Laid Back Or Just Casual?

Vancouver has a reputation for being laid back.  People like to walk around the seawall, jog or cycle in Stanley Park, sit on the beach, and get stoned.  I disagree that they are laid back, though.  They may dress casually, but they can be as uptight as anyone else.

When I wore a tie for a passport photo the other day, I made a point of covering it with my scarf when I was outside.  Believe it or not, there are people here who will give you a hard time or dirty looks if you wear a suit and/or tie.

I have actually been confronted and threatened on one occasion.  Another time, a flip-flop wearing woman passing in the opposite direction looked me up and down and gave me an incredulous look, like she’d never seen a suit before.  Well, excuse me for having a job interview and making an effort.  It seems the laid back Vancouverite is often actually a reverse snob who thinks he or she is a better person than the suit wearer.

I’m as casual as anybody else.  I sit around my home in sweats or jeans with stubble on my face if I don’t have to be anywhere or face the world.  I where my day hikers for walking around town day to day.  I’ve got hoodies like anyone else.

I don’t dress any more formally than necessary.  But, there are some occasions when it is appropriate to where a tie, or even a suit.  I actually have suits and ties for those occasions and I don’t apologize for it.  And, I expect to not be given any hassle over it.

Sometimes laid back Vancouverites make me feel less than relaxed.


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