Harris.jpg

I went to dinner at Harris’ on Van Ness and Pacific last night. I’ve always eaten in their lounge before. I love the huge carved wood bar, green upholstered seats and the mural of San Francisco with a BART train on it.

I usually see Harris’s as an excuse to dress up but this time I was just planning to grab a quick steak. There was no room in the lounge so the maitre d’ squeezed us in to the main dining room. It was beautiful and I felt like crap. The dining room is more formal than the lounge and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt that said “Detroit” across it, I felt like a disappointment.

I felt like I was disrespecting both the restaurant and myself. I was dressed like everybody else but it didn’t feel good enough for me. To me, dressing up is showing up to my life with the proper amount of respect. Wearing old jeans and a t-shirt, to me, says “I don’t care” or maybe more correctly “this doesn’t matter.”

I often dress up to go out and most of the time people ask “what’s the occasion?” I tell them “my life” because poor, rich, happy or miserable the only constant is that I’m alive.

By dressing up I show that I care by putting active care into myself. My day can go to shit, I can be yelled at by the Muni driver (again), or be barfed on by a junkie (again), but I can still look down at myself and see a pretty color or texture or find that I smell nice and know that at least I tried.

Photo of Harris’ lounge: Team JH2

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the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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  • Martin

    Those are my sentiments too! I am not a fan of hers, but I had to agree with Danielle Steele’s parting shot when she moved to Paris: “So many San Franciscans dress as though they’re going trekking or camping when in fact they’re only on the way to Trader Joe’s.”

    Having only ever lived in cities, when did slovenly attire become de rigueur?
    Flip flops in a restaurant?! You must be kidding!

    My other pet peeve is poor table manners. Nothing punctuates that like nose-blowing at table, or the cellphone talker.

  • Martin

    Those are my sentiments too! I am not a fan of hers, but I had to agree with Danielle Steele’s parting shot when she moved to Paris: “So many San Franciscans dress as though they’re going trekking or camping when in fact they’re only on the way to Trader Joe’s.”

    Having only ever lived in cities, when did slovenly attire become de rigueur?
    Flip flops in a restaurant?! You must be kidding!

    My other pet peeve is poor table manners. Nothing punctuates that like nose-blowing at table, or the cellphone talker.

  • bluecanary

    This isn’t just San Francisco. I was in Petrossian in New York two days ago, seated across from people wearing jeans. Our society is going straight down the toilet.

  • bluecanary

    This isn’t just San Francisco. I was in Petrossian in New York two days ago, seated across from people wearing jeans. Our society is going straight down the toilet.

  • Babe Scanlon

    Thank you so much for your comments! I really believe we can turn the tide. I’m thinking about some sort of Raise the Bar event. I’ll let you both know if I come up with anything.
    xx!

  • Babe Scanlon

    Thank you so much for your comments! I really believe we can turn the tide. I’m thinking about some sort of Raise the Bar event. I’ll let you both know if I come up with anything.
    xx!

  • netzard

    I try to dress up whenever I go out, particularly at night. I am inspired by the sight of elderly men and women in tasteful coats and hats that I see occasionally. I figure if they can make the effort at 80, I really should make the effort now. Dressing occasion-correct can be a lot of fun, and I am happy I live here in SF where an unusual look inspires only the occasional comment. When I lived in Santa Barbara, I thought the villagers were going to come after me with torches and pitchforks because I dared to wear a vintage mini dress with a leopard coat. Flip-flops are a bug-a-boo for me as well. I cannot fathom how someone could be so cavalier with their health as to walk around practically barefoot on our filthy streets!

    I like the idea of a “Raise the Bar” event. Please tweet it out if you do it.

  • netzard

    I try to dress up whenever I go out, particularly at night. I am inspired by the sight of elderly men and women in tasteful coats and hats that I see occasionally. I figure if they can make the effort at 80, I really should make the effort now. Dressing occasion-correct can be a lot of fun, and I am happy I live here in SF where an unusual look inspires only the occasional comment. When I lived in Santa Barbara, I thought the villagers were going to come after me with torches and pitchforks because I dared to wear a vintage mini dress with a leopard coat. Flip-flops are a bug-a-boo for me as well. I cannot fathom how someone could be so cavalier with their health as to walk around practically barefoot on our filthy streets!

    I like the idea of a “Raise the Bar” event. Please tweet it out if you do it.

  • Babe Scanlon

    Hi!

    Thanks so much! I’ll let you know when it happens, I’m thinking after the Holidays because everyone is so busy unti then.

    I’d love to meet you.

    It’s funny what you say about flip flops. I honestly take time every month to thank my husband for not wearing them, then I follow up with a subtle threat should he ever consider it.

    xx

  • Babe Scanlon

    Hi!

    Thanks so much! I’ll let you know when it happens, I’m thinking after the Holidays because everyone is so busy unti then.

    I’d love to meet you.

    It’s funny what you say about flip flops. I honestly take time every month to thank my husband for not wearing them, then I follow up with a subtle threat should he ever consider it.

    xx

  • netzard

    Love to meet you too! Great minds think alike, and all that.

  • netzard

    Love to meet you too! Great minds think alike, and all that.