John Curtas is …

Atrocious Attire – A Modest Proposal

I heard reddit doesn't like cargo shorts

Summertime in Las Vegas is great for so many things: lounging by the pool, frying eggs on sidewalks, and watching local weathermen figure out different ways to say, “it’s hotter than hell outside.” But what summer is really good for in Vegas is seeing how badly people can dress – specifically how atrocious they look when they go out to eat. It’s no surprise that our tourists rank as some of the most poorly attired in the world (a distant second to Orlando, Florida, but still right up there), but what consistently shocks me is how shameless they are about walking into refined, elegant restaurants wearing nothing more than cargo shorts and an air of cluelessness.

I’m not talking about strolling into the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company or a buffet. No one gives a hoot how sloppy you look in those food factories. No, what appalls me are the t-shirts at Le Cirque, and lululemon at Michael Mina. This may come as a surprise to some of you but 1) no grown man looks good in shorts (no matter how good looking they are – see picture above), and 2) tank tops were invented for volleyball tournaments. And if I want to look at some dude’s mangled hairy, Hobbit hoof, displayed in open-toed shoes, I’ll go to the beach.

Some call it “comfort” and “informality,” I call it an excuse to look like hell and get away with it. Becoming a more casually dressed society has wreaked havoc on manners, good taste and regard for your fellow man. Not to get too philosophical about this, but it’s a short plunge from how informal we’ve become to how rude and crude our politics have gotten.

As much as people want to make this debate a class struggle, or, even worse, an argument over individualism, it’s really about respect, as in: respect for yourself, others around you, and the place you are dining. You are a guest in any restaurant you visit. It is neither your home nor your personal playground. As with any guest, you should consider your surroundings and think about something other than yourself. If you insist on eating out looking like an aging frat boy, there are Taco Bells and Denny’s aplenty just for your ilk.

Rather than arguing about who should wear what, my 92-year-old mother has the best solution: create a slob slum in every nice restaurant. No one but the staff has to know it exists, but simply reserve and segregate a few of the worst tables for the worst dressed customers. That way they can enjoy their meal while not offending anyone, as they revel in their shamelessness, their selfishness and their ugliness. Problem. Solved.

 

11 Responses to Atrocious Attire – A Modest Proposal

  • Superb idea.

    And have them force the dregs of their wait staff to man the “pigpen”.

    2 problems. Solved.

  • I don’t have any problem with any restaurant enforcing its dress code however it wants. I also personally choose not to dress in beach attire when dining in a restaurant with one or more Michelin stars, and would encourage others to do so as well. However, the bottom line is that you being offended by what someone else is wearing is a CHOICE that YOU are making. You choose to be bothered by it, and I don’t have a lot (really, any) sympathy for you. Personally, I choose to not let what other people around me are wearing influence my enjoyment of my meal pro or con.

    Two other issues:
    “Not to get too philosophical about this, but it’s a short plunge from how informal we’ve become to how rude and crude our politics have gotten.” My response: Horseshit. Wearing sandals, tank tops, and shorts doesn’t make one rude. Heck, based on what I’ve seen from television commentary and politics, it’s wearing a tie that turns a person into an asshole. For every person you can point to who is a jerk in casual clothing, I can easily point to one whose behavior is worse who is “properly attired”.

    “…it’s really about respect, as in: respect for yourself… ” Again, horseshit. My respect for myself is independent of what I’m wearing, and I do better work in general when I’m comfortable. Now, if you want to tie your self-respect to what you wear, that’s fine with me. My philosophy is that you should wear whatever makes you happy. But please don’t project your own inability to separate who you are from what you wear onto other people who don’t share this deficiency.

    Again, I’m not suggesting that people should wear flip flops into Robuchon. Nor do I suggest that it’s a good idea to wear board shorts and a tank top to court. Also, again, restaurants are free to enforce whatever dress code they wish, just as customers are free to choose to not dine in a given place because they don’t feel like putting on a tie. My objection is with your projecting ethics onto attire. There is a word to describe people who make a moral judgement based upon appearance, you know.

  • Before I moved to Vegas 3 years ago, I would make an annual trip here, meeting my sister and her family.

    Having lived in Dallas in the 80’s and 90’s, I took them all to Del Frisco’s one night, and it became an annual tradition.

    (Yes, I know it gets spotty reviews, but we got to know the manager, the bartenders, wait staff, everyone. And they made it a big deal for us every year).

    Somewhere around 2010 – in hindsight, not a surprise – we noticed more and more t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops invading the place, even with a “Proper Attire” sign still affixed to the entry wall. Not coincidentally, the noise level in the place jumped accordingly.

    My problem was not with the people. It was with Del Frisco’s. It got worse and worse over the next few years, and by the time I moved here in 2014, we stopped going.

    If a place charging a premium price for an evening’s entertainment – which is more than just good food – does not care about the ambiance of the place, why should I keep spending money there?

    Del Frisco’s stopped caring about my experience.

    I chose to stop caring about them.

  • ELV responds (to npc): No, we do not “know what that word is.” What we know is that everyone judges everyone by their attire. To argue otherwise is hopelessly naive.

  • Well I agree in part with the comments from NPC but am more inclined to side with CM ASIA’s point of view as well as ELV’s theme of discourtesy and falling mores and lack of discipline by the public on how they act outside of their own homes with other patrons at fine establishments.However, the ultimate blame lies with the venues themselves having no respect for their brand and allowing poor behavior and dress infect the atmosphere in their dining rooms. As I have posted here before it “aint the 80’s or even the 90’s” anymore. Restaurants have been desperate for paying customers so they have allowed any yahoo or rube with a credit card or cash inside. They are really the ones who should enforce whatever dress code they deem appropriate that meets their standard of decorum. If they don’t then as CM ASIA espouses, don’t patronize them if it detracts from the overall experience at their venue.

  • To ELV: The word I was thinking of is “prejudiced”, although there are others that would also fit. Everyone also judges everyone else based on race, gender, and age. The enlightened among us realize that’s not right either and try to address that failing within ourselves. I’m not naive, I’m just saying that to ascribe MORAL judgement to someone based on their attire is repugnant.

  • Ah NPC as long as we are trying to describe the demise of diners manners the word I would pick is “degenerate”! ELV isn’t prejudiced because he wishes the eating public to respect themselves and others when dining outside of their humble home or hovel he merely wishes these degenerate types would realize that there is still a little class left in the world so show some respect when with others in how you deport yourselves and present yourself to those outside your native habitat. And by the way that doesn’t mean only dressing in Gucci or driving a Lambo to the restaurant. Appropriate attire from the GAP or JC Penny is just fine just so some breeding for God sake!

  • I remember my then middle-aged Mother’s attitude in the ’50s and ’60s when she saw people we now call hippies, beatniks, and “flower children” (and things much worse). She said, “I don’t really care what people wear, just as long as they are clean.” The women in the restaurant look grubby. The five young men in the picture also look grubby. I looked up grubby to be sure I had the right word. Grubby: dirty, grimy, filthy, mucky, unwashed, stained, soiled, smeared, spotted, muddy, dusty, and sooty. Yes, that about covers it. Those five men would look better naked—even at the next table.

  • It’s not the diners’ fault for being slobs, it’s the greedy restaurant owners’ fault for valuing the extra bucks over that of enforcing a dress code. If you are offended by the riff-raff at the next table who have just as much a right to be there as you I suggest you let management know that you will no longer patronize their fine-dining establishment.

  • Damn, NPC is spot on. It is this guy’s CHOICE to be offended. But it’s also because Curtas’ self esteem relies on him believing he is better than everyone else. He goes to better restaurants, he drinks better wine, he has the most refined opinion on dining. Of course, he dresses the most appropriately for restaurants and has every right to judge other people for how they dress. Keep in mind, these restaurants have every right to turn people away for how they dress but they don’t because these customers PAY THEIR TABS which is something a COMPED FOODIE like Curtas doesn’t have to do.

    Because if Curtas didn’t judge other people he would be forced to look deeper at himself and realize he is nothing more than a bloated pompous civil servant waiting to see when his indulgent life choices will end him. And he has gotten uglier in his judgments over the past year so I guess his ego grows more fragile as he grows older and so bloated that he struggles to close the top button of dress shirts. Don’t feed this troll, the restaurants he writes about already do that for free and it doesn’t fill the emptiness of his life.

  • ELV responds: FDR has done a such a good job of psychoanalyzing me (and reading so much into my taking offense at the slobs in the world), that methinks that he must be clairvoyant….or at the very least have access to my psychiatrist’s notes. For why else would I “slob shame” someone, but to enhance my own self-worth? Of course that’s how I derive pleasure. I live for the chances to be offended by people so dumb they don’t know the difference between a backyard bbq and one of the greatest restaurants in the world. Without such opportunities (that are all around me) how empty would my (already pretty damn empty) life be? I love the fact that FDR pegs me as “…nothing more than a bloated pompous civil servant waiting to see when his indulgent life choices will end him.” He certainly got the pompous part right, but he loses points for not knowing that buttoning my shirts continues not to be a problem, and for being so illogical as to suggest that as my pomposity has grown, my ego has gotten more fragile. You can’t have it both ways, FDR, and if you’re going to insult someone for their personality flaws, at least get your facts right. As for those “indulgent life choices” – guilty as charged. Like I said your self-anointed perspicacity is admirable, but in a battle of wits, you’re only half right.

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