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  • Writer's pictureDavis Young

DY: In Just a Few Words (#102)

Can I wear shorts to a formal dinner? Asking for a friend.

It seems like there’s not much we collectively can agree on these days, but there is one thing I’m pretty sure we all feel. The past two-plus years have been LONG. And increasingly casual. Okay, that’s two things, but I digress.

When you are laying low, you really don’t have to get dressed up. Even though I have donated a bunch of my neckties, I still have 29 ties gathering dust on a rack in my closet. (Save those really narrow and really wide ties, guys. Sooner or later they'll be back in style.) Tell me when I’ll wear all of those or perhaps even some of them. Thanks to COVID I can run around in shorts or cargo pants and a tee-shirt and an old sweatshirt anytime I want. And, I do.

You may recall my Ruthless daughter, Tracy, has declared war on any and all pants that have pleats. Ha, ha, Tracy. You missed one.

My tuxedo has pleated pants. I haven’t had it on since well before COVID. And I'm in no rush to pull it back out. Why, you ask? I dislike my tuxedo with a passion. I go out of my way not to have to wear it. But, sometimes that just can’t be avoided.

Now I know ladies have complicated outfits - ones that require help with a zipper or perhaps a button in the back. They are not alone. I have trouble with a tux, even when I have help. Those darn cufflinks, not to mention cummerbunds and bow ties.... You can imagine how much fun putting on a tux is for me when help is a long way away. I have been known to struggle into one in a small men’s room on a college campus, but it was not pretty.

One night several years ago I was going to a formal dinner in New York City. My home base was the famous Marriott Marquis, but the dinner was a good six or seven blocks away. With every bit of effort I could muster, I got into this monkey suit. The time had come to venture out of my hotel room.

It was about 5:30 in the afternoon and I was headed for an early reception before dinner. I headed for the escalator. I felt like a fool. Who in the world would be in the heart of New York City at this early hour wearing a tux?

Courageous as I am, I exited the hotel onto the sidewalk and set out for the humiliating trek to my destination. I know a lot of people. I just hoped none of them were in New York that day.

Wait, what’s that? He must be going to my dinner, but he’s heading in the wrong direction. I’m going north and he’s going south. Oops, here come a couple of more. And some more.

It turns out these were all guys who put on a tux every night - waiters going to work in New York’s finest eateries. I fit right in.

Dust off that tux, fellas. Practice wearing it around the house. You never know when that big opportunity - whatever it may be - will present itself. I, on the other hand, will be hiding in the corner in my trusty shorts.


DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.

This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

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Eileen Toomey
Eileen Toomey
Oct 14, 2022

Dave once insisted that the dinner we were going to was black tie. I insisted it was not. He wore his tux and the entire evening people were asking him for drinks or giving him trash to throw away. Needless to say, my eye makeup was ruined from laughing. Listen. To. Your. Wife Davey-boy!


Sep 27, 2022

Broke me up today Davis - thank you. I went the other way during COVID. I declared Formal Friday's at TWS The Wright Stuff. I realized I liked getting dressed for the office (sometimes). It was also a branding exercise when I joined client Zoom calls. Outliers rule! 😎


Joe Epley
Joe Epley
Sep 27, 2022

Never did like dressing up as a waiter. Down here, going formal is wearing shoes.

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