Dress code

Nobody wants to be the grouchy neighbor who yells at the kids to stay off his lawn, but there are times when you need a buttinsky. Today might be such a time for the travel industry, because we are a nation of slobs.

Take a moment to recall your last trip through an airport concourse or shopping mall. We don't dress well, and, to be blunt, we often don't groom so well either.

Most of the time, we should live and let live, but when we lock ourselves into close quarters in an aluminum tube for hours at a time, we need to raise the bar. We're not advocating a return to suits, ties and white gloves, but large men need to be reminded that the exposed navel was a fashion statement by Cher, not Sonny.

We show up at airport boarding gates wearing less than our mothers wore as pajamas; T-shirts emblazoned with words that George Carlin couldn't say on TV; no underwear. We don't know much about the history of fashion, but we suspect that shirts with sleeves might have been invented with hirsute men in mind.

Every few weeks there's a story in the news about some poor soul's embarrassment at being asked by a flight attendant to cover up, change clothes or get off the plane. News websites often follow such reports with reader reactions, and our take on these responses is that, among people who read the news online and are disposed to comment, there's strong support for raising the bar.

Memo to the industry: After we end hunger and achieve world peace, can we work on this?
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