to our academic counterparts (I am considered quite radical, for instance, because I dared to put on a tie to teach today. Clearly I didn’t get the memo that the only teaching outfit for history professors is either khakis or jeans with a polo shirt. (Perhaps this is why that one class isn’t responding to me...)).
Before we learn to wear the University Approved Professor gear, though, we have a sense of style that matches our field of research interest. If you are confused about how to dress as a new history grad student, let me help (with an obvious nod to Un-Cool):
Modern European History:
If you have decided to become a grad student in European history, you already consider yourself better than your colleagues. You don’t waste your time studying your own nation. No, no. Your time is only devoted to the “real” history of Europe. Probably you were the kid who used to bring the Wall Street Journal to your eighth grade class and pretend to read it. Hey, you needed something to put in that attache case.
Since those times, you have grown up. Yet, your wardrobe will still reflect that smug feeling of superiority. Others might scoff and say that you are out of date (or frigid – whatever). Don’t listen to them! You know that your look is “classic.”
Shirt: A simple button down blouse in solid colors.
Pants/Skirt: ONLY skirts. You aren’t an animal.
Shoes: Simple brown loafers were good enough for Grandma-ma, they are good enough for you.
Required Item: Hair must either be in a bun or a perm.
Optional: A festive pashmina in any color.
Shirt: Oxford, button down. It can be either white or with a blue stripe
Pants: Chinos, chinos, chinos. Nothing but chinos as far as the eye can see. Jeans are just too American.
Shoes: Wingtips, which you polish weekly.
Required Item: Sam Spade hat (that makes you look silly).
Optional: Pipe (that makes you look silly and gives you throat cancer)
Oh, my poor Medieval grad students! You are so misunderstood by your fellow humans!
If you are white, your wardrobe reflects the uncomfortable transition that you are making from Goth to actual functioning adult. Sure, you still have the twenty-sided dice stored in your drawer “just in case,” but your intellectual studies are making you realize that there is big difference between fantasy and what actually happened in 1205 (They didn’t call them the dark ages for nothing!).
Shirt: Any style, but it must be black. Occasionally, you will wear grey, if you are feeling festive.
Pants: Black jeans.
Shoes: Three-quarter length suede leather boots.
Required Item: Facial hair
Optional: Long hair in a pony tail.
Shirt: Black tank top, with lacy fringe.
Skirt/Pants: Long, cotton skirt in dark colors.
Shoes: Sensible flats.
Required Item: Pentagram necklace.
Optional: Ring with secret compartment for poison.
**If, however, you are a racial minority who is also a Medieval grad student, please consult the wardrobe options of “Modern European HistoryGrad Students.”
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies/Gender Studies:
Ironically, there is a radical divide along gender lines in the GLBTQ and Gender Studies departments. For women, you choose outfits that show that you are serious about the academic work and reject the status quo. Yet, you still want to show off your physical assets. Hey, don’t we all? Just because you're a feminist doesn’t mean you don’t also have the goods.
Still, you don’t have time to worry about things like color choices or coordinating your undergarments. You only have time for serious, serious, serious thinking.
Men in GLBTQG will be the best dressed fellas in the department. Your colleagues and professors will wonder how you possibly afford those latest fashions on that measly graduate student stipend. Little do they know, though, that you are secretly sewing your own wardrobe at night. Scarlett has nothing on you! A dress out of curtains? Bah! You have stitched an entire three piece ensemble out of a role of Bounty© towels and your last trick’s left sock.
Shirt: A tank-top, but only in black or white. The bra underneath must a) have visible bra straps because the tank top doesn’t cover them and b) be the opposite color of the tank top. Alternative: A t-shirt with the Charlie's Angels logo that you wear with a sense of irony.
Skirt/Pants: Either a skirt or pants, as long is it is in the color “Olive Drab.”
Shoes: Sensible walking shoes that are probably also the only ones in the room to have ever been resoled.
Required Accessory: Tattoo, preferably on the bicep.
Extras: Either an eyebrow piercing or a tongue piercing. In lieu of that, you can also wear remarkably dark mascara or die your hair jet black.
Men (a.k.a. GLBT Hipster):
Shirt: Button down, long sleeve (always rolled up 3/4 of the way, natch) shirt in vibrant, shiny colors. Anything that catches the light, the better! Alternative: A T-Shirt with the Charlie's Angels logo that you wear without a sense of irony.
Pants: Dark wool, even in summer. Sure it’s hot, but wool hangs better.
Shoes: The Kenneth Cole boots that changed your life!
Required Accessory: Hair product and expensive cologne.
Extras: Some item of jewelry that people didn’t even know was produced anymore (pocket watch, tie clip, cufflinks, etc.).
Latin America/Africa/Latinos in the U.S./African American:
White graduate students who study either Latin America or Africa (or their decedents in the U.S.) have many things in common. You both want to be “down with the people.” You both adore researching “on location” because you consider it an opportunity to take a holiday from hygiene. You both are often oblivious to your own role in U.S. imperialism.
At first glance, therefore, one might be deceived that you don’t put much effort into your appearance. On the contrary, you spend the most time considering what to wear and how to wear it. Each item of clothing is a political statement.
Shirt: Something made out of hemp because the more uses that we show that there are for hemp, the more likely the government(s) will be to legalize Marijuana, man.
Pants: Cargo shorts only, even in winter.
Shoes: Hiking boots.
Required: Long, greasy hair.
Extras: A beret so tired that even Che wants you to stop wearing it.
Shirt: Anything with a massive print to it and vibrant colors. Something last produced in 1985.
Skirt/Pants: Broomstick Skirt or anything that is long and flowing. Which, you know, is just so practical for those long treks in the desert.
Required; Long, greasy hair.
Extras: Handcrafted earrings that you have been assured are made from authentic ritual stones honoring a mysterious religious past (In reality, plastic beads imported from Taiwan).
***If Latino/African/African American studying Latin American/Africa/Latinos in the U.S./African Americans, see GLBTQ Studies. Regardless of your sexuality or gender, you dress just like the Gay Hipster.
U.S. Historian of the West:
Grad students in the history of the U.S. West have the least gender variation in their wardrobes. It’s not so much that you believe in gender egalitarianism. You just don’t give a fuck anymore (either men or women). Style, shopping, grooming: These are the demons that you must slay if you want to get ahead in this field.
Shirt: Cotton, short sleeve in summer. Flannel in winter.
Pants: Jeans – They were good enough for California 49ers, they are good enough for you.
Shoes: Cowboy boots.
Required: Cowboy hat
Optional: Buckle the size of your head.
There are two types of military history grad students: Those who are in the military and avoiding being sent to war by getting a degree; and those who aren’t in the military and wish they were going to war. Either way, it’s not good news for your closet.
Shirt: Any shirt with more starch than a baked potato.
Pants: Black trousers with exceptional creases.
Shoes: Shiny, shiny black ones.
Required: Buzz cut.
Optional: A gun.
- I have never met a woman grad student in military history. Sorry.
Why are you even studying history? You really want to be out saving souls and doing missionary work. It turns out, though, that “missionary” is the only professional career that actually pays less than “historian.” Besides, you were never really a “people” person. You just enjoy lecturing them and being right all the time.
- Shirt: Anything plaid. Oh, Goddess, how you love the plaid.
Pants: Black polyester.
Shoes: Sneakers that don’t match those black polyester pants.
Required: Bible/Qur’an/Philosophies of Buddha
Optional: A gun.
- Shirt: Anything with a high collar and long sleeves. Not that anybody will notice because it will be covered by the tweed jacket.
Pants/Skirt: If the still made them you would buy hoopskirts.
Shoes: Nothing shiny! You aren’t that type of girl!
Required: Big, clunky wooden jewelry.
Optional: Chastity belt.