Laurie Taylor column

June 10, 2005

"New dress code for academics will help them achieve a 'more professional air'" - The Times Higher, June 3

Now, Lapping, I believe you know the other members of the Dress Code Committee.

Yes indeed.

Excellent. So we can get straight down to business. You are charged under Rule 14 of the code, which deals with "skimpiness". In general, this concerns unprofessional midriff displays. But in your case, the inspectors noted with approval that any possibility of midriff exposure was limited by your predilection for wearing trousers that rise unimpeded to just below the chest. Nevertheless, this does mean that when you are seated the trouser leg tends to rise and expose a section of calf. By any standard, that is non-professional skimpiness.

I can only apologise.

We must now refer to Rule 8 of the code on "scruffiness". There have been unsatisfactory reports from the university inspectors on your tie wearing.

Aren't ties professional?

Indeed they are. But within limits. The complaints concern the five days last term when you appeared in the lecture hall wearing two ties simultaneously.

It was an oversight.

We now turn to Rule 12 on "inappropriate personal signage".

Under this heading, all the complaints concern your partiality for a T-shirt with the slogan "Rectify the Anomaly Now".

It's an old Association of University Teachers battle cry. We marched down Whitehall chanting it. "What do we want? RECTIFY THE ANOMALY. When do we want it? NOW."

Exciting times, Lapping. But in the present climate the blatant use of words such as "rectify" and "anomaly" can only be seen as potentially offensive.

Is that all?

Except for one small personal observation that could have a bearing on the likelihood of your future reappearance before this committee. Lapping, unless I'm very much mistaken, you appear to be wearing your underpants outside your trousers.


Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.