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Repent at Leisure

The Observer’s Nicole Mowbray reveals the hitherto-unguessed fact that poor fashion choices can have practical consequences

After seven unsuccessful job interviews, 24-year-old Luke Clark began to think something other than his CV was playing havoc with his job prospects. Potential employers didn’t seem to like the 4cm “flesh tunnel” holes he had in each ear as much as he did. Clark had begun stretching his lobes at university several years earlier, and the problem was that when he took the plugs out his stretched earlobes looked terrible. Now one of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures in the UK is repairing stretched earlobes.

Several readers of said paper are, however, quite upset. Specifically, they’re upset that not all employers are impressed, either by the Urban Bush Warrior look or by self-inflicted comedy lobes with large, baggy holes in them:

It’s just a bigger hole than what society has considered to be “standard” and judging someone’s ability to do a job based on their outward appearance is incredibly ignorant… If there wasn’t such a pointlessly negative view on stretched ears, people like teachers and professional golf players wouldn’t have to get them sewn up.

Possibly a contender for our series of classic sentences

And this chap here, he’s upset too: 

Until you know that person, you have no right to criticise, judge or alter the life chances for them. Those who make decisions about the future of others based only on appearance, are themselves the shallowest of people, and do not deserve to have such a position of influence.

You see, he should be free to deform his anatomy into eye-catchingly unattractive shapes, thereby announcing his heroic radicalism and disdain for bourgeois norms, entirely without consequence. But you mustn’t be free to run your business without him, regardless of whatever message he’s chosen to send via the medium of disfigured earlobes. No bad decision that he makes must ever “alter his life chances” because… well, obviously, it’s all your fault.

And so we’re expected to believe that Mr Clark, who chose to make a bold statement by deliberately stretching and deforming his earlobes - to the extent that a jar of instant coffee could almost fit through the holes – is somehow being wronged, indeed oppressed, when, during job interviews, potential employers notice – and find inappropriate – the bold statement he’s chosen to make. Having decided at university to scandalise the less daring whenever in public, he now seems surprised when those same less daring people make choices of their own, i.e., not to hire him. But aren’t their raised eyebrows and looks of disgust what he wanted all along?