The other day I was sitting outside the building waiting for someone, when my advisor walked by. He waved to me and said “Hi”, but I didn’t recognize him. Why you ask? Because he was wearing a suit! I have never seen him wear a suit in the last five years that I have known him. Normally he wears jeans and a button down shirt and either white tennis shoes or sandals with socks (the traditional physics professor stereotype). Even at graduation he wore jeans and white tennis shoes.
Aside: Actually, Matt was pretty funny at graduation. I was helping at the physics department graduation by handing out programs, and I saw him come running up late with his gown in a giant plastic bag. Anne, the graduate student secretary (and all around awesome person), helped him get his robe on and sent him to where he was supposed to be. But his robe was the wrinkliest thing you have ever seen in your life, his jeans sticking out of the bottom of the robe were incredibly wrinkly, and his tennis shoes were brand new and vibrantly white. Man, physicists have dressing problems sometimes.
Okay, now back to the current story: So Matt was wearing a suit, but even his suit was a little off. He was wearing black dress shoes, grey slacks, a navy blue jacket, and a white and blue checked shirt that was unbuttoned at the top with no tie. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was just a little weird and off. I must have looked at him funny, because it took me too long to recognize him, because he said, “Going to meet donors,” and fast walked off.
Then the rumor that Matt was wearing a suit spread around our lab group. I am the main culprit, because I was so shocked that I told one of my lab mates later on that day, and it must have spread from there. Everyone was just very confused, because he never, never, never dresses that nicely.
Even more bizarrely, he came into the lab that afternoon. I was walking around doing inventory (basically I have to check that we still have everything that the college or the national lab bought for us so they know that grad students aren’t selling the equipment to make money on the side), when Matt walked into the lab to talk to Adam. I happened to be looking at the equipment nearby when Matt and Adam were discussing Matt’s suit choices. It was absolutely hilarious. I will say that Adam is by far the nicest dressed person in our lab (me included), so I guess he was a good choice to discuss fashion with. Here is an approximation of their conversation:
“What do you think of my outfit?” asks Matt.
“It’s nice,” says Adam hesitantly.
“Is it okay? Does it match?”
“There’s something not quite right about it. Maybe you need darker pants.”
“Does the shirt not work with this jacket?”
“Well, a solid color shirt might have been better.”
“I’m just not very good at matching clothes. I’ve just never been good at it. Maybe that’s the part of my brain that I fried in my 20’s.”
At this point in time Adam and I were trying not to laugh, because there was nothing else to say at that point. I left to continue my inventory (and so that I wouldn’t burst out laughing in front of Matt). I don’t know how much longer they talked about Matt’s clothes. He doesn’t come to the lab that often, so I wonder if he came down to actually talk about the research or to ask Adam’s opinion on his clothes. Either way, it was a pretty funny event.