Monday, January 7, 2013

Office Game Alpha Move: Formal Fridays

[Updated: I will be doing an "Ask Me Anything" interview over on TheRedPill subreddit this Wednesday at noon, EST.  So if you have a burning question for me, that is the best place to ask it.  I don't guarantee an answer, a right answer, or the truth, but you can bet it will be entertaining!]

Hate to follow one Jezeblast with another, but I saw this and thought it was brilliant: Formal Fridays.

(If you don't want to give J-Bel traffic, the article basically voices their disgust with a bunch of dudes at Facebook who have turned Casual Friday into Formal Friday -- instead of slobbing out, the guys dress up). Someone even set up a website for superformalfridays, in Manhattan, where well-dressed folks (presumably of both genders) congregate to congratulate each other on just how dapper they look.  And maybe look for a date . . . )

I've been an office warrior for over two decades now, and the fascination that corporate culture has with "casual Fridays" is no less than obsessive.  People will fight for the right to dress down on Friday, to express themselves and relax while they pretend to work.  Just looking at the comments at Jezebel demonstrates how truly appalled the comfortable-shoes crowd is with the idea.

But it's actually Manosphere genius, an act of gender-based guerrilla ontology.  If you work in one of those tense office environments where male-female interactions are fraught with the potential shout of sexism or such, and particularly if you are a dude in the minority in your office, consider flouting the Casual Friday code of dishevelment and going the other direction.  Dress like you have a court date, and show up smelling like an aggressive rose.

To get maximum effect, coordinate with as many other guys as you can, without letting any of the office ladies in on the secret.  Be sure not just to dress formally, but to maintain a formal presentation all day long.  Formal greetings, formal salutations, and a strict and absolute adherence to the rules of manners and etiquette.  Speak quietly and formally to them, open doors politely, and otherwise embody the traditional male business ideal to the best of your ability.

It will fucking eat them alive.

Casual Fridays as a concept are embraced by corporate feminism as a means to escape the oppression of female formal office wear.  Heels, nylons, make-up, and all the other feminine accouterments expected of a woman dressed for a professional setting , and the additional layer of social/business matrix rules is, apparently, an affront to feminism and women everywhere.  By going with light or no make-up and jeans and a t-shirt on Fridays, corporate feminism can strike back at the Man who is keeping them down.

So . . . ignore Casual Fridays, and institute a voluntary Formal Friday among the dudes at work.  But just the dudes.  Friday morning, all the men will show up looking like pros, with suits, ties, briefcases and the whole bit.  The women walk in the door sans makeup, in jeans or sweats or other light casual wear, looking like bleary-eyed mommies rolling into daycare in the morning.  If you've seen what happens on Casual Fridays in a lot of places, you know just how disturbing that can be.

Of course they will want to know "what's up?"  Hell, they'll be dying to know.  Wedding?  Funeral?  Court date?  Oh SHIT, are they all INTERVIEWING!?!

But don't say anything beyond "What's wrong with a man wanting to look his best?", throw in a cocky grin, and a confident wiggle of your ass as you walk away.  Under no circumstances should you give them a straight answer.  If they try to bust you on it, insist it was pure coincidence.  Put nothing in email -- this is word-of-mouth only.

There are two points to this exercise.

The first is fairly straightforward.  By assuming a formal posture while they assume a casual posture, you have effectively taken the socially dominant presentation, regardless of your actual position relative to a particular woman.  The division director might be four levels over you, but just watch the change in her demeanor as she slouches into the tech room in a stained college sweatshirt and ripped blue jeans and has to ask four smart-looking techs in suits to do something for her.

This has two effects: the first is active resentment by those women who desperately cling to the promise of Casual Fridays as the ONE DAY of the week they can relax and take off their feminine corporate armor . . . and you just bitch-slapped that out of their hands.  Because when the VP goes around handing out paychecks or whatever, and he sees a posse of snappy suits and power ties amid a festering cube farm of ponytail scrunchies and unshaven legs, it's going to get noticed, even if it isn't spoken of.

The second effect is more subtle.  By changing the presentation of the core male group from low Beta to high Alpha in appearance, you have collectively thrown your masculinity out on the table for the positive inspection of every woman in the joint.

Women like guys in suits, thanks to a host of cultural factors involving DHVs and money.  But guys like suits because the basic corporate uniform is both simple and almost universally flattering.  Get a shave, a haircut and slap a suit on any given dude and his Objective SR goes up a half a point, minimum.  Coats and ties can convert a beer belly into "stout" or "sturdy".  Bald heads look better over $500 suits.  Gray hair?  Suits and gray hair were designed to go together.

And ties?  Consider what they're pointing to.

You put a bunch of guys in suits, acting all formal, around a bunch of women in sweats, and there's going to be a reaction.  First, the reaction of the guys: men just feel more powerful and more important in suits.  A man in a suit around people who are not dressed to his level feels socially superior, and that gives him more confidence and self-assuredness.  A whole group of men feeling that way, and it's likely to get a little . . . cocky in the office.

Then watch the Female Social Matrix at work in reaction to the unexpected suits: makeup gets hastily applied, hairstyles are quickly and quietly shifted, and body language alters noticeably, even if the complaints about the men in suits on hallowed Casual Friday get loud.  No matter how die-hard the corporate feminist, put her in a group around a bunch of nattily-dressed guys and catty-mouthed women and the FSM kicks in, hard.  Suddenly it's not End Of Year reports and account reconcilliations you're working on, it's High School Prom...and everyone wants to be the popular girl.

The second point to the exercise is more subtle: it is the visible defense of the masculine business model, the one that built this great post-industrial society that allows us luxuries like feminism.  Women "invaded" the workforce in large numbers in the 1970s -- before that, business was almost exclusively a man's world.  While First and Second Wave feminists were trying to shoulder into the business world, they had to compete, and the female version of the male business suit -- pantyhose, skirt suit, makeup and heels, the very thing that modern corporate feminists hate -- became the acceptable cognate to the professional suit and tie.

Then Third Wave feminists came along, and suddenly those suits were tangible signs of an oppressive Patriarchy, attempting to bind women's feet and keep them in their place by "requiring" an additional hour or so in preparation time that their stupid male colleagues didn't have to go through every morning, just to please the sexual sensitivities of the men in the office.  Hence Casual Fridays.

By establishing a Formal Friday, you are challenging that idea: that corporate professional dress is inherently oppressive, and any reasonable person in their right mind (and just about every feminist identifies herself as such) would want to flee the shackles of formality to focus on Getting Stuff Done.

Only we all know how much stuff actually gets done on Fridays.  Mostly Facebook and Farmville.

Your wall of suits is a sign of subtextual rebellion, a reclamation of the business suit as a point of masculine pride, not a means of subjugation.  It's you saying "Yeah, we're men, and we're working . . . what the hell are YOU doing?" to the women in the office.  It's a tactic designed to be collectively passive-aggressive toward the wall of estrogen in your office, a way of psyching them out by visibly out-performing them.  Women are heavily appearance-based, and that includes even male appearances.  As much as dudes watch boobs with our periphrial vision, women can determine a man's station in life by a glance at his shoes.  Being in the presence of a formal presentation cannot help but make them squirm.  It will make them nervous and it will make them uncomfortable on the day they revere as the most comfy.  And the fact that none of you are willing to tell them why gives you bonus points: the Friday Solipsism Rodeo!

If five or six guys have a Formal Friday but don't explain themselves, then more than likely female solipsism will leech in to helpfully fill that void.  Nervous, anxious women who don't know what's going on will strive magnificently to try to find an explanation that fits.  And of course they will find all sorts of ways to make themselves the reason.  So if you do try Formal Fridays like this, by the afternoon everyone shut up and pay attention to how the womenfolk react, what they say, and how they will try to find a way to rationalize your behavior in a way that puts themselves as the center of attention.

This can be great fun.  Enjoy it.

Lastly, it is only fitting that a bunch of well-dressed, hard working guys break off after work and go have a few drinks together en masse.  Once you've conquered your day, impressed the ladies, pissed off some co-workers, and generally spent your day looking more like a CEO than a WTF, there's nothing better than to stew in the masculinity implicit in a bar.  Work it right and you can all end up looking like an expensive vodka commercial.  It might even segue into some post-work sarging.

There will be consequences, of course.  Prepare for them.  Probably just casual questions at first, or maybe a brief conference with a supervisor to assure them you aren't, indeed, interviewing.  You may even get a busybody from HR asking nosy questions about your strange behavior.  Remember, it was all just a coincidence.  You just want to do your best for the company.  And Casual Fridays are not (usually) mandatory.

But there will be consequences.  They might be subtle, at first, but any time a group of men appears to be keeping a secret together, that fact burrows under the skin of the Female Social Matrix and gets infected in days.  You might just get a lot more attention from some of the ladies in the office -- those who admire you, and those who are pissed off you're ruining Casual Fridays (and when they find out all the dudes are congregating and conspiring over icy cold vodka shots without a female co-worker in sight . . . well, that's just one step and a few million dollars away from a sexist, exclusively-male Gentleman's Club, the bane of feminism's existence.  Grrr!)

Keep up Formal Friday's as a regular thing for a few weeks, and watch the women start to squirm.  It's beautiful psychological warfare, and let's face it: we all like to look good.  It gives us a shot of confidence, a bonus to our appearance and self-image, and the casual attention by strange women that a man in a well-cut suit can gather can't help but put a little more spring into your step.

So consider Formal Fridays this week, Gentlemen, and ponder just how it would go down in your particular situation.  Hell, even if you work for yourself, work from home, or are unemployed, go throw on your suit for a day, just 'cause.  Because a shot of formality is sometimes just what your Alpha needs.



  1. I was thinking of exactly this while I rebuild my wardrobe from the ground up this year. Even better reason...

  2. I work in an office that's over 90% female. (I know. What the hell, they pay me.) The entire industry is business-casual. (I work in Education.) When I show up in a tailored suit, the commentary is astonishing.

    1. Examples, please. Positive commentary, or negative, or both?

  3. This must be a growing trend - was talking with a friend about the casual work dress in his office - and I suggested dressing up regardless of what managers wear.

    Didn't even consider this matrix hit - awesome.

  4. Fantastic post overall. I'm an independent contractor, and roam around the city. I dress moderately formally already, but I'm considering upping it a notch or two on the regular. My style regularly is masculine-upscale casual, like you would find on Tanner's excellent "masculine style" blog.

    One note:

    "It's a tactic designed to be collectively passive-aggressive toward the wall of estrogen in your office, a way of psyching them out by visibly out-performing them."

    I wouldn't say passive-aggressive, as that denotes a sort of pussy-specific form of resistance. Passive-aggressive would be hiding the box of Tampax that the ladies keep in the unisex bathroom.

    No, this is more of an overt, but non-verbal frontal assault on the feminine imperative.

  5. It's what Bourdieu called 'symbolic violence' - I use it a lot

  6. i LOVE getting invited to weddings and wearing my dress blues.

    EVERYTIME i do, i get hit on constantly. i get asking to have a drink with me, asking me to dance. the bride or groom will tell me about the girls that were asking about me. i ALWAYS close.

    i don't own a suit, but i live in a very blue collar area. my fashion sense is often interpretted as "kinda gay" for jacksonville. but in NY, LA, NO, SA, it's nnormal, even fashionable.

    but...the girls at my local strip club ALWAYS compliment me on how good i smell and how well dressed i am. the looks part could be BS, but there's no denying they MEAN that i smell good. a woman isn't shover her nove up and down your neck just to get a lap dance. lol.

  7. This is an awesome post. In my advocation of masculine appearance I never really thought of it being a direct attack onf feminism.

  8. Your job must be pretty secure if you feel comfortable that this is a move with benefits worth the risk of annoying powerful people in your office.

    Reminds me a bit of Dear Abby's awful career advice (invariably she advises people to make a stink, complain to HR, complain a level up in hierarchy, and organize a group of complainers - all great ways to get fired or on the 'next layoffs' list).

    1. A man who lives in fear of annoying powerful people at his job is afraid of his own power. I'm not going to quiver because I'm not playing nice with the feminists.

  9. Hey Ian, I read this a couple of weeks back and decided that it sounded like a terrific idea. I decided to give it a shot and put it into practice over the last couple of weeks. Here are the results:

  10. The first rule of fight club is …

  11. Oh my god, this worked just as you suggested!

    My department (on a very relaxed dresscode job) designated a Tie Day without inviting anyone else. I decided to add a tie clip, fitted peacoat & black fedora. I almost left the hat but intuition pushed me to be bold.

    The moment I entered the building- 3 women swooned & stared calling me Sinatra, which lasted all day. When I saw my boys, it was clear: I was easilly the best dressed guy in the building. Then I noticed a boring hipster girl asked another woman to help her apply make up. All the women started saying, "I wish I knew it was dress up day! I'm jealous!" Several Alpha guys complimented my outfit. One Beta Mgr-Type guy used indirect insults before being quickly shot down by *women who appreciated our style & camaraderie!

    And another interesting thing happened. The female social matrix started attacking eachother! The girls were talking about ways to spice up their boring outfits when suddenly a loud-mouth girl started slut-shaming her hot bodied coworker.

    Amazing, Ian. As always.

  12. Bro this blog is gold.

  13. I stopped wearing casual because I wanted to separate work clothes from home clothes. Otherwise, there is no psychic break from work when at home. I did get more respect and power, of course.

    Do you have links to all the office game posts? I've read two, and they're great!

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