Once again, your fearless blogger helped keep America safe for democracy by working the polls. The fact is, once the County Board of Elections gets you on their list, they never let you forget Election Day is approaching and it's time to get trained again. In all honesty though, even though it's a LONG day (5:30am to 8:30pm), it's also pretty enjoyable--especially since the turnout in my area was better than expected.
What's all this have to do with The Nylon Gene? Well, as in previous elections, my pollworker 'uniform' included ACTIVSKIN legwear worn with shorts--this time in black, as pictured at right (ACTIVSKIN A575 in case you're wondering). The more obvious legwear provided a good opportunity to observe reactions of a large number of people who may not have otherwise been acquainted with this emerging trend. Read on for a synopsis...
I have to preface my observations by noting that by now most of my friends and acquaintenances are well aware of my work in marketing and publicizing the men's legwear trend, and thus take it completely in stride. Working a precinct close to my home meant I encountered a good many of these today. There were some whom I hadn't seen in awhile, so we had an opportunity to chat and catch up on things. Without exception, they expressed interest and support for my (somewhat) new career direction in marketing men's legwear.
During the course of the day, I alternated between sitting at the provisional voter table, guiding voters to machines or just walking around talking to people when there were no voters needing paper ballots. This gave me a good opportunity to watch people unobtrusively and guage their reactions to the 'mantyhose.' In past elections, I've worn tan colored hosiery that, while still fairly noticeable, was possible to overlook if one was not paying close attention. Today, it was impossible to miss the black legwear. More than 800 voters came through during the course of the day.
The overwhelming majority took little or no detectable notice. While they may indeed have wondered, "why's that guy wearing pantyhose?" they gave every appearance of giving it no more concern than one would over the color of one's shirt. This could be an indication of having been already aware of the existence of men's legwear, and thus there being no novelty factor to it. There were probably 4 or 5 who did double-takes and may have been unfavorably disposed to it. Another dozen or two could be seen glancing out of the corner of their eye while waiting in line, or otherwise looking when they thought I was not noticing them. These could fall into either the positive or negative category, as their facial expression betrayed little. Looking can't be equated with disapproval, however. As I've written elsewhere, when we are confronted with something new and/or unexpected, we all tend to linger in our gaze because of the novelty factor.
I also engaged in several conversations about the legwear with voters who asked questions or expressed interest. There were several women who had family members who were runners; have leg circulation issues; or similar, as well as a few men who expressed interest for similar reasons. After they finished voting, we chatted briefly about the various benefits and reasons for wearing legwear and I gave them one of my cards. If you are one of these and are reading this blog as a result, "welcome, and enjoy..." The high school girls' cross-country/track coach with whom I recently made acquaintance at the MMOC stopped to chat briefly and wished me luck with my work.
As a final note, the folks I worked with were without exception great people, and, this time I was joined by my 18-year old daughter, who was one of three high school girls assigned as part of the "Youth At The Booth" program. One of them, a family friend, has seen my TV appearances and thought it was 'pretty cool'. My fellow pollworkers, by the way, took the legwear in stride too. A couple of us have worked together before, so it was nothing new for them.
The bottom line in all this: while a guy wearing sheer black legwear is still highly unusual to be sure, it's not something that will draw the condemnation of the average person as one might once have intuitively expected. When done in the context of masculine attire such as this, by one who conveys confidence in oneself, there's no reason for it to draw ridicule or mocking. Furthermore, those who have reason to wear it, but do so in a less noticeable manner (under long pants, or in skintone-matching colors) certainly should be able to do so without concern over anyone questioning their masculinity. It's been my experience that if there's no reason to do that in the first place, the addition of legwear should not change the equation.