EVEN though she is leaving for a month in London in lo a matter of hours, PeaceBang cannot ignore this desperate plea for help!! Read on!
PeaceBang – I need your help. Even the spirit of Tim Gunn I try to carry with me at all times isn’t helping me to figure this one out.
I have an interview in a big city on Friday. The church is flying me in and then having me take public transport to the church- which is a 5-10 minute walk from the end of the public transport line. They said this will be a good chance for me to experience city life and test the accessibility (or maybe it’s their test to see if I’m a nitwit).
So, here’s the question: I have to walk some minutes to get to the church, porting my luggage, while it’s HOT HOT HOT. What do I wear that’s interview appropriate and can also make the walk without leaving me soaked in sweat? I think I can manage a quick change of shoes once I step into the church, but I doubt I’ll have an opportunity to pull a Clark Kent bathroom switcheroo on the whole outfit.
Question #2: The church has graciously invited me to stay 2 nights with a family of the church who lives in the immediate neighborhood. Bringing a gift seems appropriate, but I am clueless. What would be an appropriate token to thank them for their hospitality?
Thanks for any advice you offer!
SWEETHEART, THIS IS WHY GOD MADE TAXI CABS.
Seriously. Do you really think it’s a good idea, or fair to yourself, to drag a suitcase out of an airport and then try to figure out the subway system, then drag yourself and your bags onto a subway — which is a subterranean Hell hole in the summer — unless it’s Washington, DC in which case it’s a well air-conditioned subterranean Hell Hole — and then UP to the street perspiring all over yourself and then WALK TO THE CHURCH IN YOUR NICE INTERVIEW DUDS AND SHOES?
Picture this instead: You get off the plane and freshen up in the bathroom, spritzing your face with rosewater and patting it dry. Brush your hair, apply fresh lippy. Purchase an icy cold bottle of water, take the escalator downstairs and step into a cab. Give them the address of the church. Pay whatever the nice man tells you to and consider it the best money you’ve spent in a long time. Tip well.
Get out of the cab, straighten your blazer, dab at your face with a hankie and walk into the interview all smiles, poise and professional polish. Memorize this handy phrase, “The subway system here looks great and very easy to figure out. But given that I wanted to be at my best for our time together I decided to invest in a cab ride here. I knew that with my nerves and the heat I could wind up stumbling in here looking a bit scary and I figured I didn’t want to subject you to that!” (hearty laughter, hand shakes all ’round)
Do you think any of the people on the search committee would actually take public transportation with their luggage to an important, potentially life-changing interview? Of course they wouldn’t. I think they’re being rude and inhospitable and you should not hesitate to tell the truth of how you got there. If they want you to be on your best game right away upon your arrival they should jolly well send someone to fetch you at the airport. And so right away, dear heart, I wonder about the church’s spirit of generosity and fairness. A first meet-and-greet is no time to “experience city life.” That’s pure bull pucks and I’d be the first to say so to whoever came up with that sad excuse to leave you on your own to find your way to them.
“By all means! Take a plane and a subway and then walk in the blazing sun with your suitcase to meet with us! Welcome to Our Lady of Heatstroke!”
PeaceBang doesn’t like to talk about her own congregation overly much but she must say that her own lay leaders wouldn’t dream of such unkindness to a visiting pastor, or to anyone. You should be greeted at the airport and transported to the church, and if not you should be reimbursed with apologies for taxi fare. Tsk, tsk. Tacky, tacky, tacky and cheap. Did they even offer to come and get you?
As to how you should dress, you should dress beautifully and as coolly as possible. I think a linen shift and light jacket might be nice for a building with no a/c – you’ll wrinkle, but wear a nice necklace and make sure your hair is bouncy and your make-up fresh and you’ll be fine. I think slingback pumps are great in the summer for a professional meeting where you want to make a great impression, but you have to dress for the context. I don’t know your look at all so you could do anything from ballerina flats to platform sandals. Just, you know, don’t do Birkenstocks or sneakers.
The frumpiest summer female clergy outfit is always the shapeless long sleeveless dress — you know the one I mean, with the floral print or in the ugly pastel? And the hideous A-line seaming? and the sad sack floppy jacket/linen shirt. Then you add the drabimosso hair, the wan complexion with invisible lashes and eyebrows (extra points for obvious sun damage) and flesh-colored White Lady Sandals by Clarks worn on feet in desperate need of a pedicure and voila, “Please Don’t Notice Me, I Don’t Matter and Neither Does Anything I Say.”
As to the hostess gift, it depends. Do you want to shop before you arrive or will you have some time to pick up something while you’re there? I love to get a brightly colored little colander and pack a few pints of berries into it with a card. Flowers and a bottle of interesting wine or sparkling water is also lovely. If there’s a farmer’s market in the city you can pick up bunches of herbs and put them in brightly colored coffee mugs. Something bright and pretty.
Follow up with us, okay, darling? As you can tell, Auntie PeaceBang is a little peeved on your behalf. I don’t mean to be a princess but honestly, talk about setting someone up to not do their best from the very start!
Also, woman, listen to yourself. If you truly suspect that this search committee questions your ability to navigate basic public transportation then you should question their ability to respect the intelligence of any religious leader. “Experience city life” my big butt. Remember that this is a two-way street. Not only do they have to be impressed by you, you have to be impressed by them.