A story in yesterday's Telegraph made me smile. I don't know why, because it's highly irritating, but I smiled.
Hayley O'Neil, 23, was given some unwelcome advice when visiting her local Job Centre:
A woman with 30 tattoos claims she was told to ''put a bag over her head'' when she went for a job interview. Hayley O'Neil, 23, - who also has 20 body piercings - says was also advised to ''stand behind a wall'' when she asked a job centre official what post she could apply for.
Here she is:
The adviser might have been a little clumsy in his approach, but what he said was bang on the money:
"The guy said: 'on first impressions do you think anyone would hire you?' "
I had better 'fess up here, and say that I don't have any tattoos or piercings, and I regard an excess of them as ugly and clichéd - they remind me of kids at school who couldn't stop scribbling on their exercise book covers in blue biro - but as far as I am concerned anyone who wishes to can do whatever they like to their own bodies. Hayley agrees:
"He talked to me as though I was just going through a phase in my life, but this is my lifestyle choice, and this is who I am."
Yay for you, Hayley! Be an individual, just like all the others!
In her crusade for personal freedom, of course, she forgets the other side: if she is free to look however she wishes, then employers are free not to employ her as they wish.
She may think that she is merely expressing a personal lifestyle preference, but a lot of people find highly-visible tattoos and facial piercings quite threatening. If she were a waitress, for example, she might find that a lot of customers won't be too keen to pay a second visit if the person serving them looks like something out of a low-grade circus or a street gang. Employers know this, and tend to prefer employing people who make customers feel comfortable, on the grounds that putting customers off is not a good way to survive in a competitive marketplace.
That's a fact of life, and Hayley's chances of employment are slim until she takes that on board. Until she does, she will be looking for work, while the rest of us pay for her 'lifestyle choice'.
Thanks to Subrosa for the link.