I have a coworker who owns a Darth Vader costume. If you ask him really nicely, he might dress up as Darth Vader to scare your kids. He’s proud enough to own that costume that he keeps a picture of himself in it on his desk.
Someone–I forget who–had the idea this past week that his cubicle neighbor ought to get a Chewbacca the Wookie suit. Because nothing goes with Darth Vader like Chewbacca, right? Several of us even reached for our wallets in anticipation of taking up a collection to fund this Chewbacca suit, and then someone threw out a stipulation–that the two of them need to wear their costumes to work.
For some reason, I still have my copy of the corporate dress code, so I got it out to see if it would be legal to wear Chewbacca and Darth Vader costumes to work.
I already knew that face tattoos are a no-no. Scratch that. Offensive face tattoos are a no-no. The trouble is defining the word “offensive.” Maybe that’s why none of my coworkers have face tattoos. The dress code also strongly suggests keeping tattoos covered while at work, which, of course, is a bit of a problem with a face tattoo.
Then again, a wookie or a Darth Vader mask would cover face tattoos rather nicely. I’m just saying.
So I whipped out the dress code and read it, front to back, several times. I found nothing that expressly prohibits Darth Vader, Chewbacca, or similar costumes. But I did find a section that defined acceptable business casual clothing. The guidelines for men are simpler than those for women. If we wear golf shirts and khakis, or anything less casual than that, we’re OK. The question is whether Darth Vader and Chewbacca costumes are more casual, or less casual than golf shirts and khakis.
Then inspiration struck. The dress code states nothing about how said golf shirts and khakis have to be worn. Therefore, as long as you’re wearing a golf shirt and khakis, you can wear whatever else you want.
I told my coworker that based on my interpretation of the dress code, as long as he wore khakis and a golf shirt underneath his Chewbacca costume, he’d probably be OK.
He said that if he ever wore a Chewbacca costume to work, he would be sure to bring me along when HR calls him to the office.
Something tells me he’s less confident of my interpretation than I am.
Maybe if he had a face tattoo to cover up, Chewbacca would be an easier sell? Maybe a Chewbacca face tattoo. Then he could cover it up with a Chewbacca costume, under the justification that a Chewbacca face tattoo might be offensive to Star Trek fans.
If you’ve ever wondered why I don’t work in HR and never have, chances are you’ve stopped by now.
I suppose HR would oppose such costumes because they might mask the true identity of the person wearing the costume. That said, if he walked in to work one day in full Darth Vader costume, I am 99.9999% certain that I, and everyone else in the area, would just say hello, call him by his first name, go about our business, and not even realize he was wearing a Darth Vader costume for several minutes. Some of us might not notice until lunch.
My chances of ever working in HR aren’t getting any better, are they?