Dress for Success by Christine Swiderski

Dress for Success

 

Dress for success was the mantra going through business school. I love to dress up but not in the suit sort of fashion. I try to incorporate my style in what I wear to the office. Pinstripe skirt with slit, a black satin blazer with a lace camisole peeking just beyond the lapels. Those who work with me believe I slept my way to the top.

In reality, I have not slept with nor had drinks with anyone I work with. Plenty have tried. All have failed. Here is where the truth hits the mark. In all the come-on’s and flirting I learn valuable Intel on the perpetrator. Most are married or in a long-term a relationship. Others enjoy using their power to get what they want.

I use my power of persuasion via the fashion sense. Being attractive and dressing to exemplify your best qualities is an asset. Yes, I do dress for success. A billboard of subtle deception. Making men believe I am available.

When I let these men down easily I remind them of their status. I also insinuate I have recorded many conversations we have had. These men may be guided by their male prowess but they are not dumb. When advancement becomes available I am the first one they ask. They want me to be an asset not adversarial.

It may be a man's world, this does not mean a woman has to succumb to it.

I finally met my match. John Stile! He became the head of my department. I came to work in my usual mock professional attire. He brought me into his office. My immediate supervisor was in the room as was my subordinate. Mr. Stile bluntly told me, my attire is not in keeping with the image of the company. He told me in no uncertain terms to change what I wear to the office or I will be dismissed. He reminded me I had signed an agreement which stated unequivocally a dress code violation is a dismissal offense.

I shrugged and said yes sir. This leaves me in my department still making good money, I am sure I can still wrangle a few cowboys but the possibility of advancement will not be as lucrative. It was fun while it lasted.

I am sure my co-workers are in seventh heaven seeing me put in my place. I will take my time and find away around this new barrier.

I need to quietly find out if Mr. Stile is married. Next I need to see if he has any vices. I know how to be a big girl in a big boy club. When I get back on track those co-workers who probably high five-ed their roll in my new place of subordinate. I will see to it they get their walking papers.

Friday worked at least an hour late doing busy work. Keeping my eyes open to see who leaves last.

After the hour was up I was getting my things together when Mr. Stile poked his head in my office and said: “Jennifer you are still here. Is there a problem?”

I took this moment to mention “No sir I just need to have a conversation with Marcia tomorrow morning. Nothing urgent, just tiding up loose ends.”

Mr. Stile gave me a nod and went on his way. I slowly followed along behind him. His car was out of his assigned space when I arrived at the parking garage. As I clicked my door lock to open I stopped thinking I heard something behind me. Looking over my shoulder I shrugged it off as fatigue. It has been a long week.

 

I threw my purse onto the passenger seat. With my keys in my left hand and phone in my right I felt breath on the back of my neck. Ever so slowly I turned to see Mr. Stile standing near to me. He slowly came just close enough for our garments to touch. I said to him “Well Johnny boy seems you do have a weakness.”

He laughed and said “No I don’t! I heard you call in distress and came to see if I could be of assistance.”

My mind worked quickly realizing he was about to put me in my place in a more intimate way. I then said “Well if you have something in mind you may as well get to it.”

 

He laughed as he walked away and said “Your a tease and an opportunist. We may as well join forces we could go a long way together.”

 

This left me wondering what he wanted. I will think on it and decide in a couple of days how to proceed.

 

I inherited not only my grandmothers house that I live in but also her jaded attitude. She had a mantra which she chided regularly even when Alzheimer’s set in. “You can choose to be the salt of the earth or the one who shakes the salt into the wounds of the unassuming.”

She was the salt shaker as I am. I really do not have any girl friends. I have girl acquaintance’s. We do lunch, sometimes shop, but we never or I should say I never share intimate details of my life. I am not a whiner, but I am a wine lover. My one go to person is my neighbor to the right of me. He is as jaded as I am. Retired Marine Sargent, became a local police officer. His name is Bear. That is what I call him. At my grandmother’s funeral, I was near tears, he came up and gave me a bear hug. Lifting me off the ground whispering in my ear “Do not lose the salt that you will need to shake.” I laughed, this so sounded like something my grandmother would say.

He is my go to male for comfort and advice. The comfort is mutual. I am sure he is in heaven having sex with me. I am 30 years his junior. What I like about our arrangement is I do not need teaching. He doesn’t try to teach and he doesn’t need teaching. Neither of us needs anything beyond the fling. Our wounds have been salted by those who said they loved us.

Saturday morning I called Bear asked if he was available for a late afternoon fling, a case of beer, barbeque burgers and conversation.

He said: “Yes I am always horny and now I am intrigued”

The fling ended with both of us panting like race horses, sweating like illegals picking beans. When will the whiners realize the reason we have so many illegals doing the jobs is because Americans have realized they can get paid as much on welfare without lifting a finger. The salt of the earth folks need to get with the times.

After burgers, beer and conversation Bear was going to need Viagra to quench what morsel I was feeling. He did leave me with two questions.

He is playing you and is in concert with Glen Mason and Marcia Quairy or He is on the same page and has a plan

 

That part I figured out. Now how do I decipher which is which?

 

Monday morning I went to work sporting the latest dress for success attire. Including a new brief case. The brief case did not have any papers in it, only my supply of makeup, recorder, note book, stun gun, hand gun. The essentials for success.

 

I had a memo on my desk stating as soon as I arrive I was to go to Mr. Stile’s office. I went as I was beckoned. Sat in the otter office as his secretary pretended to be busy. I am good at hiding my anger. I can easily put on a placid face, scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest, Local News and weather. After 35 minutes of waiting secretary Null smiled congenially and said “He will see you now.”

I smiled gently and said thank you. My head screamed “Fuck you “C”

 

I measured my stride making sure it was that of power, seductively in control. Like a runway model.

Mr. Stile was dressed handsomely in a three piece pinstripe suit. Matched with the perfect shirt, tie and shoes. He smelled glorious. My lips puckered from top to bottom. Yet my demeanor remained intact. My wrist was imagining shaking the salt shaker. I was just looking for the way into the recipe.

Mr. Stiles motioned for me to sit down. As he walked over and closed the door to his office. He came and sat in the chair next to me. I looked over at him with a raised eyebrow. He smiled beguilingly and said “You still haven’t figured it out?”

I did not flinch, with a smirk I said “Actually I believe your the one lacking play.”

He let out a mysterious laugh, and said “Your full of shit, but you pull it off well.”

I once asked my Grandmother why she was so angry her answer surprised me “ I am not angry. I do not hate men. I just do not have the time nor energy to tell them this is how I am.”

I get that. I want to change a color of paint on a wall, or an end table. I do not have the patience to explain to him why I do not want antler shelves on my wall!

So many couples work through the portioning off items as if they are divorced while still married.

The garage and basement is where you are allowed to be a man. I keep the rest of the house and the bedroom. As I grew up I seen my parentsdraw those peculiar lines, Dad rebelled and brought the antlers in the house. Mom was beside herself and relinquished control. It appalled me. Grandma had it better under control. Grandpa believed he became a fireman because grandma had the right connections. I want to be her when I grow up.

Except for the voodoo stuff.

Grandma used to tell me stories of my Great Grandma. If she did not like someone she had a doll with your name on it. I do not know if it was real or Memorex in regards to what happened in those people’s lives but this is the control I want. To me that was the epitome of respect.

Micro manage their lives. How dare they tell me how I should dress. Once they start there they tell me who I should sleep with. How much I should drink. Next They will tell me I should not carry a taser, or a concealed weapon.

Mr. Stile leaned forward to retrieve his coffee mug. Slowly he placed is lips on the edge of the cup, drinking it as though it was champagne. Then he leaned forward and replaced the mug. This simple move made me sweat. It started to dawn on me watch this maneuver, Mr. Stile’s was showing me there were other ways to subduction besides the obvious attire.

I sat back in my chair and asked “How do you fit into this? I will be doing the seducing, wrangling advancement, what do you get?”

He said: “The company is expanding. We will be taking government contracts. I do not want anyone that is easily comprised. Those who succumb to subtle seduction are weak and do not belong in this company.”

I smiled and said Well now let me start with Glen Mason. It would be nice to see his back as he leaves the building for good.”

This made Mr. Stile laugh. I could not help myself I joined in.

I know when Mason takes his lunch. He always brings it to work. His wife packs not a mere sandwich. His lunch resembles a mini picnic. His name is written on it. I know seduction will not get to him, but maybe someone dipping into his lunch. Especially if I can be covert enough not to be noticed being the one doing it. No one will ever suspect me. I will not eat it. I will throw it in his garbage in his office so he will notice it. Making sure to dump ashes from the outside ashtray on top so he cannot rescue his picnic.

Tuesday I noticed Glen Mason put his lunch in the community room refrigerator. I said good morning and walked out of the room with my coffee in hand. Once Mason disappeared around the corner I went back in retrieved fried chicken from his lunch. Wrapped it in paper towel, grabbed my cup and quietly walked out of the room without a soul noticing. I was back at my desk working when I heard Mason yell “Who took my chicken?” I heard an assortment of muffled voices denying it was them. While Mason was busy I walked to his office, disposed of the chicken into his trash. Sprinkled some cigarette ash on top. I walked over to the door, peeked to see if anyone noticed. Everyone was down the hall out of sight still trying to soothe Mason's feathers.

Back in my office I was putting files in the out basket when Mason came in. He said “Did you notice anyone in the community room going into the refrigerator?”

I answered: “No Mr. Mason only yourself.”

His face was red, as was his neck. I am guessing he has high blood pressure. I pulled this off 4 days in a row. By this time Mason started to wonder about me. He at least is smart enough to consider I am always in the room when he places his lunch in the fridge. The 5th time I did it I left the remains of potato salad on his blotter. I was in a meeting with Mr. Stile and Marcia Quairy we were discussing some mistakes that were made on some sensitive forms, Mr. Stile was giving Marcia her walking papers when Mason walked in. His face was beet red, he did not even miss a beat as he opened the door and screamed at me calling me a thief and an inappropriate C word. They both received their walking papers on the same day. I believe this new partnership with Mr. Stiles may be right up my alley.